As tempestuous and unsophisticated as this election campaign has been, Baba Ramdev lived up to the high standards set by our beloved politicians.
"Rahul goes to houses of Dalits for honeymoon and picnic... His mother told him that if he marries a foreigner, he will not become the prime minister. He does not want to marry an Indian girl. His mother wants him to first become PM and then marry a foreigner", he said and later on apologised as well. "I did not mean to insult Rahul Gandhi or Dalits. Rahul Gandhi indulges in publicity with photos of him sitting in the homes of Dalits. If my statement hurts the Dalits, I regret it".
All the angles of how his remark cannot be justified have been covered so reiterating it would be redundant. But the passion of Ramdev to espouse controversies has always been palpable and his despicable remark is nothing new. Neither is the nexus between Babas and politicians.
Dhirendra Brahmachari was a yoga mentor of Indira Gandhi and became politically active when she dissolved the parliament and enforced emergency. Chandraswami was another such cove. He first gained fame through his skill as an astrologer but his rise to national prominence came as a result of his association with Minister Narasimha Rao. Chandraswami was said to have been his spiritual adviser. Apart from them, Bhaiyyu Maharaj, Shahi Imam and Priests in Kerala, to name a few, have been in the periphery of politics.
While there are opinions about their political inclinations, let us not forget that these Babas and Gurus run a commercial business. Their links with political parties are, by and large, accompanied with vested interests. They need licenses, lands for their ashrams and a few leeways in order to run their ‘business’. Dhirendra Brahmachari was the owner of Vishwayatan Yogashram in the centre of Delhi, now known as the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga. He also owned campuses in Jammu, Katra and Mantalai. His ashram at Mantalai is spread over 1008 kanals of land with private airstrips, hangar, a zoo and a 7 storey building in Gandhi Nagar, Jammu.
Soon after Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister in 1991, Chandraswami built an ashram known as Vishwa Dharmayatan Sanathan in Delhi's Qutub Institutional Area. It was no rocket science that the land for his ashram was attained because of his political connections. Therefore, the spiritual leaders benefit from the party in power. In Marathi, there is an aphorism, which goes, ‘Ugavtya suryala namaskar’, meaning ‘bowing to the rising sun’.
While we know why Babas try and get cozy with the parties, the moot question is: why cannot the parties distance themselves from them? Babas have thousands of blind followers. And it is those blind followers who ensure their bread and butter. If not for them, Bapus like Asaram and Anirudhha would be uploading their CVs on naukri.com. Therefore, when spiritual leaders bat for a certain political party, the party benefits greatly from it. It is a quid pro quo scenario.
Ramdev might be a sound yoga guru. He has taken yoga to the grass root level. But that does not make him astute as far as political wisdom goes. However, his followers would not like to hear that.
In the evident nexus of Politics and crime, which is spoken about many a time, somehow the nexus between Babas and politics is lost in the woods. However, in both the nexuses, the common sufferer remains the layman.