Another failed coup attempt by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JUNE 13, 2011)

Baba Ramdev’s farce has raised many issues, but hardly any of them is really concerned with corruption, writes Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam.

Over the last several days of the Baba Ramdev drama, one got the impression that the 5-star yogi is a puppet whose strings are deftly pulled by the ventriloquist, the RSS. The baba is not an agent of his own free will, and his show was not against corruption, but an attempt at a fascist power take-over. That “adventure”, to quote AK Anthony, has failed like a botched coup.

The show was not a great success. All along there were indications that the baba would love to have a respectable exist from the hole he had dug himself into. On the contrary, the puppeteer did not want him to escape. The baba had been caught in an unenviable situation.

His puppeteers were in such a hurry to capture power that they would not mind even a violent uprising. Hence the baba’s declaration to raise a paramilitary force of 11,000 to combat the state apparatus. The baba might not be knowing the ominous implications of what he was saying, but his minders certainly did.

One does not have to be an expert on the Constitution to know that in a reasonably well-developed political dispensation the state has undisputed monopoly over the right to inflict violence. The citizenry has no right to raise police, paramilitary or regular armed forces, only the state does. Raising a militia or the threat to raise one, is an act of sedition. The baba should know it even though the lawless Sangh pretends not to know.

By now it seems certain that the Delhi Police claims about plans of mischief at the baba’s fast venue had a grain of truth about it. The mindset that killed Mahatma Gandhi, staged a thousand riots, attacked mosques in the garb of “Muslim terrorists” and bombed Samjhauta Express in the guise of Lashkar-e-Toiba, can go to any extent. We are still worried about the intent of the baba’s handlers.

There were quite a few issues in the Babafest that have to be sorted out. First, handlers of the baba must take note that threats of hooliganism and vigilantism do not shake a state which is worth its name. Also, populism is not democracy and rabble-rousing is a criminal act. The republic cannot be hijacked by a gang of zealots and their misguided cadres.

Baba’s handlers have not only insulted the intelligence of the people of India but their sacred memories as well. They have compared Jallianwala Bagh massacre to the Ramlila Ground administrative action. There can be no worse travesty of truth.

As of writing this Mr Advani is talking about how the Babafest was the same thing as the dreaded Emergency of Mrs Indira Gandhi. That this is blatantly false is evident from the fact that they had been freely misleading the media, which was as freely printing and telecasting what it desired or deemed to be true. That was not the case in Emergency.

In Emergency the media was gagged and the Opposition was behind bars.

My request to the baba and his handlers: Don’t get impatient to barge into power. Wait for the elections. As your show was not about official corruption, we cannot talk about that too much. Meanwhile, how about Yedurappa’s corruption? And did anyone of you return their petrol pump after being caught?

Blackmail will not work; democracy will. Wait for election. Best wishes.


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