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Running on blind faith

delhi Updated: Jun 04, 2011 23:19 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
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“Swamiji (Ramdev) has highly evolved thinking. He has given ample thought to how corruption can end. I cannot match that but I follow him,” said Usha Kumari, 63, from Meerut. She joined the yoga guru in his fast-unto-death at the Ramlila ground on Saturday.

However, the housewife-turned-yoga teacher is not sure as to how the fast will end corruption or bring back the ill-gotten money stashed away overseas, one of Ramdev’s demands.

Ganesh Shaw, 22, a hawker from Burdwan district (West Bengal), said: “My brother has not got a job despite a master’s degree because of corruption. Babaji has shown us a way … I am confident something will happen with this fast.” But what “something” he could not tell.

It was a crowd of various hues: housewives from a Rajasthan village, who have not studied beyond Class 8; Bermuda-clad bandana-wearing college students from Hissar in Haryana, and a book-shop owner from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, all of whom joined the agitation blindly following their guru.

Earlier, after an early morning yoga session, Ramdev resumed his fast-unto-death and kept the gathering busy with his trademark speech. Prominent among those who also spoke were leaders of various religious groups, including Sadhvi Ritambhara, named in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Ending the marathon session at about 2.45pm, Ramdev announced a break. When he surfaced again in the evening. Bhojpuri film star Manoj Tiwari joined him on stage and sang a song.

By late evening, when the government gave a letter signed by Ramdev’s office-bearer about ending the fast, the yoga guru vehemently defended it and said it would continue till the government came up with a written commitment on his three main demands. The mood of the crowd was unchanged.