YOGA guru Swami Ramdev sounded the conch, in his battle against corruption, at a rally in Delhi last week. Several prominent citizens came to share the dais and sentiments with him, where he invoked the conscience of the people of India to wage a war against this cancer to save the nation’s pride and glory.
The Congress was rattled. Understandably. It issued a statement within hours saying that religion should be kept out of politics. Instead of extending support to the fight against corruption, the Congress sounded upset and angry.
Baba Ramdev’s call could not have come at a more appropriate time, with the Supreme Court striking down the appointment of PJ Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner. With the Prime Minister and Home minister directly involved in the selection of CVC, the court decision assumes greater political significance.
In his speech, Ramdev pointed out that Congress is the fountain-head of corruption in this country, not only by virtue of having been in power for so long but also because it never took any corrective measures to identity, catch and punish the guilty. It is responsible for 99 per cent corruption, he said. There have been series of scams under the Congress rule. But it is some record, unsurpassed by any other nation in the world (barring those ruled by dictators), that not one guilty has been punished or the looted national wealth recovered. Look at the foot-dragging and semantic skullduggery the UPA is doing to avoid getting the list of people, who have deposited black money abroad, in secret accounts.
That the Congress should speak of keeping religion out of politics is an irony. Communal politics has been its ideology for political survival. It has always pitched one community against another, one caste against another and one religion against another to gain votes. Right now, it is pandering to minority vote bank in a way never seen before. It has unleashed its office bearers to launch vituperative campaign against Hindus.
India has a rich history of religious leaders stepping in when social and political life goes awry or when the rulers forget their duty. For, governance and politics are part of the dharma, as much as religion is. In Burma, the monks took to streets to safeguard the interest of the people of their nation. For some time, the Buddhist monks were involved in the Sri Lankan politics, till the levels of violence went beyond control. The freedom movement in South Africa was spearheaded by the leaders of the Church. These are all support the religious leaders extended at the national, moral level.
But under the Congress, the religious leaders interfere at party level. In Kerala the party candidates are decided in consultation with the Church, which in turn instructs the followers which candidate to vote for. The party panders to the clan leaders in various states to nominate candidates to win elections. In Assam, the dirty game it is playing for decades, at the cost of the nation, with the illegal Bangladesh immigrants issue is there for all to see.
It is a sad truth that the political class, almost entirely, has lost the confidence of the people on the issue of corruption. Any debate on the issue becomes acrimonious, with all the parties calling one another a bigger thief. The people of India are not looking for a messiah, but a warrior, who would weed corruption and loot out of the system of governance. It has pervaded into all sectors, sections and daily life. To get even a death certificate, the municipal office clerk demands money, illustrative of the insensitivity that has seeped into the system. When a former Chief Justice is accused of amassing wealth, what comes into question is the fairness of all the judgments he made and the system of judiciary itself.
Swami Ramdev has done commendable work in awakening the people’s attention to the values of our ancient system of medicine and healthcare and the harms of the market-driven MNC system of pharmacy and lifestyle. If he is giving a call to men to take up the fight against corruption, then it is the duty of every political party, that believes in cleanliness in politics and governance, to support him, strengthen his hands and carry the campaign forward. Congress, by reacting the way it did has exposed the fact that it has skeletons in cupboard, as the Hindi saying goes, man mein chor hai.