Last few months would be remembered for hunger strikes. First, there was Anna Hazare’s fast against corruption which seemed to be supported by people belonging to every age group- small children and the elderly alike, every profession and every strata of the society. This was followed by Baba Ramdev’s heroic dealings (pun intended) with the government. Our media houses closely monitored every movement in Baba’s blood pressure, but they failed to capture the hunger strike of Swami Nigamananda. May be they were least interested in it. It is very unfortunate that he lost his life in the middle of his protest.
Our country has a long history of hunger strikes. Mahatma Gandhi was the first to recognize the power of hunger strike and he used it frequently to bend the Britishers, who forcefully ruled us. Today, these strikes are employed against the people in power who are elected by us. It is because of our votes that these corrupt people are in power today. Are we also not responsible for this corruption? Is there no other way to place our demands or to keep a check on these corrupt politicians?
Off late these questions have been lingering in my mind. I do not doubt the ends for which these people are fighting. I am just apprehensive about the means they have adopted to achieve these ends. Is fasting unto death the only means of making the government take note of our demands? It’s a powerful tool, but what if a bunch of immature people start using it for imposing their unjustified demands and for blackmailing the government.
I am worried from the day Baba Ramdev launched his hunger strike. No doubt his demands were noble but I feel that his strike was more driven by his ego than by his demands. I became all the more skeptical when that letter or I should say the deal came into picture. What transpired after that would surely be one of the lowest points of our democracy.
It’s quite possible that I have read the situation wrongly and justifications given by Baba Ramdev might be correct, but these incidents have made me overcautious. You never know that you are supporting a cause but a deal is already in place.
With this bit of anxiety I am hopeful that on June 30th we get a Lokpal Bill and not a Jokepal Bill.