Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev

Who is Baba Ramdev?

Swami Ramdev, popularly known as Baba Ramdev was born in 1965 in Alipur in the Mahendragarh district in the Indian state of Haryana. Ramdev is an Indian, Hindu swami and is particularly well known for his efforts to popularize yoga [1]. His yoga camps see a large attendance of his followers. The Baba is also one of the founders of the “Divya Yoga Mandir Trust” that aims at promoting yoga among the masses. His famous work is the foundation of the Patanjali Group and Divya Yoga Mandir. He has shown interest in political issues and has influence on Indian politics [2] [3]

Baba Radev
Baba Ramdev

Ramdev Early Life and Education:

He claims he became paralyzed when he was two & half and was later cured by practicing Yoga. Baba Ramdev studied Indian scripture, Yoga and Sanskrit in various Gurukuls (Religious Schools in Sanskrit). He was the student of Acharya Baldevji in Gurukul Kalwa. Ramdev took sanyasi diksha (Renunciation) and adopted the name Swami Ramdev from Swami ShankarDev Ji. [4] While living in Kalwa Gurukul in Jind district, Haryana, Ramdev offered free yoga training to villagers. [5] Then he moved to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, where he practiced self-discipline and meditation, and spent several years studying ancient Indian scriptures at Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya (University).

Ramdev and his Institutions and Trusts:

Divya Yoga Mandir

Ramdev founded the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust in 1995. In 2003, Aastha TV began featuring him in its morning yoga slot. There he proved to be telegenic and gained a large following. A large number of people, celebrities from India & abroad attended his Yoga camps. [6] He taught yoga to many celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shilpa Shettyand in foreign countries including Britain, the US & Japan. [7] He also addressed Muslim clerics at their seminary in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh. In 2006, he was invited by Kofi Annan to deliver a lecture on poverty alleviation at a United Nations conference.

Patanjali Yogpeeth

Patanjali Yogpeeth is an institute founded for the promotion and practice of Yoga and Ayurveda. It has two Indian campuses, Patanjali Yogpeeth I and Patanjali Yogpeeth II in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. And part from India other locations include UK, US, Nepal, Canada and Mauritius [8].

Ramdev established the Patanjali Yogpeeth (UK) Trust in 2006, with the aim of promoting yoga in the UK. To extend Patanjali Yogpeeth, he also acquired the Scottish island of Little Cumbrae [9].

Patanjali Ayurved

Patanjali Ayurveda is a consumer packaged goods company, based in Haridwar, that was started by Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna in 2006. According to a company official, sales in early March 2016 were ₹45 billion (US$700 million) with monthly sales of ₹5 billion (US$78 million)–₹5.5 billion (US$86 million). According to a report by India Infoline (IIFL), at least 13 listed companies would be affected by Patanjali’s success including Colgate, Dabur, ITC and Godrej Consumer [10].

patenjali Yogpeeth
Patanjali Yogpeeth

Baba Ramdev’s political alliance:

Bharat Swabhiman Trust

In 2010, Ramdev announced plans to form a political party called Bharat Swabhiman (India Pride). He said that it would contest every seat in the next national elections [11]. A year later, he stated that, instead of forming a political party, he would influence politics by encouraging a groundswell of popular reaction. In 2014, Ramdev announced that Bharat Swabhiman intended to contest some constituencies in the general election of that year and to form alliances with some other parties. It was at this time that he voiced his support for Narendra Modi to become the next Prime Minister of India [12].

Ramdev founded an organization called the Bharat Swabhiman Trust in 2009, in part, to support his political activities. The financial arrangements of this and his two other trusts, the Divya Yog and Patanjali Yogpeeth, came under ECI scrutiny during the 2014 elections because of a complaint that they were being used to fund the campaigns of some political parties [13].

Campaigns against Government Corruption:

In April 2011, Ramdev called on the government to add punitive powers to the Jan Lokpal Bill, a bill to appoint an independent body that would investigate alleged government corruption. Ramdev announced he would go on an anshan (hunger-strike) at Ramilla Ground in Delhi, on 4 June 2011, to pressure the government into rooting out corruption and repatriating black money [14]

Ambedkar Stadium Fast

On 10 August 2012, Ramdev launched another indefinite protest against the government’s failure to take action against corruption and to bring back black money. He announced that his future strategy depended upon the governmental response to his protest [15] Ramdev ended the fast at Delhi’s Ambedkar stadium on 14 August 2012, and said he was returning to Haridwar. Seeking the defeat of the Congress Party in 2014, he said, “Congress hatao, desh bachao” (Remove Congress, save the country), adding that except for the Congress Party, all parties were together on the issue of black money [16].

Controversies and Criticism:

Views on Homosexuality

According to Newsweek magazine, Ramdev “detests gays”. In July 2009, when the Delhi High Court gave a verdict on decriminalising homosexuality in Delhi, Ramdev said, “This verdict of the court will encourage criminality and sick mentality. This is breaking the family system in India. Homosexuality is not natural and can be treated [17].

Views on AIDS and Sex Education

In December 2006, Ramdev claimed to improve the condition of patients suffering with AIDS through yoga and Ayurvedic drugs sold by his Divya Yoga Mandir Trust. He also suggested that sex education should be replaced by yoga education, as a means of AIDS prevention. He told reporters that “Sex education in schools needs to be replaced by yoga education” [18]

 

References:

  1. Baba Ramdev Biography
  2. Lydia Polgreen (18 April 2011), “Indian Who Built Yoga Empire Works on Politics”, New York Times, retrieved 15 February 2017
  3. “Holy noodles”, The Economist, 10 March 2016
  4. “Who is Baba Ramdev?”. NDTV. 15 November 2011.
  5. “Baba Ramdev Offered Free Yoga Training in Kalva gurukul”. deshvidesh.com. 1 September 2006.
  6. “What makes Baba Ramdev so influential?”. IBN Live. 2 June 2011.
  7. “Yoga heals Bollywood”. The Times of India. 28 January 2008.
  8. “Patanjali Yogpeeth-I & Patanjali Yogpeeth-II”. wikimapia.org.
  9. “Meet Baba Ramdev, the swami who owns a Scottish Island – 4”. news.in.msn.com. Archived from the original on 26 March 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2011
  10. “Patanjali on track to hit $1 billion sales in FY17”, The Economic Times, 16 March 2016
  11. “Baba Ramdev launches political party named ‘Bharat Swabhiman'”. dnaindia. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2017
  12. “Baba Ramdev won’t launch political party”. The Times of India. 21 April 2011.
  13. “Bank accounts of Baba Ramdev trusts under EC scrutiny”. The Hindu. PTI. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014
  14. Ramdev to launch people’s movement to root out corruption”. The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 April 2011
  15. Ali, Mohammad (8 October 2012). “Ramdev sets 72-hour ultimatum”. The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  16. “PM should become a baba like us, says Baba Ramdev”. indiatoday.in. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2017
  17. Guha, Ramachandra (20 June 2011). “When the Saints Go Marching In: As corruption runs amok in India, a colorful cast of activists takes on the politicians.”. Newsweek. 157 (25).
  18. “Yoga effect on AIDS? Swami Ramdev has ‘proof'”. moneycontrol.com. 2 January 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2017