The prolofic Indian intellectual, Ramachandra Guha has published an article entitled "India's New Political Gurus" in the latest issue of Newsweek (June 20th 2011). The main purpose of this rather pointed intervention in the Indian debate over corruption and the role of the so called civil society activism spawned by the like of Dr Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare is to belittle and trivialise the common Indian before the elite Newsweek reading audience of the world. As a historian, at least having some academic training in social and environmental history, one can expect Dr Ramachandra Guha to show a modicum of integrity in his analysis. However what he comes up with is only a tendentious piece of reportage for an American audience which is both fale in its approach and apologetic in its tone.
The likes of Baba Ramdev have entered the political space only because during the course of the last 60 years since Independence the politicians have rendered Indian democarcy into a dynastic fascist regime it is today. The COngress party started this trend in the years following the split in 1969 and today the party is only an appendage of the Gandhi-Nehru family. What Ramachandra Guha hides from the rest of the world that itn was the Nehru dynasty that strarted praticing massive corruption on a scale that essentially made India into a third world kleptocracy. The Nagarwala case, the Oil import scandals of the 1980,s the Bofors Scandal and of of course the present season of 2G Spectrum Scandal and a host of other scandals are all the creations of the Congress Party with support from their allies like the DMK. Ramachandra Guha completely distorrts the context when he cleverly shields the Congress Party from any balme for the scandals. I was really shocked when in his massive 800 odd page book India Since Gandhi we do not find any discussion on the criminal pogrom of massacre organised by the Congres Party in the days following the excecution of Indiara Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. So Dr Ramachandra Guha is extremely economical with the truth.
The emergence of men like Baba Ramdev upsets western educated aritocrats like Ramachandra Guha because they represent the India that is srtruggling to keep afloat unlike the middle class that battened itself with the pickings of liberalisation and its concomitant corruption. Baba Ramdev articulated his stand against the monstrous corruption in India using the rhetoric of India religion and myhology--a rhetoric that Nohandas Gandhi had perfected. Comaprng Corruption to demons from the rich reporoire of India myhology and making people aware of their inherent human and constitutional rights using the idiom of morality and religion is what every teleevalgalist in the USA does. When Baba Ramdev articulates a similar argument, the Ramachandra Guhas of the world must paint them in dark colours of superstition and reaction.
The regime in poweer very cleverly manipulated the rather simple minded Baba Ramdev and tried to create a very public split in the ranks of the growing anti corruption movement in India. The other crusade against corruption, Anna Hazare is more to the taste of Ramchandra Guha. He has gathered around him some media friendly faces like Arvind Kejariwal and Kiran Bedi and this crew is projected as the very backbone of the crusade against corruption. In fact Baba Ramdev is the one whose movement will go forward and Anna Hazare and his crew are now busy debating whether the Prime MInister should be brought under the aegis of the Lok Pal Bill.Baba Ramdev has rightly identified foreign bank accounts of Indians as the major source of unaccounted wealth and wants the Government to nationalise the ill gotten wealth stashed abroad by the corrupt Indian politicians. In a recent raid on the "ashram" of the Afro headed "saint" Satyanarayana Raju, more than 100 kilos of gold bars and 400 kilos of silver were found. There is enough black money within India for the Government to seize and Baba Ramdev is being very reasonable when he demands the return of this wealth.
Ramachandra Guha did not make any attemt to hide his glee at the brutal crackdown on the unarmed men, women and children on the night of June 4th 2011 when the regime of ManMohan Singh sent its police to attack the grounds where the peaceful demonstration was taking place. The brutal crackdown against Baba Ramdev drew the attention of the Indian Supreme Court to the unlawful act and Ramachandra Guha does not mention the criminal actions of the regime in power.
Guha calls Baba Ramdev "reactionary". I think by using the language of the Congress Party to stiganatise all its opponents as "communal" reactionary, "anti national" etc Ramchandra Guha has shown himself to be a publisist of a corrupt, criminal regime.