June 18, 2011

Anna Hazare Vs. Baba Ramdev


The fast began at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi that witnessed heavy overnight drama of police teargassing and lathicharge, ended at a hospital in Dehradun by doctors where Baba Ramdev was administered glucose. The seven-day long fast has affected the yoga guru's liver and caused his blood pressure to drop significantly. However, the war of words between Baba and the government, the opinions pouring in from the different corners, the most recent declaration of his assess worth over 1100 Crores, and the following controversies have spread a shadow of suspicion over the purpose and the honesty of his campaign and the transparency of his business deals.

Anna Hazare Vs. Baba Ramdev

While Anna Hazare's crusade against corruption and the fight to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed had the whole country rallying behind him, Baba Ramdev's fast was welcomed by both harsh criticisms as well as wide support of his followers. Hazare's campaign was totally centered around the Jan Lokpal Bill that had the support of both the prominent personalities as well as the common man. However, Baba's demands seems myriad and many impractical such as a ban on 1000 and 500 currency notes and death penalty for corrupt officials. Although owns a Scottish manor, he belongs to those hardcore yogis of old India in whose line he called for a ban on English and Coca-Cola and termed WHO as a western conspiracy.

The support for Anna Hazare just mushroomed from nowhere spreading like a wildfire, which was taken up mainly by the youth of the country. On the contrary, Baba's movement was more of an organized attempt spending huge amounts of money on it and was largely consistent of his followers.

It was widely criticized that Baba's agitation is being backed by the RSS and BJP and there was little efforts to hide this leaning at the Ramlila Maidan where he shared the stage with Sangh Parivar leader Sadhvi Ritambhara. Apart from that, there was fluttering banners of different RSS affiliated groups and its volunteers lending the ground support.

Baba's controversial remark that he would recruit 11,000 young men and women who would reciprocate if attacked invited hard criticisms from other social activists.

A visibly angered central government played all its political tricks to stop Baba going ahead and his fast came in as a big jolt to the a scam-hit UPA government. Dead against his campaigning, the Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh described it as a 'five star satyagraha'. Urging Anna Hazare to reconsider his association with Baba Ramdev, Singh also claimed that Baba's fast is just to help the "Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's foot soldiers.

Many prominent personalities have slammed his hunger strike including advocate general of UP, SMA Kazmi, Shah Rukh Khan and due to serious political and ideological differences, Baba couldn't get Swami Agnivesh and Anna Hazare on the stage with him.

However, the efforts of Baba Ramdev is as laudable as Anna Hazare for the fact that the projected aim is nothing but bringing back the black money and making it a national asset. Although they have certain differences over the Lok Pal Bill, they have many things in common as they fight against the graft, indulge in positive political activism and are social activists to the core with strong mass support.
It was noticed that when SiliconIndia covers a Baba Ramdev story, the readership goes up and the public engagement increases, which is same with the numerous news channels having good business hours as their TRPs shoot up. Many feel that it's due to the undue sensationalism that has built into Baba Ramdev protests. The ongoing fight against corruption, irrespective of who leads it - Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev or anyone else - have definitely projected a new image of India that is boiling in corruption to the world. However, the common man continues to live his daily life watching this drama with hardly any hopes of a radical change.

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