3rd October 2010
Baba Ramdev a good man, but how does one get him to understand good policy?
Watch the video below. Very well said by Baba Ramdev. 14 minutes well spent.
This man DEFINITELY has potential. His heart is in the right place. What he needs is to understand how to create the economic prosperitythat he talks about, and to get out of the shoddy policies he imagines will solve India's problems.
And of course, he has a verylimited understanding of science. To say that our body is made from the Earth is fine – but only to a VERY SMALL extent. Our body is made up of the Sun, Clouds and Air. The sun's energy powers us (through plants, or animals that eat plants). The water molecules in our body are sourced from EVERYWHERE in the world. Water recycles through evaporation and returns to us as clouds. CO2 that plants absorb (and which feeds us as carbon) is sourced ONLY from the air, which "belongs" to everyone. Only a few trace elements are sourced from the earth. So there is quite a bit of demagogy and recklessness in his speech. We don't need xenophobia. We need a balanced nationalism, that doesn't elevate the nation beyond the individual.
But he is pretty close to the truth when he says that while India was looted in the past by foreign invaders, its own people (Congress, BJP) have broken ALL records. And he also advocates economic prosperity, not filth and poverty. On that bit I fully agree with him.
While his heart is in the right place, there are serious flaws in his approach that is not based on freedom but on imposing his own view on others.
And so this is his Achilles Heel, the ONE REASON he will fail – that his movement will not attract a team of world-class policy experts, as leaders. No political party in India has good policy thinkers. They've (mostly) fled India, and those with self-respect who remain behind in India refuse to join any existing political formation – and won't join him. Baba Ramdev will fail to attract policy-competent leaders unless he stops makingwild policy statements that will take India down the drain. His current approach will attract ONLY third-rate policy thinkers, and destroy the possibility of reform in India's governance. No political movement can be sustained without a team of highly competent leaders.
But if he changes his views and is willing to listen to good policy, he will be able to build a team of outstanding leaders, and then his TEAM will be unbeatable.
Vishal, an FTI member is perhaps right when he says: "People like Ramdev or Nehru never change. They are dead sure of everything. They expect others to change." I hope not. If Vishal is right then not much can be done but to stay away from Baba Ramdev.
Personally speaking, I'd prefer to work with people like him than with some of India's (few) 'liberal' political outfits. I'm a bit tired of "liberals" who don't have the capacity to work as a team and who display almost no energy, a lot of inertia.
But I can work with Baba Ramdev ONLY IF he pulls back from his simplistic and ill-informed policy frameworks…
He simply doesn't understand policy. That is not his area of expertise. He should immediately stop making random policy statements and just talk of the bigger goals – which he does pretty well in this video snippet. He should then invite India's best policy experts to assemble as a team. The forces then unleashed against corrupt socialist governance of India will become unstoppable.
It would be a tragedy if his otherwise brilliant efforts were wasted. Such enormous energy! All wasted.
Given these issues, I do, therefore, continue to strongly recommend that good people who genuinely want to reform India should join the Freedom Team of India. The team of leaders we need must first be assembled, and policies agreed to. Premature launch of political movements will fail.