K.N. Govindacharya is seen as the brain behind the current agitation and stance of yoga guru Baba Ramdev on the issue of black money and corruption.
Mr Govindacharya, a hindutva ideologue from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) think tank but left following bitter differences with the party leadership. In this interview with Yojna Gusai and Mukesh Ranjan, he agrees that Ramdev’s movement “is aimed at terrorising the government”, and says both the government and Opposition parties favour “corporatocracy”, not democracy, in India.
Q. What justifies the so-called anti-corruption movements around us? Is the Indian state in urgent need of an overhaul?
A. The Indian state is working against its own rationale of existence. The state is supposed to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Here, the state is functioning for a few beneficiaries at the cost of the vast masses of Bharat. The parliamentary democracy has degenerated into corporatocracy. Today’s government is by the corporate, of the corporate and for the corporate. In this context the organ of the legislature is also so polluted that it has lost sight of itself and its purpose.
The ruling and Opposition parties have abdicated their role, or are in connivance with each other. Both are working for the few at the cost of the masses. The principal political parties have allowed themselves to be dominated by the whims and fancies of money bags.
Q. How can you say that the principal Opposition party in Parliament, the BJP, is also responsible for the current situation?
A. In the parliamentary system, a clear distinction between the ruling and the Opposition parties is a precondition for the healthy functioning of democratic set-up. But in Bharat, the principal Opposition party is in no way different from the ruling party with regard to thought process, state of functioning and norms of political conduct. Therefore, Parliament has ceased to be the voice of the voiceless.
For long we have seen that issues are not being raised in the interest of the country’s poor. To my mind this has pushed the nation to the brink of anarchy. In this regard the principal Opposition party is more responsible than the ruling party. Governments have the tendency to act against the common people and the Opposition should fight for the cause of the people, not for corporate entities. Unfortunately, this has not been happening.
Q. So, this is why you justify what Anna Hazare did or what Baba Ramdev is doing.
A. Yes. Anarchy is looming on the horizon. At many places in the country statelessness is being witnessed by the majority of the people. Watchmen are turning into thieves. People are the ultimate sufferers. Therefore, mass agitations, led by non-political groups, are taking place.
To my mind, the consolidation process has begun. Various groups having different ideologies are converging to act in favour of the people. They are there not only to bring about change in political power, but to bring about a systemic change. Prospects of systemic change are round the corner. Be it Mr Hazare, Ramdevji, or hundreds of other such credible personalities, they are the hope with regard to salvaging the democratic set-up in the country.
Q. You have portrayed corporate houses as being the source of evil in the country. But Baba Ramdev heads a mammoth corporate, and you support him.
A. So far as Ramdevji is concerned, yes, he heads an organisation, but he has the courage to speak against those who indulge in wrong practices. He has made public his organisation’s accounts, and has invited government agencies to look into them. My contention is not “straightforwardly” against corporates. They too contribute to the Indian state and society. But that needs to be equitable. For Ramdevji, I can say with confidence that personally he lives the life of a sanyasi.
Q. Is Baba Ramdev’s fast-unto-death programme against black money different from Mr Hazare’s campaign for an effective Lokpal Bill?
A. There is no difference. Both are complementary.
Q. You recently said that Baba Ramdev’s movement is more credible than the BJP. Why? You were associated with the BJP for long. Why do you think as an Opposition party the BJP has abdicated space to civil society activists on issues like corruption?
A. The BJP has been claiming that the Prime Minister is weak. I am watching the ruling and the Opposition parties. The principal Opposition party is prostrating to save its one government in the south — Karnataka. Is this not their helplessness?
I don’t think the Prime Minister is weak. He is neither weak nor helpless. But I am bewildered to see that he allowed the current mess to take place.
Q. Do you think the time has come for Baba Ramdev to formally launch his political party? He has expressed an intent in that direction…
A. Who knows who will reap the electoral dividend out of the current spate of movements. To talk about a political party at this juncture would be entirely premature. Such suggestions are coming just to derail the movement. Status quoists are trying every possible way to split the agitation.
Q. People say Baba Ramdev is a proxy of the RSS?
A. This is a political stance. They will say this to break the agitation. They will ask that there should not be any political agenda. They say Ramdevji, you are good, and they are ready to talk. But then they say, the RSS is seen around you. On this question, Ramdevji has always asked if the RSS is not part of the society. In this movement at least 90 per cent are those who have no connection with any organisation or ideology.
Q. Is the movement aimed at terrorising the government?
A. Unfortunately yes. It is tragic that the people have to take to these means. This itself erodes the sanctity of the government. What stopped the government from taking steps on these issues some three months back? Annaji and Ramdevji had been crying from rooftops on these issues for the last one year.