The Attack on a Hindu Yoga Guru

via Dr. Vijaya Rajiva published on June 6, 2011

Tehelka Magazine’s Revati Laul should be commended for the first graphic pictures of the severely injured protestors in the government’s attack on the Baba Ramdev yoga camp in the Ramlila grounds in the early hours of June 5, 2011. The visual of an elderly woman whose spine had sustained severe injury during the lathi charge and whose four limbs were paralysed, lying in a hospital bed tells it all. There are other photographs too(‘The Injured Mr. Sibal could not find’ Tehelka, 05,June 2011). The media were not allowed to bring in cameras. Those pictures were taken on the reporter’s mobile.
In general the mainstream media did a competent job, with CNNIBN carrying on all night and morning coverage, although their earlier commentary on the yoga guru were not completely objective.

This attack on a Hindu Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, was sanctioned by no less a personage than Sonia Gandhi and the ever indulgent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to media reports. The government’s explanations for this brutal police action (the visuals are there in the television coverage) are hollow. This was a mass gathering of men, women, children and the elderly who were pracitising yoga, some also fasting and some singing bhajans, listening to a Yoga guru who also had a message : the black money stashed away in Swiss banks must be brought back.

Some other aspects of his message  such as his call  for capital punishment can be  discussed and debated. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the Western world which still upholds capital punishment. The European Union, Canada and the UK have abolished it.India still has capital punishment. This is a legitimate point on which one can disagree with the Baba when he called for capital punishment for corruption, although it was not so long ago that Jawaharlal Nehru himself had said that black marketeers should be hung from the lamp post ! Baba Ramdev is said to have softened his stand and called for life imprisonment. Certainly those who have defrauded the nation and caused severe suffering for the aam admi must be dealt with severely.

The entire nation, opposition parties, civil rights groups etc are for the first time united in their condemnation of the government’s attack on a peacefull crowd of protestors and that too during the dead of night. There can be no justification for this.

However, what should  also be discussed is whether or not the Sonia Gandhi action and the Congress attack dog Digvijay Singh’s constant abuse of Baba Ramdev, such as calling him a thug etc. have some deeper roots than an insecure UPA government’s fear of public protest against the monumental corruption this government has presided over and indeed, some would believe, have participated in. Dr. Subramania Swamy is currently on the trail of the alleged involvement of Sonia Gandhi in the Commonwealth scam and as well the 2 G spectrum looting of the people of India. Others such as high profile lawyer Ram Jethmalani have more than hinted at this link.

And now, Baba Ramdev has pointedly referred to the fact that Sonia Gandhi has no feeling for the women and children of India ( there was a large contingent present in the Ramlila grounds). This accusation may not be too far fetched. The present writer has observed that she is a devout Italian Catholic who does not seem to be sensitive to the religious traditions of Hindu India. Reports of her tacit (and sometimes open ) approval of the downgrading of Hindu culture and institutions since her ascent to power as Congress president,cannot be dismissed lightly. While a Hindu governmental authority or a Hindu president of the national Congress might hesitate to give the green light to an attack on a well respected Yoga guru such as Baba Ramdev, she has not so hesitated  (media reports now confirm that she and Manmohan Singh gave the green light).

The VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) has openly come out and labelled the government’s actions as an attack on the Hindu sadhu/sant community. It was not so long ago that the colonial British rulers were wary of the sadhu community. Every Indian knows of the Sannyasi revolts of the 18th century against British rule.

It is therefore entirely plausible to see Baba Ramdev’s opposition to the corruption of the UPA led government both as a political move and as being in the tradition of Hindu sannyasi protest, in this instance using non violent and peaceful methods. While it is a popular myth that Hindu saints and sages only meditated on the Divine in far off places and hermitages (recent examples being Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi of Tirunvannamalai) we also have the aggressive messages of another master of Raja Yoga, Swami Vivekananda. Likewise, Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna to fulfill his role as a kshatriya and defend Dharma against evil forces.

The recent book Breaking India (2011) by authors Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan has provided remarkable documentation to the anti India forces that have worked in the past and continue to operate today. It was the intrepid Irish patriot Annie Besant who fought for Indian independence who famously said :

“ If Hindus do not maintain Hinduism, who shall save it ? If India’s own children do not cling to her faith, who shall guard it ? India alone can save India. . . . .”

In that context Baba Ram Dev can be seen both as an Indian citizen fighting corruption and as a Hindu who defends Sanatana Dharma.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university)

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