Mukul Kesavan in The Times of India:
The calling card of India Against Corruption (IAC) has been indignant virtue. Its virtue derives from its leadership’s record of public service, its indignation is directed at the corruption in India’s public life. The appeal and drawing power of virtuous indignation lies in the brazen dishonesty of the political establishment and the middle class’s gift for seeing itself as the blameless victim of a parasitic state.
Arvind Kejriwal, the strategist of the Anna Hazare movement, displayed an early appreciation of television as a means of magnifying virtue. In the early days, before the first Jantar Mantar fast made Anna a household name, he drew Baba Ramdev into the movement because of the drawing power of Ramdev’s television persona. At the time he was uncertain whether Anna’s charisma as a provincial activist would scale up to fill a national stage.
After the landmark Ramlila Ground fast which delivered the remarkable spectacle of India’s imperious political class waiting upon a fasting septuagenarian’s every move, Anna’s success in creating a civil society juggernaut seemed complete. Parliament promised a Lokpal law based on the Jan Lokpal Bill and Anna’s moral authority as a Gandhian fasting his way to martyrdom or political victory briefly eclipsed Parliament’s standing as the republic’s elected legislature. More:
A for Anna, B for Baba, C for Camera
Bishwanath Ghosh in The Hindu:
Do we even realise how little we work our minds these days when it comes to analysing events around us? We feed on the frenzy whipped up by news channels; and, when caught in a verbal duel between distinguished panellists with colliding views, we are so confused that we end up adopting the voice and the demeanour of the excited news anchor. Since TV news is 24/7, you are never ever given a chance to let your own thoughts precipitate: the animated anchor is always breathing down your neck, telling you what to think.
Amid such cacophony, listening to a yoga guru can be a pleasant distraction. I gave up watching TV news long ago, ever since the channels discovered the art of breaking news, but I always loved watching the telecast of Baba Ramdev’s yoga camps, even though he would keep demonstrating the same set of postures and breathing exercises day after day, month after month.
Here was a man — a hitherto unheard-of swami in a country that boasts of larger-than-life gurus — who got the entire country practising pranayama. Even on trains and in public parks you could see people sitting upright and either exhaling forcefully or breathing through alternate nostrils. The talkative swami had brought about a yoga revolution, something that serious, larger-than-life gurus could not succeed in doing in their own country even though they are worshipped in the West. All this thanks to TV. More: