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Updated: June 8, 2011 00:53 IST

"No rift between me and Hazare"

C.K. Chandramohan
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Yoga guru Baba Ramdev addresses the media during his 'satyagrah' at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar on Monday.
PTI Yoga guru Baba Ramdev addresses the media during his 'satyagrah' at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar on Monday.

Baba Ramdev on Tuesday asserted that there was no rift between him and Anna Hazare. “In fact, I have asked my supporters to join the daylong fast by Anna and his team in New Delhi on June 8 in large numbers,” he said, adding that both were crusading against corruption and black money to restore glory to the nation.

Talking to journalists at the Patanjali Yogpeeth here, the yoga guru said he would not end his fast till the government accepted his demand to curb black money and corruption. He wanted the government to wake up before it was too late.

“The entire nation would rise in protest if the present trend of amassing wealth by a few powerful persons at the cost of the common man was not checked,” he said.

The yoga guru said he had forgiven Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but history would never forgive him for being a mute spectator when atrocities were being committed on the satyagrahis, including women and children, by the Delhi police.

Expressing grave concern over some of his supporters being allegedly kept in Tihar jail, Baba Ramdev asked the government to give him their names so that he could help them.

He accused the Delhi police of having taken away the CCTV footage in a bid to hide their atrocities. “They may edit the footage and try to show that it was our men who were violent and not they [the police],” he said.

He was collecting details and it may take about a week to list the losses suffered by the satyagrahis during the police crackdown on the intervening night of June 4 and 5.

Baba Ramdev claimed that his supporters were fasting in 624 districts. “Our fast will continue and I have asked small children, sick and very old people not to undertake the fast as that might affect their health.”

He urged the government not to threaten him or his followers against holding a peaceful protest. “The government should see reason and not behave in an undemocratic way.” Meanwhile, supporters from various places have started pouring in at the Patanjali Yogpeeth to extend support to Baba Ramdev. “We are here to crusade along with Swamiji to root out corruption and bring back black money stashed away in foreign lands,” said Harshit Gupta from Jaipur.

Similar sentiments were aired by Paramjit Singh from Ambala and Geetanjali Kaur from Amritsar. Abhay Bhagat, a relative of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, said that he and other family members had come to extend support to the baba.

In an astute commentary on the first of his campaigns against corruption, Vidya Subrahmaniam suggested that the prospects for Hazare's campaign were contingent on his ability to offer a well-defined political stand on the issue. I doubt if anyone spearheading 'civil society' initiatives paid heed to such remarkably prescient advice. The progressives and the Gandhians continue to ignore the difficult and important task of articulating a political stand and mobilizing public opinion, and they do so at their own peril. The unfortunate fundamentalist reactionary belligerence we are seeing today is precisely a consequence of social progressives who ignore the political. Hiding behind vague and utterly abstract notions of 'civil society initiative' comes in the way of making a difference for as long as activists continues to keep a distance from the political with facile and self-righteous presumptions that the truth is on their side. The progressives risk losing the political contest to gain an upper hand on the matter of corruption to the lumpen militants of the saffron brigade, who just might (once again) gain the upper hand in articulating popular anti-statist discontent and claim to speak for 'the people'. Can there be any cruder an instance of criminal irony that the fundamentalist ideology that assassinated the Mahatma now dances on the sacred ground of his final resting place? If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention! Everything is political... you can't afford NOT to take a stand.

from:  Srinath Jayaram
Posted on: Jun 9, 2011 at 02:52 IST
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