The other day, one cloudy morning, I opened a newspaper, having been kicked out of bed and a beautiful dream by parents who were anxious that their son was whiling away his vacations with the pursuit of nothings. Right on the front page of The Hindu, greeting my still sleepy face, were two angry bearded men. One was Ilyas Kashmiri, who was declared dead in Afghanistan. The other was Baba Ramdev who declared a fast until death unless India’s rather large share of black money was brought back to the country so that more people may learn and practice yoga.
In a more frivolous time, when you did not have to sweat a gallon about being politically correct and did not have to fear angry mob who might scythe off your palm, a resourceful editor with a sense of humour might have swapped photos of Ilyas Kashmiri and Baba Ramdev. You know, just for kicks. However, that was not to be and we are forced to go through our mundane days without being able to fall back on the morning memory of Baba Ramdev being captioned Ilyas Kashmiri.
I am a simple man with simple world views and in my opinion, the fewer angry bearded men the world has, the better. The death of Ilyas Kashmiri, whose only endearing quality may have been that he had a pretty wicked name, brought joy to my heart as the world population of raving bearded men took a minor hit. Baba Ramdev seemed, as far as I could make out from The Hindu, to be alive, kicking and very angry. In my limited view, the black money unscrupulous and enterprising Indians have stashed away in the mountains of Switzerland and the white sand beaches of Cayman Islands can stay there for a wee bit longer if it rid this world of Baba Ramdev, his anger and his antics.
In fact, I suppose a win-win situation can be achieved if the government, or whoever is in charge of such things, would just let Baba Ramdev die. The death of Baba Ramdev would inevitably unleash the fury and wrath of that small percentage of the Indian population who still give a tiny rat’s ass about politics, corruption and Gandhi-like fasts. This fury and wrath, aided by further blackmailing from the part of Anna Hazare would surely spur the government or whoever is in charge of such things to actually bring back that rather huge stash of black money and lose it in corrupt deals within India. Go desi! The final balance sheet- Baba Ramdev, no. Lots of money coming back to India, yes. Two birds with one stone, eh?
However, as I lack the political pull pre-requisite for putting through such pulverising plans, I am left to merely postulate. Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been’. As midnight raids and salwar-kameez escapades abound, one can only hope that it all tapers off to a good end. Though what end that might be I fear to contemplate. Baba Ramdev, for all his anger, rainforest beard and inane posturing does appear to be a singularly determined man. Like all singularly determined men, he has dug his toes in and is only prepared to dig them out if his demands are met. It is at moments like these that one looks upto Flying Spaghetti Monster and asks ‘Why?’ Why at all was Baba Ramdev created human? All the first-class qualities of a mule gone to waste.
The Hindu, in a rare occasion of front page humour says “The demands of the jet setting Baba, whose acolytes recently bought him a little Scottish island to open an ashram….. range from the serious to bizarre”. Of course, you know them all by now. Hang the corrupt from lamp posts, ban the institution of currency and go back to the barter system, renounce a tried and tested form of governance the British came up with and opt for a Swadeshi model, make him king of the country and the like.
Of course, as with all such reforming revolutionaries willing to fast it out in New Delhi, our angry Baba Ramdev wants to promote Hindi at the expense of English. For some reason, perhaps ranking his demands in ascending order of stupidity, The Hindu put this point last when they made a list of Baba’s main demands. I was going through this list the aforementioned cloudy morning shaking and nodding my head, letting out intermittent chuckle,s a ‘Ha!’ here and there until I reached the last point. At this point my blood started bubbling and boiling and in the interest of surviving, I jumped into a cold shower.
Baba Ramdev himself, is suspected of having several dirty fingers in several dirty pies. No one knows from where he gets all his money, though he is generally recognised to be a multi-millionaire sadhu. The government, in a perfect example of the term tit for tat, has decided to investigate the Baba and find that piece of incriminating evidence by which it can direct a well-aimed kick at Baba’s saffron clad derriere and send him squelching back to his Scottish island.
As much as I pity the fine Scots, after all they gave us Scotch whiskey, I rejoice at the distinct possibility of Baba Ramdev fading away into his remote island, where he might spend the day and night practising yoga, making much more money and, if he is enterprising enough, banging the brains out of his ardent worshippers.