June 8, 2011
Jyeshth Shukla Saptami , Kaliyug Varsha 5113
Houston’s Hindu leaders are continuing to stand in solidarity with a famous yoga guru, even after Swami Baba Ramdev and his supporters in New Delhi were removed by police when he began his fast against government corruption in India Saturday.
Dozens of fasters at the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston watched a press conference from Ramdev and discussed how the injustice done against him should further inspire them to fight corruption in their home country.
“As a Hindu American with no real connection other than the dharmic or cultural connection with Bharat (Mother India), we have to support the movement to have a corruption free Bharat,” said Amit Misra, a Houston attorney. “Here in the USA we live a corruption-free life. In Bharat, you could not. It is shameful. To live a honest, middle class life, you are better off in the US than in Bharat. It is shameful.”
The Hindu American Federation has also drawn attention to the incident with Ramdev– and 50,000 followers–as a human rights issue.
“The gratuitous, middle-of-the-night attack on Baba Ramdev and tens of thousands of peaceful supporters was revolting to witness, and clearly an attempt to detract attention from the sitting government’s unwillingness to curb corruption within its ranks,” said Jay Kansara, an assistant director for the HAF. Reports say about 40 of Ramdev’s supporters were hurt in the police actions over the weekend.
India has not ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption like 140 countries have and is being accused of hiding “black money” in foreign banks.
Ramdev, who has visited Houston to lead yoga retreats and work with M.D. Anderson on yoga as a possible treatment for cancer, has an international following numbering in the millions thanks to his popular television program.
His latest fast has drawn comparisons to Mahtama Gandhi, whose nonviolent protests contributed to India’s struggle for independence.