Joining me on this debate tonight.. I have ofcourse Law Mininister Salman Khurshid, He is ofcourse an MP from Uttar Pradesh as well.. I am also joined by Malika Sarabhai a well known artist and activist from Ahmedabad With me in studio is Madhu Kishwar editor of Manushi.. and also professor at CSDS.. And Rahul Easwar.. Er..Mr.Khurshid.. Sri Sri Ravishankar in his press conference says that the congress is scared.. of his yatra.. What do you feel? You feel that this something that.. Are spiritual leaders.. stepping dangerously close into the political arena.. Are the lines blurring? Is that a good thing? Well.. its..er.. how they feel if we started getting into spirituality.. Er..i think that.. each of of us have.. have our area of expertise and our area of.. of operation.. And an area of accountability.. and..er.. And i would imagine that.. er..some of these things should be best left to politicians and people in public life.. But of course this is a Democracy and nobody can be prohibited or restricted or.. or confined to any area.. they want to participate in public discourse in which ever manner they wish to do so.. Yatra is becoming very popular.. so.. I can only wish him best and.. and I hope that he succeds in his objective.. because thats an objective that we don’t disagree with.. The objective is that.. we must have.. good governance in this country.. and no corruption.. Bring in Rahul Easwar at that point.. power can always be heady.. When Baba Ramdev came in.. or tried to enter the political arena.. we saw the whole weight that came of the government establishment against him raising question of where his money, etc is coming from.. Do you think these tactics actually are used to discourage spiritual leaders? Do you think spiritual.. or do you think spiritual leaders should actually stay away from whats seen as a dirty game of politics.. Even thou it is not advisable for religious leaders to directly interfere or endorse party A or B.. but spiritual leaders should not shy away from taking responsibility in social, cultural and political spheres.. Spiritual leaders should actively interfere, intervene in uplifting social and political arenas.. One example you missed out in NDTV or the example of the Father of our nation who was as much as a spiritual leader.. as much as a political leader he was.. So they should be involved in uplifting.. Because India is a secular as well as spiritually rich cultural nation.. So the pulse of the nation is spirituality and they should not shy away.. Am not saying all saffron clad Babas are good.. There are many people.. Even in the time of Ravana.. he wore a saffron robe and kidnapped Sita.. to.. even nowadays where swamis are more interested in reality TV than the reality of Indian situation.. There are many fake and pseudo coins.. We should understand.. Always remember.. it is not a question of Godmen.. It is a question of good men Vs bad men.. Its a question of baba Vs black sheep.. So we should chose good men.. who can inspire people.. who can.. involve in socio cultural and political arena.. And we should never forget.. one of the first Indian freedom struggles is the sanyasi rebellion.. Where hindu sanyasis, fakirs have all joined hand against the foreign rule.. So spiritual leaders should actively involve in social process.. More important to me Sonia.. the biggest challenge is that our religious establishment had allowed politicians.. To take over.. all the space.. For example.. politicians in every state are presiding over.. the major religious devastanams.. Whether it is CPM in Kerala, or its congress party.. coming to power in.. you know west Bengal.. whatever.. Each one of these parties have.. true laws.. dating back to the British and then ofcourse amending it.. taken over religious establishments and their managements.. so bureaucrats and politicians taking over and managing our religious institutions is far more dangerous than an anti corrupt movement being led be an assortment of.. er..spiritual gurus.. And considering that the mass space that Sri Sri Ravishankar or the yoga guru Ramdev has.. They are not like Swami Narendra Brahmachari.. no politician in this country.. can get together 3 4 or 5 lakh people without.. spending crores of rupee.. And drugs to.. get them..
And drugs too.. There is an interesting point.. Actually the transition on the spiritual gurus we showed in the earlier days.. Indira Gandhi years and Narasimha Rao years.. it was an almost parallel or as you said.. er.. have more of a mass space than the politicians.. And an independent financial base.. But..but.. I just want to bring in Rahul Easwar on that point.. Sonia ji, like you earlier said.. this..this is an artificial divide.. social and spiritual.. they are not contradictory.. they are complimentary.. materialism and spiritualism are not contradictory.. they are complimentary.. It is a holistic approach towards life, nation building.. For example, our father of the nation.. Mahatma Gandhi to Anna Hazare was inspired by Swami Vivekananda.. They said their love for the nation has increased many thousand folds because of Vivekananda.. You know.. both you and er.. Rahul Easwar mentioned Digvijay Singh and have kind of said you know.. he makes..er.. these remarks.. bizzare remarks.. so the point is Digvijay Singh seems to have a clear.. political aim in mind.. I think his aim is to destroy the congress party.. no but.. because everytime he opens his mouth.. he is really damaging his party.. and I’m saying contrast it with Salman Khurshid.. er.. and Mr.Digvijay Singh seems to be labouring under the illusion.. the moment he says X Y Z is BJP inspired, hes damned it all.. and hes said it all.. er..RSS..BJP..RSS.. It doesn’t work.. Today the entire country.. is deeply agitated over corruption.. including those who may not agree.. with the formula that the team Anna has proposed.. And I think they would have all stayed together but for the fact that Mr. Arvind Kejeriwal.. sidelines them one by one.. one by one.. where otherwise the main stay on the anti corruption movement.. er..which later on came to be known as team Anna’s movement.. was Sri Sri Raviishankar and Baba Ramdev.. If the BJP and RSS took anti corruption movement seriously, I’d rather they engage in these.. serious life and death issues.. So for me RSS moving away from all those divisive issues.. into this.. would be.. honestly a happy sign.. Always remember.. by using the word politics.. the word politics is not bad.. it is very sad to say that the word politics is bad.. politics is nation building.. serving the nation.. But.. but i agree..i agree.. i don’t disagree with Madhu Kishwar.. I agree with that point.. They should not go down to by partition politics or party politics.. I agree with that.. But we should always remember.. these people should be allowed to critize or comment or give feedback to the society.. because they are well connected to the ground.. And if politics can be spiritualised.. what Gandhiji calls politics with principles.. that will be ideal.. and I should.. I seriously believe.. I am.. I really like many people in congress.. we respect people like Pranab Mukherjee or Salman Khurshid.. but for Sri Digvijay Singh to say.. with contempt and irreverence to Anna Hazare, Sri Sri Ravishankar..and call Osama..Osamaji.. it is nothing but double standard.. So we should not take Digvijay serious.. we should.. i think even congress should take a holistic view of the situation.. and help spiritualize politics and purify politics..