|Born||Ram Krishna Yadav
Ali Saiyad Pur (Alipur), Mahendragarh, Haryana, India
Baba Ramdev pronunciation (help·info) (born as Ramkrishna Yadav in Haryana) is a spiritual leader known for his contributions in yoga, ayurved, politics and agriculture. He is best known for popularising yoga among health conscious Indians through his mass yoga camps and TV shows. He has been the inspiration and guide for the Patanjali group of institutions (including some firms). Ramdev has more recently become a vocal advocate on Indian political issues.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Beginning of public life
- 3 Patanjali Yogpeeth and Research on Yoga
- 4 Political and social campaigns
- 4.1 Protests against black money
- 4.2 Anti-corruption rally on 27 February 2011 at Ramlila Maidan
- 4.3 Bhrashtachar Mitao Satyagrah 4 June 2011 at Ramlila Maidan
- 4.4 Ambedkar stadium fast
- 5 Controversies and Criticism
- 6 Awards and recognitions
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Baba Ramdev was born as Ramkrishna Yadav to Ram Nivas Yadav and Gulabo Devi in the Alipur village of Mahendragarh district in Haryana state of India. He had a formal education until 8th standard in school. He then studied Indian scripture, Yoga and Sanskrit in various gurukuls. He became a sanyasi & eventually came to be called with his popular name "Baba Ramdev". While living in Kalva Gurukul of Jind district in Haryana, he offered free yoga training to villagers for some time. Then he moved to Haridwar, Uttarakhand and spent several years studying ancient Indian scriptures at Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya. This included a rare book of Aurobindo Ghosh, Yogik Sadhan, translated from Bengali into Hindi by Ram Prasad Bismil. After reading this small booklet योगिक साधन he went to the caves of Himalaya and practised intense self-discipline and meditation.
Beginning of public life
Ramdev was born in 1965. He entered prominence when he started the Divya Yog Mandir Trust with the company of Acharya Nitin Soni. In 2003, Aastha TV began featuring him in its morning yoga slot. Within a few years, he had gathered a huge following. The New York Times called him "an Indian, who built Yoga Empire, a product and symbol of the New India, a yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, irrepressible and bursting with Vedic wisdom."
A large number of people and many celebrities in India and abroad have attended his yoga camps. He has taught yoga to many actors including Amitabh Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty. He has also taught yoga in the British Parliament, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center affiliated to the University of Texas and at the seminary of Muslim clerics at Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, becoming the first ever non-Muslim to publicly address the deobandi Muslim clerics.
Apart from making Yoga a household word in India, he has also taught Yoga in Britain, USA and Japan among other countries. Soon after getting popular outside India, he was invited by Kofi Annan in 2006 to deliver a lecture on poverty alleviation in a United Nations conference.
Patanjali Yogpeeth and Research on Yoga
Patanjali YogPeeth has acquired a Scottish island for about £2 million which was donated by Mr. Sam and Mrs. Sunita Poddar, originally from India and living in Scotland for 25 years, who have been running the UK branch of the Patanjali Yoga Peeth Trust. The Little Cumbrae Island, off the fishing town of Largs in Scotland, will also serve as the Patanjali Yog Peeth's base overseas, where yoga will be taught. This project will be run by Patanjali Yogpeeth (UK) Trust. They have plans to set up a wellness retreat there.
In September 2012, Harvard University came forward to introduce yoga and Ayurveda courses in their curriculum in collaboration with Ramdev and his aide Acharya Balkrishna in the wake of dreadful diseases being cured by Ramdev's pranayama and his Ayurvedic medicines.
Ramdev has clarified that he has no political ambitions and is not interested in starting a political party, but feels it's his obligatory duty to reform social and political ambiguities apart from popularising yoga and thus strengthen the country.
Protests against black money
Many countries like USA, Germany and other smaller African countries have attempted to adopt certain steps to recover their black money yet at the same time they have retained their own havens, for example, the USA has Delaware, the UK has the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, France has Monaco. However in India the government calls Ramdev's idea as impractical as many of Indias largest corporations trade in Switzerland and much needed investment into India from overseas funds is routed through Mauritius. The practicality of such steps has been called into question.
He has raised the issue of Indian money stashed away illegally in Swiss banks, which is estimated to be anywhere between 1 and 1.5 trillion USD. He says that the government must take immediate action and bring back the money as it belongs to the people of India. Not only this, he openly charges that this black money has been taken out of the country illegally and also very strongly demands a capital punishment to all those Indians or non-resident Indians, who acquire, handle and stash black money.
He suggests that the Mauritius route is a tax haven for black money operators in India and this route should be cut effectively by the Indian government but ignores the fact that all UK and US funds use Mauritius to invest in the Indian stock-market and in India. He had also demanded (as early as September 2009) the removal of currency of denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, saying that this would curb corruption, black money and terrorism.
Anti-corruption rally on 27 February 2011 at Ramlila Maidan
On 27 February 2011 Baba Ramdev held a large rally of over 100,000 people at the Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi to protest against corruption. Those present at the rally included Baba Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna, Ram Jethmalani, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Swami Agnivesh and many others. All members spoke and explained how corruption was rampant in the country and how the government itself was indulging in it. The most highlighted topic was Indian black money lying in tax havens. A striking feature of this rally was that all the major media houses boycotted it.
Bhrashtachar Mitao Satyagrah 4 June 2011 at Ramlila Maidan
- Declare all illegal wealth/black money lying in foreign countries, which belong to Indians as National Property.
- Declaring money laundering as a National Crime and should be punishable.
- Investigate and shut down the Mauritius route of foreign investment.
- Sign and ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, pending since 2006
- Recall Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes to curb corruption, bribery and illegal flow of money in the internal economy of the country.
- Enact a strong Lokpal bill.
- Establish infrastructure to deliver medical and engineering education in Indian Languages.
- Enact Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act to enable all citizens to avail government/public services easily and quickly
- Enact the Kisan Vetan Ayog to establish standards for payment of wages to farmers and classify farming as skilled labour.
Protest at Delhi
Baba Ramdev declared to go on an Anshan (indefinite fast) on 4 June 2011, at Ramlila Ground Delhi to pressure the Central Government to root out corruption from India and bring back the black money stashed away in various financial institutions abroad. After this declaration the government was said to have set up a panel to suggest steps to curb black money and its transfer abroad, in an apparent bid to placate Ramdev.
When Ramdev arrived at Delhi airport on 1 June, four senior ministers of the UPA government met him on the airport and tried to persuade him by telling of the government's initiative on corruption. On 4 June morning 65,000 followers of the yoga teacher had gathered at Ramlila Ground By noon queues extending up to 3 km from the entry point of Ramlila Grounds and were seen chanting 'Vande Mataram'. In the evening a press conference was organised by Kapil Sibbal made public a letter from Ramdev's camp to call off their agitation. Ramdev took it as a betrayal of the Government and hardened the position by declaring not to take back his Satyagrah until a proper government ordinance is announced in place of forming a committee.
Satyagrah was going on even in the night of 4 June 2011. Sources informed Baba Ramdev that a huge police force can try to clear Ramlila Ground and if it is not done they can also kill him in a fake encounter or set fire in the tents. At midnight, a huge team of 10,000 officers of the Delhi Police and RAF raided the ground when most of the Satyagrahis were sleeping on the and Ramdev was also sleeping on the dias along with his core group. A large police force lobbed tear gas shells and lathicharged to evict the crowd from 1a.m. to 4 a.m. The tent was set on fire at many places. Cold water was thrown over power generators to create complete darkness to prevent any video recording of the whole attack. However most media persons recorded what was going on.
Police had arranged buses to drop supporters at railway stations and bus stands in advance; had ammunition ready and all the policemen were in battle-gear wearing vests and helmets and kept some ambulances on standby. Ramdev was arrested while attempting to disguise himself in women's clothing.
Delhi Police forcefully detained Ramdev at Safdargunj Airport in complete isolation for a few hours and then deported him to his Ashram in Haridwar via helicopter. Police fired tear gas, lathcharged people who were reportedly peacefully fasting. 53 persons were injured and treated at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital, AIIMS trauma center, and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Government stopped media person or anybody to enter the hospital to check the injured. Protesters huddled near the Metro station, bus depots and railway stations. Many walked down to Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and other nearby Ashrams. According to New Delhi railway station authorities, supporters continued to leave in batches through the course of the day. While several supporters spent the day in a park near Ramlila Maidan, others took shelter in Arya Samaj at Paharganj.
Baba Ramdev was taken by police out side Delhi and was banned from entering Delhi for 15 days. After being banned from entering Delhi for the next 15 days, Union Home Secretary G. K. Plillai said the Baba was on his way to his Ashram at Haridwar under police custody. On reaching Haridwar, Swami Ramdev declared in a press conference that his fast unto death will continue.
About 5,000 supporters were still missing according to Baba Ramdev. Dr. Jaideep Arya, a key advisor of Ramdev’s team, said that about 19 girls students from the Chotipur Gurukul, who were seated near the dais, are estimated to be still missing. Suman, women’s representative of the Trust, said many of these girls were roughed up when the police tried to reach Swamiji and were crying since police officials were pulling their hair, dragging them badly and their clothes were torn. Police, however, said no one was missing. A senior police officer reported that they were forced to retaliate after Baba Ramdev's supporters started throwing stones and flower pots at them. Police also released CCTV footage to prove that no woman was beaten by them. TV channels were telecasting the footage of the scene in Ramlia Ground. Rajbala, who suffered a crippling spinal injury and was undergoing treatment at G. B. Pant Hospital died following cardiac arrest. The hospital authorities refused to give a death summary and other relevant papers, and even asked to file an RTI application. Baba Ramdev, in a statement, said "Her sacrifice is an irreparable loss to the whole organisation…..and her death will not go in vain. We will continue to fight for a corruption-free India.”
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev will jointly sit on a day's token fast in Delhi on 3 June 2012 to press for a strong Lokpal Bill and to mobilise opinion against black money. On 9 August 2012, Baba Ramdev lanuched an indefinite protests at Ramlila Maidan against Government's failure to take action against corrupt and in bringing black money back into the country. Anna Hazare was, however, not present though he had earlier declared that he would join the protest. He announced that his future strategy depends upon the governmental response to his protest, which would unravel on 12 August 2012.
Aftermath of the Delhi protest and fast unto death
Ramdev accused the government of cheating him, and alleged that there was a conspiracy to kill him and that he was threatened during a meeting with senior ministers. All political parties other than the Congress Party condemned the police action, called it undemocratic and naked fascism, deplorable and shortsighted. It was even compared it with the Emergency and the Jalianwala. Apart from politicians, he was also supported by civil societies as well. Activist Anna Hazare termed the crackdown of the agitation a strangulation of democracy. He said: "There was no firing otherwise the eviction was similar to Jallianwala Bagh massacre". He boycotted his lokpal panel meeting with the government on 6 June and decided to go on a one-day fast on 8 June. His allies RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, and Swami Agnivesh also criticised the police action to evict the hunger strikers forcefully Protests were held in many different parts of the country. Protest were held in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jammu and Lucknow as well as among other several cities of India.
End of hunger strike
Baba Ramdev ended his fast on the ninth day by drinking a glass of juice at Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, where he was recuperating from the seventh day of his fast. After repeated request from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and various other activists he ended his fast. Political reactions came in from all major parties expressing their happiness about ending the fast. BJP Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said they have a "sense of satisfaction" that the fast has ended. Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said that the fast was "successful" and termed the government as "monstrous". While the ruling party Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi gave a reaction by saying it as "good".
Ambedkar stadium fast
Baba Ramdev called off his six-day fast at Delhi's Ambedkar stadium on 14 August 2012 and said he was returning to Haridwar. Seeking the defeat of the Congress in 2014, he said, "Congress hatao, desh bachao (Remove Congress, save the country)", adding that except for the Congress all parties were together on the issue of black money.
Allegations of corruption and tax evasion
Multiple allegations have been raised against Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna.
Some of them being:
- Baba Ramdev is involved in tax evasion.
- Baba Ramdev exports products that are banned in the United States.
- Acharya Balkrishna has fake passport.
- Acharya Balkrishna is a Nepali criminal who fled from Nepal to India.
- Acharya Balkrishna has violated the Arms Act, 1959.
The Indian National Congress lead United Progressive Alliance launched a booklet to criticise and expose Ramdev during its election campaign in Uttar Pradesh for the 2012 elections. Acharya Balkrishna was later cleared of fake passport charges.
It is said that there are a maze of companies that are run and maintained by Ramdev´s key men. Over 200 businesses from broadcasting companies to food parks are run by his allies Acharya Balkrishna and Swami Muktanand. Baba Ramdev is also facing charges of land grab as it was reported that Patanjali Yog Peeth had grabbed government land. In 2011, a report released by India Today cited some of the firms running under the guidance of Baba Ramdev as being scanned by government authorities for the above mentioned allegations. On 20 July 2012, CBI arrested Ramdev's aide Balkrishna. Though he was released within a month.
Controversies and Criticism
Involvements in activities prohibited for non-profit in USA
Ramdev and his non-profit firms are alleged to involve in activities prohibited for non-profit tax-exempt organisations in USA.
Labour law violations and animal parts in medicines
In March 2005, 113 employees of Divya Yoga Mandir Trust, Haridwar started an agitation for minimum wages and employees's rights such as coverage under the Provident Fund and Employees' State Insurance schemes. After a tripartite meeting, an agreement was reached between the workers, management and the district administration. However, some agitating workers were dismissed by the Trustees after being alleged to be responsible for sabotage. Their case was taken up by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). They are still to be reinstated.
Brinda Karat, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was involved with the protesters and was told by disgruntled workers that animal parts were used in the manufacture of some medicines. In January 2006, she accused the Divya Pharmacy, owned by Divya Yog Mandir Trust for using human and animal bones in their medicines. Samples of the medicines Kulya Bhasm (Mixture) and Yauvanamrit Vati purchased from Brahmakalp Chikitsalaya- the Trust's Hospital at Haridwar were tested at government labs and the presence of animal materials in the sample was confirmed. However, the source of the samples was disputed, as these had been supplied by Karat to the labs and not procured by government officials. Karat produced what were claimed to be the prescription and cash receipt obtained from the medicine counter for the samples provided.
Her controversial remarks drew strong condemnation from several politicians in North India, like Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Narayan Dutt Tiwari. Subsequently she received a legal notice on the behalf of a BJP leader in Faridabad.
A few months later in 2006, four samples were sent to the government recognised Shriram Institute of Industrial Research in Delhi. Negating the report from this institute the Union Health Ministry said to have found animal DNA in the samples, although most of the newspapers carried reports to the contrary.
Views on AIDS and sex education
In December 2006, Swami 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 went on to suggest that sex education should be replaced by yoga education, as his way to AIDS awareness and prevention. "Sex education in schools need [sic] to be replaced by yoga education," Ramdev told reporters at the state health minister's residence. As a consequence of these public statements he was sent a cease and desist order by the Indian Union Health Ministry to avoid making such claims in the future, and the civil society threatened legal action. In response, Ramdev paraphrased his statement and said the claims were not directly his, but those of patients who practised yoga.
Views on homosexuality
According to Newsweek magazine, Ramdev "detests gays". In July 2009, when Delhi High Court gave a verdict under decriminalising homosexuality in Delhi, the swami called a press conference and 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. If the government brings this law, I will take this matter to the streets of Delhi in protest." In 2011 he petitioned the court to overturn the ruling. He said that "(Gay sex) is against our Vedic culture." Ramdev has said that he can cure homosexuals within six months using "yoga, pranayam and other meditation techniques". He has offered to cure Manvendra Singh Gohil, an openly gay prince.
Detention at London Airport
On 20 September 2013, Baba Ramdev, arriving from India, was detained for eight hours at London's Heathrow Airport by British authorities. The British Home Office declined to comment on reasons but the BBC quoted Ramdev supporters suggesting that he could have been targeted by the Indian authorities for speaking out about corruption back home. After being called for questioning the following day, he was allowed to continue the visit and preach yoga at meetings.
Awards and recognitions
- January 2007 – Honorary Doctorate, by Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar, in recognition of his efforts to popularise the Vedic system/science of Yoga.
- March 2010 – Honored with Degree of Doctorate of Sciences by Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
- April 2010 – Honored with honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Dr D. Y. Patil Deemed University, Pune, Maharashtra.
- January 2011 – Honored with Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati National Eminence Award by Maharashtra Governor K. Shankaranarayanan.
- Yoga Sādhanā evam Yoga Chikitsā Rahasya (Yog Its Philosophy & Practice ISBN 978-81-89235-15-4)
- Prāṇāyāma Rahasya (Pranayama Its Philosophy & Practice ISBN 978-81-89235-01-7)
- Aushadh Darshan (Aushadh Darshan ISBN 978-81-89235-24-6)
- Jeevaniya & Vayasthapan Paudhe (Vitality Strengthening Astavarga Plants ISBN 978-4-04-980004-3)
The books explain in detail about the basics of a system of yoga and acupressure. The third book describes, among other things, the use of several medicinal herbs in curing some diseases which modern medicine is unable to cure. Ramdev claims to have documented proof of the books' claims.
- Mining scam in India
- Black market
- The Lokpal Bill, 2011
- Right to Information Act
- India Against Corruption
- as he speaks daily in his public speeches which are being telecast on Astha channel
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