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Baba re!

The Baba Ramdev was forcibly evicted from the Ramlila grounds in Delhi on Saturday night. He had been holding a non-violent political protest rally there for the past couple of days. Apparently at 11:30 PM, the police decided that the sleeping demonstrators constituted a law and order risk and had to be dispersed. What followed was a drama of high calibre. The details were covered by every news channel in the country throughout Sunday. It seemed as if nothing else of note had happened anywhere in the nation. The baba was bundled off to his ashram in Haridwar and disbarred from entering the capital.

A lot would be said about this whole issue all over the net. There will be arguments about the exact sequence of events that led to this surprising move; already there are conflicting reports regarding police brutality and public retaliation. There will be war of words over how justified the baba’s demands were and whether the government could have done more to mollify him or if it ought to have done more to that end in any case.

My argument, and in fact the only  problem I have with this entire farce playing out in the public eye, is simple. We are a civil, democratic society. Period. It doesn’t matter how unjustified or even ridiculous (50 INR to be the highest denomination?) the baba’s demands are, he has a right to make them. It doesn’t matter if there are 5000 people with him or 50,000, they have a right to be there. As long as his demonstration is peaceful, as long as the protesters do not damage property or life, as long as they break no reasonable law, they have the right to be there. It is one of the hallmarks of a free, democratic nation, this right to demonstrate and the government cannot take away a citizen’s right at a whim. In this situation, the government had no justification for such a precipitate action. No law had been broken, no violent incident had occurred.

This was a show of naked oppression of free people by their own administration. It was an incident which  deserves condemnation in any civilized polity. No free thinking man can condone such unwarranted action against sleeping men, women and children. This is not democracy. It smelled of fascism. Even though the baba’s demands were impractical and frankly impossible or unwise to implement, I’m sure there could have been other methods of getting him to end the protest. I’m sure all alternative solutions had not been exhausted.

When I first read of this I thought maybe the INC has something up its sleeve against the baba that emboldened it enough to take such an action. But it seems, the government was just jittery after the last successful public protest led by Anna Hazare and reacted in a knee-jerk fashion. Now you can see them trying to justify their actions post facto. But nothing they’ve been able to come up with yet cuts any ice with me. I’m sorry Mr. Sibal, but living in a democratic country limits your exercise of powers.

What I hate most about the whole situation though, is that it has made people like me with no love lost for the baba to come out in his support! But that is they duty of every informed, intelligent citizen.



About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. There were many reasons why I gradually became more regular in posting, but one way or the other, here I am! So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on(and trust me this does become an issue more often than I'd care to admit). I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice.


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