Ramdev: A political force for the good?

April 12, 2010

Amidst the hustle and bustle of a town dotted with temples and brightened up by saffron-clad “sadhus” or holy men, was a pandal with a thousand people waiting for Baba Ramdev’s daily yoga preaching.

Yoga guru Swami Ramdev speaks during a yoga camp in Haridwar April 8, 2010. REUTERS/Jitendra PrakashAt least 30 million were waiting to start their day with his discourse, through live telecast on an Indian spiritual channel.

Holy man Ramdev, known for popularising Yoga and traditional ayurvedic treatment and also for practising the ancient technique of breathing exercises called Pranayam has been beset by controversies for the last few years.

His recent decision to enter politics and “cleanse the system” has also created quite a furore.

Many political leaders have made their disapproval public including Lalu Prasad Yadav, leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal party calling his decision to join politics “berserk”.

Even though Ramdev has made it very clear he does not want to be an office holder or a Member of Parliament, he says he still aims at a 100 percent win in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Contesting elections from 543 Lok Sabha constituencies will be a part of his recent movement called ‘Bharat Swabhiman’ or Indian pride which aims to eradicate corruption and deal with other social issues like poverty and education.

The godman believes that corruption is the root cause of all problems and says if he is in power he will recall all the money in circulation which will then expose the black money and use that money for development.

Do you think Ramdev should enter politics and contest elections?

He also stresses upon the idea of nationalism and believes that there should be ‘Indianness’ in everything; in clothing, in language and in sentiment.

This ideology has led many to believe that he is no different from other right wing organisations or parties.

Claiming that he has a follower in almost every household, Ramdev says he has already earned the love and respect of people that a prime minister or president of a country gets.

Devotees at his yoga camp in Haridwar, a small but important holy city in north India, with an expression of awe admitted they will not only vote for him but also devote their entire life in his service.

After a three-hour discourse on yoga, herbal medicine, corruption and naxalism, the last I saw of Baba Ramdev was him being escorted back to his car guarded by armed security men.

Do you think Ramdev’s ideas and philosophies are a change from other political parties or groups? Should the ‘aam admi’ vote for him?

24 comments

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He has excellent track record of working for India , not like our Govts.

Posted by psudo | Report as abusive

I know there are no qualification requirements for our political ‘ so called leaders’. But still, I really wish to ask Baba Ramdev ( and many more like him) that what role does he think he can play best in Politics.. may be health minister or if govt so desires, for the vote bank attached to him Ministry of Yoga and Spirituality.

I feel that based on your craving to clean the system and revolutionize the society are not enough reasons for one to join politics. I am sure that while ‘aam aadmi’ will definitely vote for the Baba, but still his ideologies are not much different then that of other leaders. He is also being driven by self centric, individual interests and wants to cash upon trust that people have developed in him for his spiritual and Yogik skills.

Posted by viga | Report as abusive

We need more honest and fearless leaders like BABA RAMDEVJI. I back him completely. Those who are against this man have no understanding of the way India’s political system works or even the way the world works.
Before leaving a negative feedback we must also acknowledge BABA Ramdev for he is not doing this for his EGO and is not motivated by personal gain. He could definitely behave like other so called spiritual teachers and leave his INDEPTH understanding and collect huge SUMS of money for himself and no one would have pointed a finger at him.
He has done more than LALOO PRASAD or CHIDAMBARAM (our great educated economist) or OBAMA or any leader who is in POWER anywhere on this PLANET.
OBAMA receives a NOBLE prize just for talking about PEACE and what about CURING people from the third world? MILLIONS have been cured from serious illnesses by BABA RAMDEVJI’S pranayam. He teaches for free and does not charge any MONEY for this. If you ever attend YOGA classes anywhere you will know how EXPENSIVE they are and just a ploy to collect MONEY.

HATS OFF to BABA RAMDEV.

LOVE TO ALL

ROY

Posted by roy00 | Report as abusive

Swami Ramdev is our new Chanakya.

Posted by officialshaz | Report as abusive

Entry of Baba in politics will be a turning point in Indian polity,will defineitly revolutionised & fulfill the incomplete work of Gandhiji to complete the Indianization of India By Indians through Indian Way, which has not yet been done a bit by the current politicians particularily by Congress party.

Posted by Avantha | Report as abusive

If he enters politics, surely it will benefit us. Its our need that people with good intentions and crave to clean society should enter politics. I am quite hopeful, that he will build self confidence in people make people to hold-on on values. All these technology and materialistic development is of what use if each of us is in a process of transforming from human being to animal. I think he understood the true meaning of human development. whether it Ramdev Baba or someone else, who is going to hold the Mashal of cleaning society at this point of time, with such a confidence, people just can’t stay without supporting him.

Posted by nilbhat | Report as abusive

Baba is part of the problem and not the solution. His version of nationalism is nothing but Hindu nationalism. His economic ideas which includes expelling multinational companies are deeply flawed. And most of us know about his claims about curing HIV AIDS and the likes without providing scientific evidence.

Voting for him will be the same as voting for any other Indian politician.

http://indiafirsthand.com/2010/03/17/swa mi-ramdev-establishes-political-party-in -india/

Posted by IndiaFirstHand | Report as abusive

@IndiaFirstHand:
Is promoting Indian Languages over English, Hindu Nationalism ?? Is making the farmers and people aware of the advantages of Organic Farming and condemning use of pesticides, Hindu Nationalism ?? Is speaking against Terrorism, Hindu Nationalism ??

Boycott of MultiNational Companies will gives Indians a great chance to expand their businesses in world market. What is better – a foreign oil company using Indian Oil resources or ONGC(an Indian company) using those resources ?

Give me the link of one video where Swami Ramdev said that yoga can cure AIDS. All he said was “Yoga can alleviate sufferings of AIDS patients”.

Your statements are devoid of substantial data/facts. This is not the way you put forward your point in logical manner.

Yes, I don’t agree with some of his views. But most his views seem patriotic and the need of the hour.

Please put facts before creating prejudice against someone.

Posted by pakkaBharatiya | Report as abusive

Yeah, we need a different approach to politics based on Indian ethos and Baba Ramdev is welcome to infuse that change. In fact, our spiritual leaders are wrongly understood and accused while their contributions are always run down.

I have blogged on this at my site http://chapter18.wordpress.com/2010/04/1 7/pearls-and-the-pebbles/

Regards
Narayanan

Posted by nara | Report as abusive

@pakkabhartiya
It has been shown that organic farming is not better than normal farming and the natural controllers which are used in such type of farming are more harmful than the pesticides used in normal farming, since they contain E.Coli in heavy doses. The scientific consensus pretty much lines up against organic farming.

And not allowing multinational companies on Indian market is not going to boost our economy. It will do quite the opposite. No one wants a one-way trade. We have to face it no country in todays day and age is self sustainable. Feeding such a huge population and exporting home grown goods at the same time sounds good to our ears but not a reality. We have had Cuba trying to do that under Castro’s rule. Ramdev sounds a bit more like Germany in the early 1940′s.

Ramdev claims that the news channels distorted what he said about AIDS. Well that may be so. But at the most what we can say from his own words is that yoga is no better than a placebo. Moreover his claims of yoga curing cancer are putting it at its mildest, laughable. He never cites any article which would clearly show that yoga cures cancer. For that he is a dishonest person and I do not want such a person in any of the offices running the country.

This guy(Ramdev) thinks homosexuality is a disease and that yoga can cure it. How much more ignorant one can be?
I know most of the Indians cringe over the mere mention of homosexuality and homophobes like Ramdev take advantage of it.

We do need a different approach in Indian politics but Ramdev is not the answer. That said religion and politics have always gone hand in hand why should it be any different now?

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive

@vaibhav_p

Organic farming is much better than pesticide/chemical fertilizer driven farming. The pesticide/fertilizer companies are spreading dis-information and most so called scientific studies are sponsored by the same corporations and they give expected result. There is one district in Punjab where there is maximum use of fertilizer and pesticide and as a result maximum cases of cancer.

Nor allowing the MNC will spread the wealth to more people instead of making few rich. Do you know that in Indore about 5000 people got employment as juice vendor as whole city stopped Coca cola and started using only juices.

Labeling yoga as placebo is another attempt by Drug Cartel machinery to dis-credit yoga. My father escaped knee replacement surgery after doing Ramdev pranayama for 9 months, 2 hours a day. He visited kanpur and bombay and doctors just told to go foe knee replacement surgery. Now his cartilage is back and he’s fine. Why not yoy try it for 2-3 months regularly and see the proof yourself.

Looks like you have formed your opinion based on news and articles by media which is controlled. The truth is much deeper and even I found it only 1-2 years ago after almost collapse of my health. Thanks to Baba Ramdev pranayam and alkaline diet, I escaped.

It has been proven that cancel cell can not survive in aerobic (oxygen rich) environment. Alkaline diet and Pranayam gives extra oxygen to the body and cancer cells starts to die. Here are few links for you
http://ezinearticles.com/?Alkaline-Diet- and-Cancer:-Cancer-Cells-Cannot-Live-In- An-Alkaline-Environment&id=458737

http://www.vaclib.org/basic/health/pHand CancerAcidosisConnection.pdf

Homosexuality/gay marriage is hot topic here in California too and about 55% of Californian oppose it(I’m one of them) and they defeated the gay marriage by voting against it(search for prop 8, California). Majority of Californians think about it’s effect on society and are opposing it and people like you just support it just because it started in west.

I find it amusing that many Indian intellectuals blindly support everything that comes from west and oppose everything that originated in India :) Macaulay must be smiling in his grave.

Posted by DesiInFremont | Report as abusive

@vaibhav_p

It is obvious that no country today can survive one-way trade. I know that. But it is definitely beneficial for any country to have maximum exports and minimum imports. This is what any country should strive for but the current Indian government is striving for maximizing imports and minimizing exports. What a shame! And that is the point being made by Swami Ramdev. India should have minimum imports and maximum exports. Why should Indians be always seen as consumers and India as a market. Why can’t Indians generate markets for their own companies in foreign. In some fields, definitely, India can be the leading exporter in the world. Why should we have foreign goods even for those commodities which require minimal or no technology for their production. The message is simple. Don’t make Globalization your weakness. Make it your strength.

What evidence to you suggests that Yoga is merely placebo ? Have you tried it ? Why is it not digestible that Yoga can cure Cancer ? Ramdev says he has documented proof for his success. Even the previous Health Minister Ramadoss who sent a legal notice to Ramdev in 2006 regarding these controversial claims now supports him after his claims have been tested. Goolge it if you wish.

And about homosexuality, even in scientific community there are differences among peoples’ opinion. Some researchers believe that Homosexuality is due to hormonal imbalances(i.e. a hormonal disease), others say it’s a matter of one’s choice and still others believe it to be of genetic origin. Would you call these researchers “ignorant” as you called Swami Ramdev ? No one knows exactly the reasons for Homosexuality. But if the orientation of Homosexual people can be changed to a straight orientation through Yoga, then I think its better to eradicate Homosexual Orientation through Yoga. And we should support Swamiji in this.

Posted by pakkaBharatiya | Report as abusive

@DesilnFremont
A typical conspiracy peddler. The scientific community is not controlled by drug corporations. Individual scientists, to put at its worst, may be corrupt but the scientific scrutiny as a whole is not. And what you are saying about the district in punjab just sounds like a correlation/causation effect. For example just because some rice eating people have black hair does not mean rice causes black hair. A much higher sampling is required to come to any statistically significant conclusion.

I wonder what happened to the people working at the coca-cola company in that city. I guess ramdev will compensate for them giving them green-tea stalls outside railway stations next time it happens.

Oh here we go again with the subjective analysis. Someones father someones mother someones friend got better doing yoga so yoga must be good. Yoga is at its best a set of stretching exercises with no substantial effects over say running or swimming. Its NOT a miracle cure. If cancer was that easy to cure by just increasing the dose of oxygen intake in the body you would think we would have cured every type of cancer there is. Also the whole premise on which yoga is based is highly flawed.

You sound a bit condescending there. People like you deny other people basic human rights. Whoopti-do you succeeded in putting Californians on the world map as a bunch of human right denialists and taking carlifornia back into the dark ages. You should be ashamed rather than being proud of it. Just because you stay outside India you think Indians cant think for themselves. But its not east vs west or black vs white its phonies vs scientific scrutiny which has proved again and again that it works. Maybe you should live an Amish life..walk the talk!

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive

@DesilnFremont
That said US is also a big market for homeopathy and new age quackery. So no, Indians like me here do not take everything which comes from the west on its face value. But we are humble enough to accept that not everything which originates in India is better than the west and strident enough to oppose it. Rationality sees no border.

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive

@vaibhav_p

ABOUT YOGA
You say that just because someone’s father or mother or brother got cured does not prove that Yoga can cure diseases. Fair enough. But, what I don’t understand is what proof do you have to claim that yoga is placebo ? If you don’t have any proof to claim that Yoga is placebo then how can you claim that Yoga is placebo. Isn’t this Irrational on your part ? Since you don’t have evidence either for or against Yoga, being the rationalist you are, you must have no claims regarding the effectiveness of Yoga.
Let me tell you, I think I am a more rational thinker than you are. Neither have I done yoga nor do I claim that Yoga can cure Cancer. But considering that thousands of people attending Ramdev’s camps claim to have been cured (and Ramdev himself says that he has documented proof), it suggests that cure of Cancer through Yoga is a possibility. There is no Law of Physics/Science which is contradicted if we assume that Yoga can cure Cancer. You just cannot out-rightly reject it.

ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
(This is a repetition from my previous reply, do answer this) And about homosexuality, even in scientific community there are differences among peoples’ opinion. Some researchers believe that Homosexuality is due to hormonal imbalances(i.e. a hormonal disease), others say it’s a matter of one’s choice and still others believe it to be of genetic origin. Would you call these researchers “ignorant” as you called Swami Ramdev ? No one knows exactly the reasons for Homosexuality. But if the orientation of Homosexual people can be changed to a straight orientation through Yoga, then I think its better to eradicate Homosexual Orientation through Yoga. And we should support Swamiji in this.

ABOUT PEPSI/COLA
How fair do you think is risking the life of crores of Indians just for the employment of a few thousand ? Why do you expect Ramdev to open green-tea stalls outside railway stations for these unemployed (though he has done such humanitarian work on numerous occasions). It’s the job of the government to provide alternative employment for them. Goverment should look after its people.

ABOUT ORGANIC FARMING
Everything has pros and cons. Nothing is perfect and its our job to select the best that is possible. Same goes with Organic and Inorganic Farming. I have to do some research over it before I claim something and consider in its light what you claim. Anyways, the RnD department of any Chemical firm in the world can claim that Organic farming is harmful and publicize this as a fact through newspapers etc creating rumours, so what DesiInFremont says is a possibility. Watch this video to see how Mineral water firms exploit the world by creating Artificial Demand. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSO M0&feature=player_embedded
Defaming Organic farming can be a marketing ploy by these chemical firms.

Posted by pakkaBharatiya | Report as abusive

@vaibhav_p

Sorry, if sounded condescending in the previous post. But from your posts I felt that you out-rightly reject anything claimed by Swami Ramdev or traditional Indians. Just as you need considerable research before accepting some idea as fact you also need considerable research before rejecting someone’s claim. You simply cannot reject it without proof. Even the church out-rightly rejected the ideas of Galileo and Newton in the middle ages, but today we know that they were correct. Anyways I take these words back “I think I am more rational than you are”.

Posted by pakkaBharatiya | Report as abusive

@pakkabhartiya
I only said that yoga acts like a placebo in a particular context where you mentioned that ramdev claims he never said yoga can cure AIDS but just alleviate the suffering of AIDS patients. And he says this without giving any evidence whatsoever other than the subjective claims of his followers. Point me to any study in which yoga has been subjected to double blind tests and has shown any significant effects over the control for any disease. And the onus is on you to provide the evidence for your claims of yoga not the person who is denying it.

By the way bharat swabhiman’s motto is 100% swadeshi. Its their way or the highway. A perfect recipe for disaster. Also India is a big market for customer-care based services. Get rid of them too? Yes it sometimes seems that India is a dumping ground for overseas companies but thts not what it is in reality. We are not just talking about food products but also petroleum products, IT industry and to some extent ammunition. I am not discouraging Indian companies but in the long run collaborations are more fruitful than competitions and strong nationalistic propogandas spread by people like ramdev are detrimental to the cause. You want to see India prosper, support more collaborations of Indian companies with foreign companies.

Some people are born homosexuals as others are born heterosexuals. Hormones do play an important role in determining sexual orientation as they play an important role in determining sex of a person. But calling that hormonal imbalance or disease is misleading. It has also been shown that homosexuality can be found in many species across the planet and hence has a genetic basis too. Homosexuals are people just like any other heterosexual you may see on the streets. Indians have to grow up and change their attitude towards the gay and lesbian community. I appreciate Delhi high courts decision on article 377 with respect to gays and lesbians. Ramdev is a homophobe and shame on people like you for blindly following him.

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive

@vaibhav_P

When the truth is 180 degree opposite to your thinking it will sound as conspiracy to you, that’s normal. I’m not talking about whole scientific community, only about the part which deals with health, is controlled by Drug/food cartel. Read this article and you’ll see that how food/health has been hijacked.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazi ne/28nutritionism.t.html?_r=3

Now read this article. The vitamins in pill form are just waste of money. Just take it in natural form.
http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/are-vit amins-really-that-good-for-you-/article4 6647.html

may be you’ll consider this too a conspiracy.

Being scientific doesn’t mean you close you mind to everything that’s ancient knowledge. In fact you should open your mind to every possibility and analyze and experiment yourself. I also belong to scientific community as I’m an IITian working in high tech field in Silicon Valley for more than decade.

Nothing happened to people selling coca-cola as that was just another item at the shop selling tea etc. By stopping it thousands of juice vendor got employment. Coke is harmful to health anyway.

I’ve not seen anyone else outrightly rejecting Yoga like you. Even doctors appreciate yoga’s health benefit although they have doubts about it’s disease curing aspect.

Why depend on some study or research paper. Why not try this for 3 months yourself and see the results. You’ll feel 10-15 years younger(depends on your age) after this.
- Switch to alkaline food(mostly vegetables). Search for acid alkaline food chart.
-Do Yoga(15 minutes) and pranayam(45 minutes)
-Drink 1 liter of water just after getting up and 3 liter during the day.

I’ve been doing this and here are the benefits
- lost 20 pounds in 2-3 months
- all joints pain is gone.
- lipid profile is normal(no more cholesterol)
- don’t need reading glasses
- All acidity and constipation is gone
- feel very energetic.

And I don’t have to take any medicine now like vytorin and prevacid costing about $2/day. After seeing my health changes many of my friends have tried the same with same result.

Ok so you support gay marriage. Now imagine if every one is gay or lesbian, what will happen to the human race. It’ll disappear. So something if followed 100%(although hypothetical), can eliminate human race, how can this be good? Think scientifically, just extrapolate this trend and imagine the consequence as it approaches 100%. Don’t say this will not happen, we are just doing scientific analysis here.

I’m not opposing what homos do in their homes, but when they impose their unreleasable demands, I’m opposed to that.

You talk about basic human rights but ignore 80 crore Indians who are suffering the worst kind of suffering i.e. poverty. That’s more important issue than gay marriage and when Baba Ramdev is working for such people, you are opposing him.

What have you done for such people? now compare that with what Baba ramdev has done.

Posted by DesiInFremont | Report as abusive

Swami Ramdev accepts IMA challenge to cure Cancer patients
http://solutionastrology.com/numerologyd etails.asp?numerologyid=210

Posted by pakkaBharatiya | Report as abusive

@DesiInFremont
(Missed the last bit)
I dont know if ramdev has done anything to eradicate poverty in India. Even if he has, well so what?. That does not validate his claims in any way. It should be clear by now that I am opposing his claims.
That said, based on the track record of all the gurus in India or abroad I personally don’t think any of them does it for the pure love of mankind. They seem to be more interested in worldly pleasures while teaching their flocks to stay away from it. The greatest tool to eradicate poverty is education and the best form of education is in which people are taught to think critically. That is what is missing in India. And with the influence of frauds like ramdev on the so called educated class, I see an uphill task.

END

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive

@vaibhav_p

Ok so you oppose his claims. Testing his his yoga and pranayama yourself would have been best but here is one more of his claim that yoga and pranayam substantially slows down aging. Do you know his age is 57 and how old he looks to you? I’ve not seen any doctor or anyone else of 57 years who looks as young as him. By calling him fraud, whose credibility are you reducing? your’s or his? Baba Ramdev’s credibility is going up everyday. I’m not sure about your’s.

Posted by DesiInFremont | Report as abusive

I have discussed how Baba Ramdevji’s technique could be duplicated in creating a mass of primary school teachers in my blog http://chapter18.wordpress.com/2010/04/2 4/educationbop-in/

Regards
Narayanan

Posted by nara | Report as abusive

@DesilnFremont
Ok now yoga helps in anti-aging, so much so that a 57 year old guy who can’t keep his left eye from not blinking,is benefited by yoga that his hair is black at that age. Wow…hey guess what!That may be a testable claim (although he himself doesn’t make the claim), just keep him away from any kind of hair-dyes available in the market for a week.
And if you want to talk about credibility, I am not the one making the claim, that old fraud is. So check his credibility first instead of blindly following him.

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive

@Narayan
I am not sure what was the point of your article. It was rather well written till I came to the last paragraph where presumably lies the heart of the matter. What I fail to understand is that how would a set of stretching exercises transform primary education even if it has the capacity to spread almost like a virus. Wouldn’t the knowledge of basic critical thinking imparted to the students at that early age by their teachers, be more effective? And to be clear India produces 3 times as much scientists than US per year. So critical thinking is not associated to western ideology. It is the best system we have till now to gain knowledge and understanding about the world around us. It would be good if Indian academicians stop supporting frauds and shaman if they really want to popularize science.

Posted by vaibhav_p | Report as abusive