Thursday, November 17, 2011

Musings-World of Babas

Sri Sathya Sai Baba left for his heavenly abode a few months back leaving behind a vast fortune and equally vast chaos. Some astrologers (jyotishis) and some Tantriks also call themselves Baba. Likewise, Baba Ramdev was in news recently taking up government against corruption and his attempted antics on Ramlila ground, though his main forte is Yoga.

This ‘Baba’ is an interesting word. The moment ‘Baba’ is attached to one’s name, one’s stature increases. Try removing ‘Baba’ from Ramdev or for that matter from Sathya Sai and see the result. Both remain common entity.

Interestingly, the word ‘Baba’ has different meaning in different languages or more than one meaning in the same language in different contexts. Let us take Hindi first. Here ‘Baba’ is used for one devoted to God, like sadhu baba or Sathya Sai Baba etc. ‘Baba’ is also used for one who has renounced the world or worldly pleasures.

In Gujarati, ‘Baba’ means a small boy. Whatever a boy’s name be if you don’t know it, you can safely call him ‘Baba’. In fact, yours truly too was called ‘Baba’ till he was married. In Urdu, ‘Baba’ is related to Tantriks & Fakirs and the like. Baba Farid and Jumman Baba Tantrik are good examples. In the case of Bengali, ‘Baba’ means father.

Interestingly and uniquely, all these different meanings of ‘Baba’ justify in the case of Baba Ramdev. He is a Yoga guru, wears saffron, gives spiritual discourses and has massive following. But the most pronounced meaning in his case is ‘Baba’, a small boy. A child is mostly stubborn. When a boy (Baba) wants something, he wants something, period. He doesn’t want to understand that thing’s utility, affordability, availability etc. We, on our part, try to explain all these to the child and also offer alternative things. When nothing works we spank him and that always works, well mostly.

Same is the case of Baba Ramdev. Except for his “abolition of corruption”, rest of his demands are not feasible. For example, Ramdev wants nothing short of death sentence for the corrupt or total abolition of high denomination currency notes. In a country where a killer of several lives don’t get death sentence and even if he gets, is not hanged for years, how can a mere corrupt ( small crime relatively) be hanged. Our administration went out of its way to reason with him, cajole him but to no avail. The last resort is spanking and that will definitely work. I personally guarantee.