By Ranbir Singh
The brutal suppression of Swami Ramdev’s protests against corruption which reaches to the highest echelons of the Indian government should come as no surprise to anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of coming face to face with the country’s administrative and highly bureaucratic infrastructure. Graft, greed, black money, backhanders and dishonesty have become integral to the rusting steel frame of national civil administration. But what is perhaps most shocking is the silence.
Where are all the human rights voices who are always keen to support separatism in Kashmir and otherwise so very eager to expose the brutality of army and police when they crackdown on protests? Where are the western ‘liberal’ intellectuals who willingly act as sheep and android mouthpieces for the aforementioned Indian chattering class academics and activists? The only disturbing conclusions one can draw from this silence is that the leader of this anti-corruption drive is a revered Hindu holy man. Such a figure is an anathema to the Orwellian claustrophobia which strangulates all rational thinking when it comes to India political and social commentary.
In this Brave New World the unwritten rule is that Swami Ramdev must be wrong because he is an honoured figure within Hinduism. One need only compare to the kid glove treatment given to the Pakistani terrorists who arrived on that accursed December to inflict maximum casualties in Mumbai on specifically Hindu, Jewish and western human targets. Pleas continue to be heard for clemency and to understand the ‘context’ of why such people would want to commit genocide had they not been limited by numbers and killing machine technology. Yet with Swami Ramdev not one voice in favour but already rumblings of why Indian human rights activists and their duped western sheep either employ the self-censorship of gagging or slowly veer to subtle condemnation of him. It is in the latter that we learn the real reason why Swami Ramdev’s very important anti-corruption drive is being ignored or opposed. As one famous western news website put it, he is “openly backed by India ’s Hindu nationalist opposition”. That is basically the crux of it, and the reason for the double standards in reporting.
The Indian masses in their millions will have to rely on themselves for their “Arab spring” in order to get rid of an authoritarian ruling class who siphon off billions just as their parallel entities got so sued to doing in the Middle East . But while the people in the Middle East have been supported for their efforts to rid themselves of thieving kleptocracies, even when the radical religious element was never far from the forefront, in India the very idea that a Hindu religious figure can do the same is delegitimised simply because Baba Ramdev is Hindu and shows the relevance of Hinduism in all aspects of modern life, including tackling a system which effectively locks millions into poverty and dependence upon an inflexible crushing parasitic form of clientage which is the antithesis of democracy, liberalism and civic duties.
Ranbir Singh is a member of Hindu Human Rights (www.hinduhumanrights.info)