Ground Zero: Baba Ramdev provides ipso facto legitimacy to Sant Bhindranwale


Sant Bhindranwale ji

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, April 4:  Baba Ramdev Dev, the yoga guru-cum businessman patronized by the Saffron Brigade, has provided justification to violence as political weapon practiced by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and he has advocated it all in the name of Bharat Mata. The BJP government headed by once Sangh parcharak Narendra Modi is perhaps trying to divert political discourse towards the end of its two year  in office that seems to be a dangerous cover up for performance below what was promised to the people. This baba-cum businessman has added new dimension to Bharat Mata brand of nationalism that is now being aggressively stressed by all the Sangh Parivar organisations.

Not that Sant Bhindranwale needs ipso facto legitimacy for his politics of bullet from the likes of Baba Ramdev. Sant Bhindranwale sacrificed his life for the cause he was fighting for. However, all of his so called provocative speeches were in reaction including to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she warned of fate of the Sikhs living in other states. His threat had caused furore at the national level.

The irony is that it was at the Sadhbhavana Rally at Rohtak that Ramdev gave a new definition to harmony reportedly saying, “Hum to lakhon ki gardan kaat sakte hain” in the context of those refusing to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai. It is nothing but adding touch of violence to country’s political discourse and this must not be viewed in isolation from other activities of the saffron brigade including planned attacks on institutions like the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

The leaders from the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, the mother organisation of the Sangh Parivar, had no role in the freedom struggle. The only leader whose name the Saffron Brigade goes back to is V D Savarkar but  his letters to the British government offering all sort of cooperation while in jail are part of history. The people who fought for the freedom of the country were from all sections, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and others. Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev gave their lives for freedom and social justice and that is where they differed from Mahatma Gandhi. They did not raise the slogan of Bharat Mata Ki Jai but Inquilab Zindabad. The Sangh Parivar is out to distort history.

In this context, the earlier discourses of Sant Bhindranwale can be recalled when he used to stress that a Hindu should be true to his faith, or for that matter, every person believing in whatever religion should be true to that. The recordings of his speeches are available in the market and compiled in the book form.

One does not know  as to which scriptures Baba Ramdev has studied as no religion preaches hatred. However, his Rohtak speech is venomous to the extreme and directed at the Muslims. Perhaps he does not know that the Akal Takht Jathedar or the Head Priest of the Golden Temple can’t chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai. He should try it with the Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal whose staff had circulated his pictures playing holy bare-headed. Other Sikhs in that pictures had their heads covered. Even Sukhbir  might hesitate although one can’t be sure about him.

Baba Ramdev should read a little bit of history. The total strength of the army of Babar when he captured Bharat (read Delhi as  India became one entity only after the defeat of the Sikhs in 1849 with Punjab being the last to come under British empire) was not more than 5000. He established the Mughal Rule that continued for hundreds of years. Ahmad Shah Abdali looted this country seventeen times and the only region where his army used to be counter attacked was Punjab.

This so called ultra-nationalist frenzy and the Bharat Mata slogans are being raked up at the time when awareness is growing in both Pakistan and Bangladesh about the common legacy of freedom movement of which Shaheed Bhagat Singh has emerged as the most towering icon. Kanhaiya of Jawaharlal Nehru University talks of Shaheed Bhagat Singh doctrine. That legacy can’t be suppressed through ultra-nationalist slogans. The Sangh Parivar just can’t only use the pic of  Bhagat Singh as it is his writings that are his biggest contribution. Freedom fighter Kartar Singh Sarabha too was young when he was hanged.

These babas and sadhvis are giving new definition to  whatever religion they subscribe to. However, they are not religious as a religious person can’t preach hatred.


Jagtar Singh


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