The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday, 13 August 2012


Justice Markandey Katju has always been in news for his observations and comments, as Supreme Court judge and then as chairman of the Press Council. Now I am no one to comment on controversies on his comments but two comments made by him in last two days totally justify the intent and the cause. Yesterday it was about Mamata Banarjee’s growing intolerance; today it was about Ramdev’s movement in Delhi.

Ramdev has always sounded political with serious lapses over projection of his acts. More than a Yoga guru or a religious figure, he is businessman running an empire with turnover of over thousand crore. Unlike other famous Yoga gurus, he is a canny marketer and tours extensively across India with his Yoga camps inviting all to it. It is an unmatched strategy to build the brand of his Yoga and affiliated businesses. Once he got the business thriving, he set his goal on political foray.

He started talking about social issues, corruption and reforms during his Yoga camps. Of late, he started focusing on black money. He found listeners in his Yoga camp attendees. He created a base of supporters. But, here, he miscalculated it. He couldn’t see his supporter base was not attached to his self-propelled image of a religious-mass figure. It was basically about his Yoga accessibility to all.

He was to taste it.

2010-2011 were years plagued with scams.  Incessant media coverage had already put the government in tight spot. It was ripe time for movements targeting corruption to pitch in. Irrespective of whatever that has happened today to the dead Team Anna movement; it began well and created a wave. Team Anna entered the arena with Jan Lokpal demand.  Ramdev saw the surging support and went ahead to encash it by organizing a fast at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi last June. He chose to fight for black money, his long honed tool to further his agenda.

But his dealings with his main opponents were always fishy indicating backroom deals. He started on a good note for the government but things went sour soon when government decided to sideline him. It was coupled with the fact that he was not able to galvanize mass support, not even in Delhi, as the Team Anna had done. Yes, his supporters were there at the Ramlila Ground but the major part of the crowd was really not the local one gathered spontaneously on the call. The crowd was basically a formation of outsiders brought to Delhi by Ramdev’s men.

Now it would be a total flop show but for the foolishness of the central government and the Delhi Police. The midnight theatrics of the Delhi Police gave Ramdev an opportunity to save face. But when he fell ill just after few days of fast that he continued at Hardwar, it was another addition to the humiliation. Afterward, Ramdev said many things that only painted a negative shade about him.

His last June misadventure was a silly miscalculation. He should have realized he was not the mass leader he was taking himself for. True, there was outrage on the midnight crackdown but we never saw a public reaction that could have validated Ramdev’s legitimacy, something like the mass movement that was there on streets the day Anna Hazare was arrested during his August fast.

But he kept harbouring his ambitions. Slowly and gradually, he started pushing his agenda again talking about Lokapl, black money and corruption. He led some yatras, shared dais with Team Anna, went on to meet politicians and came alive on television. All this while, he was waiting for an opportunity and he saw it in Team Anna’s fall.

So Ramdev is again in Delhi, on fast, since August 9, at the same Ramlila Ground. But nothing seems to move. It can be said his supporters from outside of Delhi still form the major lot the fast venue. And this time, Ramdev has brought them in good count. His wealthy ashram is taking care of their staying needs.

Like the last time, this time too, Ramdev started with sweet talks not targeting the government directly. We know about last time, but no one can say what made him to go so soft on people directly on target of his protest fast this time. But an emboldened government after Team Anna’s fall didn’t give even the slightest of attention to him. There was nothing like the bonhomie shown last June when some ministers had gone to receive Ramdev at the airport.

Government was worried of Team Anna till the last moment evident from the difficultly Team Anna faced in getting approval for fast venues even after the December debacle during the Mumbai fast. But Ramdev easily got permission. It says only one thing that government was not worried about Ramdev’s ability to galvanize masses on corruption. For them, it was just yet another spectacle.

It cannot be said whether Ramdev miscalculated it even this time or was simply trying to get some eyeballs to push further his political agenda. After all, he made the entire NDA and some other political parties to come and share stage with him today.

But how would the common man see it. Already shocked by the way Team Anna movement cheated him; no one is going to take Ramdev seriously. The political parties that staged their support for him today are the same bunch who came together to derail the Lokpal Bill. Now Ramdev is talking with them hinting of a political alliance. And like the last time, his initial sweetened words for Congress are now replaced with sarcastic tone and personal attacks.

But he is not going to have the face-saver like the last time. I believe the government would not commit any idiocy that it did the last time. Instead it would let Ramdev go with his agenda. Congress would be the biggest gainer if the anti-corruption fight becomes yet another platform to push self-motivated political and personal agendas. It would effectively derail the anti-corruption movement for many more years.

Ramdev may remain in Delhi as long as he wants; as long as he can feed well the supporters. He can expect occasional surge in their count when some local residents of the area near the Ramlila Ground go for a time-pass on a holiday. He should expect some security management reminders from the Delhi Police in the run-up to the Independence Day. But not beyond that.

Yes, it’s nothing more but a circus as Mr. Katju remarked. A reporter said this evening, “As soon as the Ramdev supporters reached the temporary detention centre at the Ambedkar stadium, their first war cry was about food. There seemed nothing else on their mind.”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -