6th May 2011
A few weeks ago I spent some time to investigate the extremely problematic thing called ‘fast unto death’. Gandhi did not think that virtually anyone (apart from him) in India, was fit to undertake such a thing. But I concluded, after careful consideration, that even Gandhi should not have used this ‘weapon’. The idea of threatening suicide to pressurise governments to bend to one’s will is improper, and incompatible with a free society: definitely incompatible with the free democracy that India is. In particular, democratic processes in India are being subverted by this idea of fast unto death.
Now Baba Ramdev has joined in. Since he has clear political ambitions, at least his fast is not as bad as Anna Hazare’s.
But Baba Ramdev’s demands have little or nothing to do with the causes of corruption. The idea that high denomination notes cause corruption is so laughable it beggars belief. Ramdev is a TOTAL simpleton who imagines that by imposing the death penalty on the corrupt, corruption will disappear. Such simplicity of mental capacity brings a smile to my face. 98% of government servants and 100% of politicians would need to be hung. Does he want to create the French Revolution in India with its guillotines? Anarchy?
He needs to learn about the CAUSES of corruption (and poverty, and filth, and bad infrastructure, and bad education, and bad health system, and bad everything). A few hints are provided here. He needs to grow up and start reading and asking how the world runs, not impose his childish fancies on India.
There is no legal right to fast unto death in India. Indeed, such action violates the law against suicide. It is imperative, therefore, that the government of India arrest and force-feed anyone who threatens to use such coercive tactics.
I’m reasonably happy to support Baba Ramdev in his political goals so long as he demonstrates a capacity to listen to reason and good sense and is genuinely interested in solving problems including (but not restricted to) corruption [corruption is the LEAST of India’s problems: bad policy is India’s main problem]. But I’m unable to support Baba Ramdev in his undertaking a fast unto death. Let him contest elections, become Prime Minister, and change the laws. But using methods like fast unto death displays a total disregard for democracy.
He must be arrested and force-fed. Period. This racket can’t be allowed to continue. Indian democracy will soon disappear if these methods are permitted by the state.
However, I’m not sure whether the Indian government has the mental strength to arrest Ramdev. It is almost certain that the government will buckle.
Interestingly, either way – whether it arrests Ramdev or not – the Congress government (and the BJP!) will lose politically. Baba Ramdev is a master political strategist (in his great innocence) apart from being a childlike (even childish) misguided simpleton.
Maximilien Robespierre comes to mind. The similarities are more than skin deep.
But with such low quality of (potential) “policy makers” in India, only God can save India. Or the Freedom Team. If you have genuine policy understandings, and are willing to save India from impending anarchy, please join FTI.