Give the dog a bad name and hang it. A variation of this technique, pioneered by Lenin in his infamous “stick the convict badge,” an old favourite of our now-languishing comrades on the Left—from calling Subash Bose a running dog of imperialism to various other customized slander—has been perfected by the Congress party.
Of all political parties in the country, the Congress feels the most uncomfortable being out of power even for a few seconds and once there, feels compelled not to hide its tyrannical tendencies. Of all political parties, the Congress holds the record for setting the maximum number of ugly precedents in any realm of public discourse and even basic decency. Of all political parties, the Congress has done the most to wreck democracy in the country. Of all political parties, the Congress is the most intolerant of criticism.
And this party is controlled by exactly one Family: I would’ve said “dynasty” but given what has transpired over the past 7 years, “Family” is the most appropriate term. I mean “Family” in the Italian sense.
A quick recap of the Dynasty’s deeds since Independence shows how they were not different from the colonial British regime’s deeds. It is only logical that we today have an Italian woman as the Super Prime Minister lording over the natives and the renewed loot of their wealth. Suppression, violent suppression of any form of dissent is a must-have weapon in the arsenal of a colonial power. Jawaharlal Nehru, that ugly brown holdover of a white regime used suppression of various forms to brook and check challenges to his authority: from the massacre of hapless Chitpavan Brahmins in Maharashtra to knocking out a duly elected Communist government in Kerala. Unfortunately for India, Nehru imbibed the worst of both the British colonialism and Communism, which was then thriving in the USSR. The seeds for India’s downward spiral was set.
These seeds fully bloomed under his daughter. Recall that the #1 method of stifling the Opposition back then was character assassination. Back then, standards were still pretty strong and it was enough if the Congress party planted a story in the newspapers about a dissenting person’s personal affairs. That person would most definitely lose the next election and/or the public wouldn’t take him/her seriously. The best example of this was the “expose” of—Jagjivan Ram’s son—Suresh Ram’s extramarital affair. When mere character assassination ceased to matter, the Congress party unleashed the power of state machinery—the CBI and the rest. The best example in today’s time: Narendra Modi’s relentless victimization by She Who Shall Not be Named.
And so it is with Baba Ramdev who has dared to take the Family on.
In my piece on Anna Hazare, I noted that
On April 8 2011, the Queen graciously [bowed] down to the wishes of this gentle Gandhian and on April 9 2011, the Government of India [issued] a Gazette of India notification to form a joint committee to draft the Lok Pal Bill…What’s even more important is the speed at which the Queen’s conscience was shaken by the might of Anna’s moral power and agreed to all his demands.
So what’s amiss in the Baba Ramdev saga? I mean, he’s also fighting for the same cause: the rot of corruption, a facet of which is the loot stashed away in offshore tax havens. So why does he get the Jallianwallah Bagh-style treatment while Anna Hazare is mollycoddled? In the same piece, I also noted that
…from time immemorial, governments in power always tend to crush any opposition—it doesn’t matter whether such opposition and protest is just and/or popular: what matters is that giving in to such opposition is seen—rightly so in many cases—as a challenge to the power, authority, and legitimacy of the government.
And lo and behold! Operation Midnight Masala was launched on the hapless supporters of Baba Ramdev who were in deep sleep. It is said that one of the worst sins accrues from causing harm to a person who’s asleep. Here, tons of sleeping people were brutalized by the cops who seem to have sworn allegiance to a political party rather than the nation. This is just one tiny but ugly facet of how opposition is crushed. Never mind the opposition comprises a few thousand people. A preface to Tiananmen Square.
The Congress party had earlier condescended to Baba Ramdev via “airport diplomacy,” then “hotel diplomacy” and when neither worked, it resorted to brute force. At the root of this entire sordid saga are two words: cowardice and fear. Both “qualities” are mutually dependent. We have a government headed by cowards whose mantra of governance can be summed up in two words: dirty tricks. The only way dirty tricks can be unleashed unimpeded is by creating a state of fear. I’ve remarked numerous times that both UPA 1 and UPA 2 have been slowly but steadily and systematically eroding our fundamental freedoms under our noses but we scarcely realize it. However, Operation Midnight Masala is perhaps the first open attempt to brazen this erosion out. The first open attempt not counting the Emergency.
So why has Baba Ramdev scared the Congress party into a state of heightened constipation? This party has left a long trail of shadiness: fomenting communal violence, launching repeated attacks on the essentially Hindu character of India, inaugurating the goon-to-minister political culture…none of these have managed to make even a tiny chink in its steely armour of shamelessness. So why Baba Ramdev? The answer is simple and has been staring at our faces for a long time, which is perhaps why we’ve ignored it all along.
The Congress party’s weakest wicket has always been Black Money or “Swiss Bank” as it’s known colloquially. If you carefully read media reports, especially in the post-Rajiv Gandhi era, you’ll see that corruption involving the Congress party is only paid lip service. Of late, the media pretends as if the Congress party is a beacon of virtue and character. “Congress party” meaning the Family—the minions and foot soldiers get just the crumbs, the leftovers. And it’s not hard because the rot as in every other sphere begins with the patriarch, the founding-father, Pandit Nehru. Here’s Philip Spratt, an ex-British Comintern agent on Nehru:
An item of his policy which, I believe, testifies to Nehru’s Marxist feeling, though it is no longer Communist orthodoxy, is his tolerance of corruption. Before the revolution the Bolsheviks obtained their funds by organising a prolonged campaign of dacoities, by seducing heiresses, and by taking big subsidies from the German Government…. Nehru has the same bohemian attitude towards audit objections: they belong to the fussy bourgeois era of Gokhale and Gandhi.
Nehru’s Communism is revealed in the extraordinary favour he shows to the Communist Party, as contrasted with his marked coolness towards the socialists who put democracy first, like the PSP. He allows the Russian Government, and apparently the Chinese too, to subsidise them. It has been admitted in Parliament that the Home Department knows about some of these foreign funds. No other ruler in the world tolerates this kind of thing. Why does Nehru?
In his time, the word used was subsidise. In Indira Gandhi’s time, this translated into open buying out of Congress politicians: recall the Mitrokhin Archives? Actually, in Mrs. Gandhi’s time, it was free for all. And then Rajiv Gandhi and Bofors and other smaller but significant scams. Then Narasimha Rao. And now, She Who Shall Not be Named has embarked on a loot unprecedented in scale or scope. As the Congress party’s power and influence dwindled over the years and scandals involving the Family tumbled out, one phenomenon became increasingly obvious: the pace at which such news items was buried and traces of the dubious transactions themselves obliterated. Even if you don’t go into the details, a simpler way exists to trace the corruption to the First Family: there is a direct correlation between the number of years the Dynasty has ruled and the abysmal state of the nation for the same period and the staggering amount of Indian money parked abroad. And so when a spiritual guru with a massive following refuses to turn the heat off on this issue, the Family does what it does best when it’s drunk with power: Operation Midnight Masala.
Unlike other cases, the Congress party doesn’t have a handle where it can divide the opposition headed by Baba Ramdev. Corruption is genderless, casteless, classless and religionless. To its eternal discredit, the Sleaze Unit of the Congress party tried its hand by playing the Sadhvi Rithambara-is-communal card but failed spectacularly. However, that doesn’t mean it’ll stop trying. Under the able stewardship of the suddenly-new-favourite hitman Digvijay Singh, the Congress party began a series of flip-flops that culminated—as it must—in Singh openly abusing Ramdev as a thug. One wonders what the Tyaag Maata feeds her courtiers because they have no qualms in allowing a known separatist into the heart of the capital to spew anti-India speeches. Or the fact that the party’s hitman’s sympathies lie with the Batla House terrorists? The hitman has used the other, predictable threat of investigating Baba Ramdev’s sources of income. Right. Everybody is a crook by default so it’s okay for the Family to loot. If a finger is pointed at it, we shall point a million fingers at you. What the poor hitman didn’t anticipate was this from the people.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh’s residence was pelted with stones by some unidentified people who also shouted slogans in favour of yoga guru Baba Ramdev, police said on Monday.
Meanwhile, it pays to look at the list of the Hitman’s involvement in corruption and controversies.
However, the other significant reason that’s scared the Family is the sudden consolidation of the Hindu voice under Baba Ramdev. The last thing the Congress party wants is an Ayodhya-like situation. Here’s a thumb rule of sorts: the shriller the Congress voice gets about RSS and Saffron, the surer you can be about the fact that there’s a Hindu consolidation happening. Here’s an alternative perspective, a valid one but farfetched in certain places. Whatever be Baba Ramdev’s connections with the Sangh Parivar, he surely commands a massive following that cuts across social strata, who pretty much regard him as a spiritual Guru. Unlike the Sai Babas of the world, he promises no miracles or afterlife goodies but calls for a lifestyle change through Yoga. Additionally, Baba Ramdev has openly agreed to submit himself to any investigation for instance, into stuff like the ownership of an island in Scotland. Would the Queen or the Hitman or any one member of the Congress party bring themselves to say as much? Your guess is as good as mine.
As I said earlier, Anna Hazare was an easy nut to crack given that his support emanated from a largely complacent and selfish urban middle class, which shuns serious risk. His “movement” is in tatters now. Agnivesh has vanished. The motley band of self-seekers, opportunist-careerists that makes up for civil society is fighting among itself while the busload of candle-kissers evaporated before the candle flame extinguished.
It’s instructive to observe the reaction from various quarters to the Ramdev saga. There’s a significant segment of the urban middle class—the same class that mindlessly supported Anna Hazardous—that regarded Ramdev’s fast variously with derision, scorn, condescension, and in some cases outright dismissal. This class typically adores the likes of Burqa and unthinkingly swallows the tripe and lies of the English media. This class is a perverse tribute to the India that Nehru set out to create, a class that admits thus:
- Ramdev press conference part 3. Watching it with wine makes it so different
- @nidhi_razdan ignore. And block anyone whose bio says proud Indian
- I just can’t identify with Ramdev’s India
The last one is the most representative species and the most honest admission of Nehru’s horrible tryst with destiny: a derision for fellow countrymen who feel proud about their nation and their heritage.
On the other side is the gang of self-proclaimed guardians of various hues and the human rights brigade. Not one of them uttered as much as a syllable over the state-sponsored atrocities against the hapless citizens at Ram Lila grounds. The HQ of the NHRC is located in the same city as Ram Lila grounds. We do live in a truly tyrannical republic.