- Posted July 16, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First Person: Your essays
The Indian Rasputin
Bombay’s top police officials had sometimes back warned an elected official about the company the Baba keeps — in the metropolis most of his activities were financed by a dance bar owner who, more often than not, lived on the edge and walked on the wrong side of the law. Not only were Ramdev’s camps funded by this man, many of his major outlets across the city were too.
My obsession about such Rasputins takes a keener edge as I witness the exposes of his tax frauds, and Ramdev's island in Scotland (who funded that, I have always wanted to know), his land grabs, the alleged disappearance of his guru — I have simply lost count of the allegations against him.
If he had stuck to just his yoga, Ramdev might yet have achieved more. But his political ambitions and his manipulative expertise prompted him to dabble in national politics, and thereby hangs a tale. But meddling in politics must have lost him a lot more. Now, so many regimes in India have had their own Rasputins — Mrs Indira Gandhi had Dhirendra Brahmachari and PV Narasimha Rao had Chandraswami — and they led to the downfall of their masters. I am convinced Baba Ramdev will similarly upset all of Narendra Modi’s equations in this country. For a man is known by the company he keeps and the new regime in Delhi seems unduly dependent on Ramdev and his emissaries — Ved Pratap Vaidik might well have been a journalist but isn't he better known as the man who got Nitin Gadkari, then BJP president, to touch Ramdev’s feet and thereby script a new story for India and the BJP?
But even though Ramdev might be used to keeping the company of the nefarious elements of society, I would have thought he would have spared a thought for the martyrs of 26/11 — listening to Vaidik give a clean chit to the mastermind of those attacks, Hafiz Saeed, made my blood boil. Did Tukaram Omble die for nothing? What about Vijay Salaskar, Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte who were shot in cold blood by Saeed’s gunmen? And has the sacrifice of Captain Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajender Singh been so easily forgotten, not to speak of the hundreds of people who died, were injured or are otherwise traumatised by those attacks?
Still, for the first time since May 16, I have stopped mourning for Mother India and am finally able to see why my like minded friend then had asked me to actually celebrate — the new regime will not be able to better the UPA’s record, he had told me. "I know these bigots very well. They will never be able to get anything right. And they will self destruct."
I did not think that the unraveling would begin so soon but I once again recall what former PM VP Singh had once told me: That, more often than not, the extreme Right and the extreme Left are in complete agreement about everything that is wrong and unjust. That also extends to fundamentalists, he said — so our very own saffron bigots will find common cause with the jihadis — and doesn't Vaidik’s statement that both sides of Kashmir be united and given their freedom gel with Saeed’s own views on the issue?
When General Pervez Musharraf had come calling at Agra, Singh had remarked, "If anyone can sort out the Kashmir issue, it is these two (the General and the BJP)." But I think even he would have been shocked by Vaidik’s views — and who is either Ramdev or even Vaidik fooling by pretending that the visit had no official sanction and was just a journalistic adventure?
Shall such persons always hold the nation to ransom for their selfish petty interests. There is need to look into their motivation and discard them as junk. Anybody dares do so?