A poor farmer struggles to put two meals on platter for his family. An ailing mother, a complaining wife and a jobless brother compound his life. He and his brother leave their house in the morning for farming but actually go to have a drink. Hence, they are not helping their grim realities. They have bank loans asking for repayment, which they obviously can’t make. They will lose their land and home otherwise. The elections are approaching.
To save his family from becoming homeless, elder brother advices him that it’s better to commit suicide rather than dying every day waiting for your death. His crafty elder brother sees a silver line. As elections are approaching, the elder brother knows that if he suicides his family will get compensation, his loans will be waived off. So, elder brother convinces him that if you announce your suicide, you can help your family just by dying.
He does so, gets all the media attention, gets assistance from government, opposition, NGOs etc. And there’s another man in the same village that is so malnourished that his ribs protrude, his skin seems devoid of any blood. All you observe is his long hands with hammer, going up going down hitting the rocks and turning them to pieces, and sweat on his body sparkling against the harsh sun. No one spares a thought for him and his commitment to his work to manage even one square meal a day. He dies a miserable death, unnoticed in the same pit he was digging in, as if he was digging his own grave. No one gives a damn, as his body dries under the sun.
You just read two really different stories of two different persons. It came from a Bollywood flick Peepli Live. Bollywood is a subdomain of Indian film industry that produces Hindi movies. I don’t have much interest in movies but something caught my eyes recently. Bollywood, time and again, has been portraying realities India faces. And this time around I saw some striking similarities across the two sides.
So let us go to Dehradun Himalayan Hospital, Uttarakhand, where two different stories await us. ICU here hosted a man well known round the globe. Baba Ramdev is a yog guru, and a national activist who raised his voice against corruption and black money. How did he reach hospital here in hospital’s ICU? After Government failed to convince him about his demands, Baba Ramdev decided to continue with fast unto death to draw attention of the masses to the topic. Over 65,000 followers gathered in Ramleela ground in his support. Endless queues spanning over kilometers were seen at the entry gate of the Ramleela ground. Ramdev summoned the crowd and inspired the masses the essence of satyagrah to force government to take action against corruption and black money. On the other hand, Kapil Sibal called for a press conference and disclosed a letter by Acharya Balakrishna (a fellow saint) to call off the fast. Ramdev took it as betrayal and claimed that letter was just to show to the Prime Minister for successful talks. Ramdev declined for any further communication. Government took the hard way out. An operation was launched at 1 am to evict the crowds at the ground. The place was bombarded with tear gas shells, and the peaceful gathering was lathicharged. Baba Ramdev was sent to haridwar patanjali yogpeeth and banned to enter Delhi for 15 days. Ramdev summoned a press conference and told media about the way people were mistreated. Baba continued his fast, Government didn’t pay heed. And ultimately after his health deteriorated so did his self-confidence and he call off his fast unto death on the ninth day. Political games were played; numerous allegations and accusations were made. BJP blamed Government for negligence. A lot happened that should not have happened otherwise.
Not far off is another ward in this hospital, which was serving last moments for Swami Nigamanand. A name you might have never heard. A 36 year old saint could not tolerate the pain to the mother river he worshipped, the holy Ganga. He had been fasting for 115 days against the illegal quarrying about the banks of river Ganga. He died on 13th June, 2011 the same day when Baba Ramdev was discharged of the same hospital. While Ramdev was greeted with hundreds and thousands of supporters, Nigamanand’s demise saw a few sadhus and no politicians whosoever. He fought like a true warrior and died like an unsung hero. Now Government at center blamed BJP for inaction. The politics continues. A lot happened that should not have happened otherwise.
I support both the persons, for me they are heroes better than the reel world. No matter you try to escape or are not heard, you know within that what you are doing is for the betterment of the nation you are indebted by. No matter how different these two stories are, no matter how different the agendas were, no matter how differently these two people worked, I salute them for their initiative.