Edit Corner

Fasts, Bandhs and Political Nautankis!

Since the last month, India and Goa have been held ransom to fasts, bandhs and political nautankis. Some people have even been inspired to join the dramas, while some have decided to be mute spectators.

Baba Ramdev’s antics are questionable, his fight to bring the black money stored in foreign banks to India is a good and justified cause, his logic as to how the government should bring back the money and how he plans to ensure that the money benefits every single Indian is altruistic and downright impractical. While his declared income of Rs 1,100 crore has been known for some time now and his declaration is no surprise to anyone including the government or his followers; his failure to bring forth details of his 700 acre island in Scotland, 95 acre land in Houston, Texas and another 75 acre in Canada leaves a question mark on his declaration and the intent of his declaration.
More importantly, what transpired at the Claridges Hotel in New Delhi between some of the ministers of the current UPA government and Baba Ramdev along with his aide Balakrishna will be a matter much debated and known to a few. But it is certain that Baba Ramdev agreed to one-thing and then took a different stance. Of course after that it has been more drama, accusations and counter accusations from the government, Baba Ramdev and Opposition parties like BJP.
In all the Ramdev fiasco, Anna Hazare decided to boycott the Lokpal Bill drafting session, which in my opinion is completely ridiculous, whatever is the reason of support he had towards Baba Ramdev’s cause or anger against the government action; because the solution to corruption lies in drafting the Lokpal Bill. In the end, drafting of the bill is just a process, it still needs to be approved by the parliament for it to become a law, so there is a long way before the Lokpal Bill becomes a reality and politicians who do not want the corrupt practices to come under the ambit of stricter laws are finding reasons to attack it. People like Anna Hazare who have now become a symbol of the Fight Against Corruption knowingly or unknowingly will be forced to take sides politically and that is where the entire India Against Corruption fight will lose its plot; because it is important to remember that the ‘GIVER’ of the bribe is as guilty as the ‘TAKER’ of the bribe and so the civil society too is equally to be blamed.
And while Baba Ramdev ended his fast after mere nine days; it is sad and shocking to know that far from the spotlight though in the same hospital ICU as the much better known Baba Ramdev, Swami Nigamanand, who had been fasting for two and a half months over illegal mining – looking to save the Ganga – has passed away. At his funeral you had no ministers or media. But his cause was no less important than Baba Ramdev, he believed in it to die for it. Baba Ramdev is busy building his army. It is written in the Bible – ‘that no greater is the love a man has for his friends than to lay down his life for them’. Swami Nigamanand did just that.
People like Baba Ramdev are nothing but political pawns of larger political game and in time this too will come to light; much like the drama being done by the BJP and MGP over the Medium of Instruction (MoI) issue in Goa. Since when does agitating against a particular government point of view, means you resort to a ‘Bandh’ and cause inconvenience to the people at large. The ‘Bandh’ is unconstitutional and I hope that this government takes legal action against the people who were a part of this Bandh, including the senior party members such as Shashikala Kakodkar, Manohar Parrikar, Damodar Naik, Laxmikant Parsekar and others.
What is the whole MoI issue about, it is nothing more than giving the parents the right to choose the medium of instruction for their children; and in our democratic set-up we have the freedom to choose the language or languages that are deemed acceptable at the Centre and State as a MoI. Nowhere does it say that our cultural fabric will be distorted because of English instead of Konkani or Marathi. In fact we must find ways and means to ensure that we retain our cultural identity in all aspects – language, attire, food, etc. So, in this case, while English as MoI can be accepted we must also ensure that Konkani gets its importance in all standards in school and not just till class IV.
In the recently concluded assembly session, BJP President Laxmikant Parsekar, very eloquently debated the need for the protection of the mother-tongue; so he decided to showcase examples of countries such as Malaysia, China and some countries in the Middle East. But in his excitement, he made a fundamental flaw in the logic applied. In that the mother-tongue in his examples referred to countries and Goa is a state. So in a state format you will need to look at the application of a particular language across the country while protecting the regional language. His ignorance in the matter or stupidity as I would like call it shows the gravity of true intent of the BJP in the entire issue.
Let us take the fact that Manohar Parrikar’s son is doing his post-graduation with a US college. I suppose his reason for sending his child off to US would be to brighter his son’s future in the career path of his choice. But does that also mean that according to Parrikar’s action that there are no colleges in India offering better post-graduation courses. His actions clearly imply that he is building on his son’s future in a globalised market place. In the same way parents wanting English as a medium of instruction are also looking at building the future of their children in a national and globalised marketplace, they are not saying we want to forget Konkani, in fact if you see most of the Goans home speak more Konkani than English even if they know English.
On Shashikala Kakodkar, the less said the better. It is known fact to everyone that she is trying to make a comeback to resurrect her dying political party MGP. And for someone whose grand-children studied in Shardha Mandir – an English Medium school, she should be preaching at home first, and then come out to call for Bandhs.
The day people like Manohar Parrikar, Laxmikant Parsekar, Damodar Naik and other BJP, MGP members leading the agitation against English MoI either donate or burn their Western outfits for true Indian attire; until then this entire issue of save our culture is nothing but a political NAUTANKI…drama is the English word for that.

– Savio Rodrigues
  Founder & Editor
  savio@goachronicle.com

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