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Fasting for corruption or Fasting for power

June 2, 2011 by  
Filed under lead story, Persecution

Baba-RamdevOne elderly gentleman, called as Gandhian, Anna Hazare who was indicted in a corruption case (earlier in Maharashtra) fasted in Delhi to abolish corruption from India.  A committee to draft the Lok Pal Bill was constituted and unfortunately it had father-son duo.  It is amazing that India with a population of 1.2 billion do not have enough experts except for the father-son duo.  However, the senior citizen did not understand that nepotism also breeds corruption.



For Indian urban middle class who have variety of foods, cuisine from all parts of the world, a vast list of snacks and numerous drinks, fasting is beyond conception or imagination or experience.  If a person undertakes a fast, he becomes a hero for he does something that urban elites cannot do.  Now, another guru Ramdev has scheduled indefinite fasting in the month of June.  His agenda is also similar, to eradicate corruption and bring back Black Money stacked in various countries around the world.  He has a noble desire to use that money equally allotted for each district in India.  However, he is not clear how he would implement such mammoth plan, when the delivery apparatus, the Indian bureaucracy is corrupt. 

Guru Ramdev claims to teach over 2 lakh people through his television audience daily and has an army of one crore (10 million) volunteers.  This is a mind boggling number.  Corruption is no doubt a socially tolerated evil.  This demon has to be exorcised.  Instead of focussing on the Black money in foreign countries, Ramdev should use his volunteers to fight the evil of black money, black market, corruption, bribery and nepotism. 

Here are some constructive steps/projects/programmes Guru Ramdev could execute:

1.       Literacy:  Over 30 per cent of Indian population is illiterate.  An army of one crore volunteers can teach 10 people to read and write or become functionally literate.  It may take three months.  That means within three months the volunteers of Ramdev could make 10 crore (100 million) people literate.  If they repeat it three times, 30 crore illiterate Indian could become literate within one year time.  Instead of teaching yoga to villagers, Ramdev volunteers could make India literate nation.  With literacy comes hygiene, awareness of rights and poor people cannot be cheated and they need not pay bribes. 

2.       Sex ratio:  Let Ramdev advise and ask his one crore volunteers to take an oath against discrimination of girl child.  They should decide not to do sex determination tests or abort girl child or commit infanticide of girl child.  This would be a great service to our nation.

3.       Dowry:  Another social evil is dowry that batters young brides and many of them are burnt alive throughout the country.  Let the volunteers of Ramdev take an oath not to receive or give dowry.  It is a known fact that dowry transaction happens in cash which is mostly black money. 

4.       Tax evasion:  India has the greatest number of tax evaders or search loop holes in the law and pay less tax.  A good example is Sachin Tendulkar who claimed himself as ‘Actor’ instead of ‘cricketer’ and paid less tax.  He saved Rs. 2 crore but the country lost Rs. 2 crore.  Guru Ramdev could urge his huge followers to honestly, willingly and joyfully pay the taxes that is due. 

5.       Real estate:  Most transaction of real estate happens with black money.  Only part of the cost is registered while the rest is paid as cash, so less tax is paid.  It is a normal practice throughout the country.  Guru Ramdev can challenge his followers not to pay any cash but do cheque transaction only when they buy any property.  That would curb corruption. 

6.       Political parties:  Guru Ramdev could request his lawyer followers to file a case in the Supreme Court for making it mandatory for all registered political parties to have accounts that are audited every year.  It should become a public document. 

7.       Public Distribution System:  Tonnes of grains are rotting or burnt or eaten by rats in Food Corporation of India godowns. The storage facilities are insufficient or inadequate.  The Government gives an excuse that it does not have facilities to distribute the grains as it is expensive to transport those grains to needy areas.  Guru Ramdev could challenge his volunteers to take responsibility to transport these grains and distribute through PDS. 

8.       Public Education:  The root cause for corruption is lack of awareness and education.  For example, the banks are supposed to provide loan for students who pursue higher education and the loan could be paid back when they start earning.  However, many banks do not give this information and harass students who apply for education loans.  Information of public importance that would reduce ignorance and reduce corrupt practices, general civic health campaigns, traffic common sense, safety measures…etc could be provided to public through the volunteers.  Even Television should be used to dissimilate such ideas and information. 

9.       Karseva:  Volunteers with guru Ramdev would like to be involved in worthy projects that would make difference in the lives of the people.  Girls in rural areas drop out of schools for lack of toilets.  Is it possible for guru to call his followers to construct toilets, install black boards, white wash all rural schools in India. 

10.   Urban traffic chaos:  Traffic in Indian cities are dangerous and deadly.  There is no guarantee a person would return home safely after going through the daily harassment.  Adding flyovers has helped vehicles to reach traffic jams faster.  Pedestrians are at peril every day.  Guru Ramdev should provide creative solution through his volunteers. 

There are many constructive means and methods to transform India with a volunteer force of one crore people.  Instead of making a gimmick of fast, let the respected guru show a different way of transforming India.  If he can think of creative projects like this, with his clout and committed volunteers he can make a remarkable difference.  Will he?  Only time would tell.

– J.N. Manokaran

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