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Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev  pronunciation  (born as Ramkrishna Yadav in Haryana) is a spiritual leader known for his contributions in yoga, Ayurveda, politics and agriculture. He is best known for popularizing yoga among Indians through his mass yoga camps and televangelism. He founded the Patanjali group of institutions. Ramdev has more recently become a vocal advocate on Indian political issues.

Ramdev was born as Ramkrishna Yadav to Ram Yadav and Gulabo Devi in Alipur village of Mahendragarh district, Haryana state, India.He studied Indian scripture, Yoga and Sanskrit in various gurukul. He became a sanyasi and adopted the name "Baba Ramdev". While living in Kalwa Gurukul in Jind district, Haryana, he offered free yoga training to villagers for some time. He then moved to Haridwar in Uttarakhand and spent several years studying ancient Indian scriptures at Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya.

ENTRY INTO PUBLIC LIFE

He founded the Divya Yog Mandir Trust in 1995 and 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 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 became the first non-Muslim to publicly address Muslim clerics at their seminary in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh and has taught yoga in countries including Britain, the USA and Japan. In 2006, he was invited by Kofi Annan to deliver a lecture on poverty alleviation in a United Nations conference

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

Ramdev had announced plans to form Bharat Swabhiman, a political party, in 2010. He said that it would contest every seat in the next national elections.A year later, he said that he had no intention of forming a political party nor of entering politics directly but felt that he should influence politics by encouraging a groundswell of popular reaction.He had changed his mind again by 2014, when he 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 also that he voiced his support for Narendra Modi to become the next Prime Minister of India. His attempts to run yoga camps during that election campaign, allegedly to gain support for Modi, were stymied by the Election Commission of India (ECI) who determined that they were indeed politically motivated.The ECI had also tried to control his use of camps in the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh state elections of 2013.

There is also an organisation called the Bharat Swabhiman Trust, founded by Ramdev and supporting his political campaigns.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.

ANTI-CORRUPTION

Ramdev was associated with the 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement and was involved in the Jan Lokpal agitation, which was focused on promoting an independent body that would investigate alleged corruption.

On 27 February 2011 Ramdev held a large rally of over 100,000 people at the Ram Leela Maidan, New Delhi to protest against corruption. Those present at the rally included Ram Jethmalani, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh.

On 4 June 2011, Ramdev launched the Bhrashtachar Mitao satyagraha at Ram Leela Maidan, New Delhi. Key demands were:

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.

Ramdev declared he would go on an anshan (indefinite fast) on 4 June 2011, at Ram Leela Ground to pressure the government to root out corruption and repatriate the black money. 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 government ministers met and tried to persuade him by telling of the government's initiative on corruption. On the morning of 4 June, 65,000 of his followers gathered at Ram Leela Ground. By noon queues extending up to 3 km were seen chanting 'Vande Mataram'. In the evening a press conference organised by Kapil Sibal 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 satyagraha until a proper government ordinance is announced in place of forming a committee.

The protest went on during the night of 4 June 2011. Sources informed Ramdev that a huge police force might try to clear the site and if that failed then they might kill him in a fake encounter or set fire in the tents. At midnight, a team of 10,000 Delhi policemen and RAF raided the ground when most of the Satyagrahis were sleeping.Tear gas shells and a lathicharge were used to evict the crowd between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. The tent was set on fire at many places. 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 and there were some ambulances on standby. 53 people were injured and treated in hospitals.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 Ram Leela Maidan, others took shelter in Arya Samaj at Paharganj.

Ramdev was arrested while attempting to disguise himself in women's clothing. He was detained in isolation at Safdarjung Airport for a few hours and then deported to his ashram in Haridwar via helicopter. He was banned from entering Delhi for 15 days. On reaching Haridwar, Ramdev declared that his fast would continue.

There were accusations that women present had been badly treated by the police.A senior police officer reported that they were forced to retaliate after 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. One female protestor suffered a crippling spinal injury and later died in hospital from a cardiac arrest. The hospital authorities refused to give a death summary and other relevant papers, and even asked to file an RTI application. 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.

On 9 August 2012, Ramdev launched another indefinite protest at the ground 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.

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. 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.

Ramdev ended his fast on the ninth day after being hospitalized two days earlier. His decision to end the protest was praised by various politicians, including from the BJP, Janata Party and Congress.