The brouhaha surrounding the Baba Ram Dev incident has disturbed many around the country. This has unfortunately diverted attention from the core issue of rampant corruption. It is imperative that, at this critical juncture, we stay focused on the central issue of corruption and don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the hullabaloo.
News channels are incessantly airing the Ram Dev story, and seem hell-bent on digging deeper into his past.
The guru certainly has doubtful antecedents and for all you know he might have engaged in skullduggery to expand his yoga empire. But that is for the overburdened CBI to investigate.
The police crackdown has been compared to the dreaded emergency during Mrs. Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister. Political parties have taken the opportunity to engage in recriminations. This turmoil seems to have diluted the force of the movement against corruption.
Most agree that the government has been inept in dealing with the acute problem of corruption. Off late, the government has been portrayed as the great Satan which will do anything in its power to perpetuate the current system of governance. But it is important to acknowledge the fact that this menace is a manifestation of deeply embedded factors in the political economy framework.
Political patronage, the labyrinth of red tape, archaic laws which date back to the colonial era, and the social environment have all contributed to this malady. Demanding that these infirmities be eradicated overnight is far-fetched. No amounts of political conviction will quick-fix the problem.
Reprimanding the Manmohan Singh government for not curbing the problem is only partially right. Underestimating the government and alienating it will only make it more challenging to reach a middle ground. The civil society must work closely with the government at this critical juncture.
For those of you, who are extremely perturbed by the incident, look at the bright side. When you observe the festering situation in the Middle East and our rapidly deteriorating western neighbour, or the array of problems in the smaller South Asian nations for that matter, don’t you look at India and breathe a sigh of relief?
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