People seem to think I am blindly supporting Baba Ramdev. While regulars on this blog are likely to laugh their stomachs sore at the idea, I appreciate that there are plenty of new readers these days. Making it clear that I am not blindly supporting Baba Ramdev. I am supporting with full awareness of what he is, stands for, is asking for, etc. etc.
I have no sacred cows, not even the ones I support, not even me. But I do have priorities. I have a devious and systematic mind that is only loyal to my own purpose. If I support Baba Ramdev, I do it, because what he is doing is working for me. As simple as that. Working for me regardless of the nit picking details.
Let me begin with saying I unreservedly support Baba Ramdev. There is a difference between disagreement and opposition. Any disagreement here is not worth telling him to stop his movement or even withdrawing my support. Or even creating a fuss about at this stage. Making that clear.
I will get into reasons and clarifications and peeves later, but let me state the issues first.
The biggest: The death penalty for corrupt politicians.
I understand wholeheartedly the sentiment of wanting to take these people out of circulation forever. I also understand that some of them are dangerous enough to sabotage the country from behind bars given half a chance. I have no issues with the death penalty. If that is what the laws say, so be it. It doesn’t make me jump with joy, but I’m not exactly mourning either. Given a choice, I’d prefer not to, but I don’t have enough priority invested in it that I would challenge anyone making a passionate stand. If that makes me barbaric, so be that too.
My issue is with it being made a selling point. My issue is with theft being considered adequate reason for death. After all, isn’t our peeve with the corrupt ministers that they are killing people by making living unaffordable? Superficially, they are different, but to me, there is a fundamental line running underneath. For the corrupt minister, or for the guard of justice, money trumped life. I would like not to share this similarity. If it must be shared, I would like us to arrive at that decision after much well thought out discussion rather than reactive frustration over the government. The government is frustrating, but if we lose our clarity, we are sabotaging our purpose.
People are already angry with the government. I don’t think promising rolling heads at this point will help anyone, unless we don’t care about our own ethical validity.
About the Prime Minister being elected directly by the people
I have nothing against this per se, but I think it is going to work out impractical in the execution. Essentially, it would mean another election once the ruling party was decided or something. Which makes it bat shit crazy in my opinion. Logistical nightmare, too long a power vacuum for the process to be complete, etc etc. Not to mention the nuisance of sour grapes parties making life difficult in a leaderless situation – because I don’t believe our politicians are going to magically improve. I think this is a bad idea, but I also know that I’m not the only Sherlock on the planet. At some point, this is going to become evident, and a more functional solution will be worked out out of sheer necessity. Whether I make my grand denouncement or not.
About the currency notes
Okay, here’s the deal. I think the idea will work to the extent it is intended, but fail to accommodate the other functions of currency. However, I don’t think its a dangerous idea or anything. If someone really thinks it will work, I’m game for trying it out. Worst comes worst, we’ll end up frustrated and releasing the higher currency notes again.
I certainly don’t think it will be the end of the world either way. We did fine before the notes were introduced and most people use cards for large legal transactions anyway. Nor do I think it will be the end of bribery, because greed is creative.
The demands seem rather concrete and specific on subjects where there can be a variety of perfectly valid views. It doesn’t invite engagement, which only serves as further fodder for the fear politics sabotage and as a negative trigger for undecided masses faced with a choice between something new or the security of something familiar, if dysfunctional. A sad fact of human beings is that fear overrules ideals for most. This attitude undermines the movement.
There isn’t enough interface for the common man to contribute to the movement beyond sloganeering. We have great minds. Contributions from strategy to advice to convincing writing can empower the movement further, but they are difficult to make. The public profiles seem to be only about announcements. This could have been more graceful by simply asking volunteers to keep an eye on incoming messages and forward promising ones. It also makes the larger support base clumsy to engage in some agile idea that could make a big difference.
The bottom line
All this said, I’m in support of absolutely anyone and his cousin rocking the status quo right now. The government needs to learn humility and address a lot of wrongs urgently or be taken out. It irritates the daylights out of me to hear intellectuals thinking taking out of higher currencies is somehow more hideous than systematically starving the country, which is essentially what it amounts to when one opposes something like this because of some point somewhere and missing the larger picture completely.
I am a keen observer of people and I reach my own conclusions. Years of people watching has taught me that in a reasonably empowered group, it is near impossible to publicly reach a consensus that is against its interests. In my eyes, Baba Ramdev can ask for each person in the country to do tame monkeys for a living and I will still back him up, because when it comes to planning details and executing them, the monkeys will not work out by the very nature of a democracy. I don’t see it as a threat. At.All.
The key thing right now is to get the government on the negotiating table and wade the struggle through its inevitable sabotage time and again, chipping at the fault lines again and again till the country reaches a livable place. To have enough conviction in our opinion that this is the end of the road for this kind of exploitative regime that we bend or break the criminals, but we do not let them continue. To me, that is the goal. The rest, I can accommodate. It comes much later and with far more space for thinking.
In the worst case scenario, if Baba Ramdev still manages to turn us into a country of monkey tamers, I have no doubt that the public that can bring down one criminal and deeply entrenched government will have absolutely any problem challenging the second if it fails to govern.