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Baba Ramdev
Born Ram Krishna Yadav
Said Ali pur (Said Alipur),Nangal Chaudhary, Narnaul, Mahendragarh, Haryana, India
Nationality Indian
Titles/honours Honorary Doctorate by Kalinga Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar
Founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth
Guru Acharya Pradhumn, Acharya Baldev, Swami Shankerdevji Maharaj
Philosophy Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
Literary works Gurukul Kalva
Website .comRamdev - divyayoga

Baba Ramdev     (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 popularising yoga among Indians through his mass yoga camps. He founded the Patanjali Group of Institutions. Ramdev has more recently become a vocal advocate on Indian political issues.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Entry into public life 2
  • Patanjali Yogpeeth 3
  • Political campaigns 4
    • Anti-corruption 4.1
      • Aftermath of the Delhi protest and fast unto death 4.1.1
    • Ambedkar stadium fast 4.2
  • Controversies and criticism 5
    • Allegations of corruption and tax evasion 5.1
    • Views on homosexuality 5.2
    • Involvements in activities prohibited for non-profit in USA 5.3
    • Labour law violations and animal parts in medicines 5.4
    • Views on AIDS and sex education 5.5
    • Detention at London Airport 5.6
    • Conversation with Mahant Chand Nath 5.7
  • Awards and recognitions 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Ramdev was born as Ramkrishna Yadav to Ram Yadav and Gulabo Devi in Alipur village of Mahendragarh district, Haryana state, India.[2] He studied Indian scripture, Yoga and Sanskrit in various gurukuls. He became a sanyasi and adopted the name "Baba Ramdev".[3] 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. In 2003, Aastha TV began featuring him in its morning yoga slot. There he proved to be telegenic and gained a large following.[4]

A large number of people and many celebrities in India and abroad have attended his yoga camps.[5] He has taught yoga to many actors including Amitabh Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty.[6] He became the first non-Muslim to publicly address Muslim clerics at their seminary in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh[7] 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.[8][9] Yogi Haider considered the face of yoga in Pakistan, says that his ambition is to emulate Ramdev Baba and popularise yoga amongst Pakistanis.[10][11]

Patanjali Yogpeeth

A view of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) India

Patanjali Yogpeeth is an institute founded for the promotion and practice of yoga and ayurveda. It has two Indian campuses, Patanjali Yogpeeth-I & Patanjali Yogpeeth-II, with locations in the UK, US, Nepal, Canada, and Mauritius.

Ramdev established the Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust in 2006, with the aim of promoting yoga in UK. He acquired the Scottish island of Little Cumbrae as a base.[12][13][14][15]

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.[3] 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.[4][16] 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.[17] 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.[18] The ECI had also tried to control his use of camps in the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh state elections of 2013.[19][20]

There is also an organisation called the Bharat Swabhiman Trust, founded by Ramdev and supporting his political campaigns.[21][22] 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.[23]

On April 13, 2015 it was announced that Ramdev will be the Brand Ambassador of Haryana and will be given Cabinet Minister Status from the Haryana Government.


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.[24]

On 27 February 2011 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 Ram Jethmalani, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh.[25]

On 4 June 2011, Ramdev launched the Bhrashtachar Mitao Satyagrah at Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi. Key demands were:[26]

  • 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 Ramlila Ground[27] 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.[28]

Ramdev was arrested while attempting to disguise himself in women's clothing.[29] He was detained in isolation at Safdargunj Airport for a few hours and then deported to his ashram in Haridwar via helicopter. He was banned from entering Delhi for 15 days.[30][31] On reaching Haridwar, Ramdev declared that his fast would continue.

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.[32] On the morning of 4 June, 65,000 of his followers gathered at Ramlila Ground.[33] By noon queues extending up to 3 km were seen chanting 'Vande Mataram'. In the evening a press conference 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.

At midnight, a team of 10,000 Delhi policemen and RAF raided the ground when most of the Satyagrahis were sleeping.[34] 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.[35][36][37] 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.[38] 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.[39]

There were accusations that women present had been badly treated by the police.[40] A senior police officer reported that they were forced to retaliate after Ramdev's supporters started throwing stones and flower pots at them.[41] Police also released CCTV footage to prove that no woman was beaten by them.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44] He announced that his future strategy depended upon the governmental response to his protest.[45]

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.[46] All political parties other than the Congress Party condemned the police action, called it undemocratic and naked fascism,[47] deplorable and shortsighted.[48][49] 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".[50] 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[51] Protests were held in many different parts of the country.[52] Protest were held in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jammu and Lucknow as well as among other several cities of India.[53]

Ramdev ended his fast on the ninth day after being hospitalised two days earlier.[54] His decision to end the protest was praised by various politicians, including from the BJP, Janata Party and Congress.[55]

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.

Controversies and criticism

Allegations of corruption and tax evasion

The Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance launched a booklet critical of Ramdev during its election campaign in Uttar Pradesh for the 2012 elections.[56]

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.[57][58]

Views on homosexuality

According to Newsweek magazine, Ramdev "detests gays".[59] In July 2009, when Delhi High Court gave a verdict under 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. If the government brings this law, I will take this matter to the streets of Delhi in protest."[60] In 2011 he petitioned the court to overturn the ruling.[61] He said that "[Gay sex] is against our Vedic culture"[62] and that "I consider homosexuality unnatural and a mental disorder. A bad habit. Many people acquire bad habits and get addicted to them."[4] Ramdev has said that he can "cure" homosexuals within six months using "yoga, pranayam and other meditation techniques".[63][64]

Involvements in activities prohibited for non-profit in USA

Ramdev and his non-profit firms are alleged to be involved in activities prohibited for non-profit tax-exempt organisations in USA.[65]

Labour law violations and animal parts in medicines

In March 2005, 113 employees of Divya Yoga Mandir Trust began an agitation for Provident Fund and Employees' State Insurance schemes. A meeting resulted in an agreement between the workers, management and the district administration but some of the 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).[66][67]

Brinda Karat, a senior figure in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was involved with the protesters. They told her 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, of using human and animal bones in their medicines. Samples of the medicines were tested at government laboratories 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 for testing and not procured by government officials. Karat produced what were claimed to be the prescription and cash receipt obtained from the Trust hospital's medicine counter for the samples provided.[66][67][68] Her remarks drew strong condemnation from several politicians in North India, such as Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Narayan Dutt Tiwari.[69] Subsequently she received a legal notice on the behalf of a BJP leader in Faridabad.[70]

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.[71]

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.[72] He told reporters that "Sex education in schools need [sic] to be replaced by yoga education". 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.[73] In response, Ramdev modified his statement, saying that the claims were not directly his but those of patients who practised yoga.[74]

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.[75] 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.[75] After being called for questioning the following day, he was allowed to continue the visit and preach yoga at meetings.[76]

Conversation with Mahant Chand Nath

In April 2014, Baba Ramdev was caught by a TV camera while he was warning Mahant Chand Nath, the BJP candidate from Alwar in Rajasthan, not to talk about money when Mahant told him that he was facing problems in bringing money and some of his money had been caught. They were allegedly talking about black money. Ramdev denied the allegation saying that he was talking about someone else's black money.[77]

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.[78]
  • January 2011 – Honored with Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati National Eminence Award by Maharashtra Governor K. Shankaranarayanan.[79]
  • July 2012 - Honoured with Tarun Kranti Award at Ahmedabad in National Icon category by Mr Narendra Modi, the current prime minister of India. The award is constituted by eminent Saint Tarunsagar ji. [80]
  • April 2015 - Government of Haryana appointed Baba Ramdev as brand ambassador of Yoga and Ayurveda. He was given the status of Cabinet minister for Haryana but had declined it saying that he wanted to continue serving as a Baba.


  1. Yoga Sādhanā evam Yoga Chikitsā Rahasya (Yog Its Philosophy & Practice ISBN 978-81-89235-15-4)
  2. Prāṇāyāma Rahasya (Pranayama Its Philosophy & Practice ISBN 978-81-89235-01-7)
  3. Aushadh Darshan (Aushadh Darshan ISBN 978-81-89235-24-6)
  4. 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.


  1. ^ Indian Who Built Yoga Empire Works on Politics New York Times – 18 April 2011
  2. ^ in 1965.Baba Ramdev: Daily Bhasker Daily Bhaskar, 3 June 2011
  3. ^ a b Who is Baba Ramdev? NDTV
  4. ^ a b c Godfellas I – A series on gurus and their politics, Tehelka Interview, May 2011
  5. ^ What makes Baba Ramdev so influential IBN Live
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  7. ^ "Swami Ramdev promotes yoga at Deoband Gathering". Zee News. 3 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Baba Ramdev to address UN meet Rediff News
  9. ^ Baba Ramdev to address UN meet in NY Mumbai Mirror
  10. ^ Madhavan, Deepu (2015-06-15). "Pakistan's Baba Ramdev Shamshad Haider Says Yoga Began In Pakistan, Chants 'Allah Hoo' Instead Of 'Om' During Asanas". Indiatimes. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Yoga in Pakistan: Meet Pakistan's Baba Ramdev-Yogi Haider". ( 
  12. ^ Meet Baba Ramdev, the swami who owns a Scottish Island – 4. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
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  15. ^ "Baba Ramdev to train Indian archers for 2016 Rio Olympics" Deccan Chronicle, 5 August, 2015
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  18. ^ "Ramdev justifies honeymoon remark / No HC relief for Ramdev / Yoga guru a business tycoon: CPM". The Tribune. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
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  26. ^ Yog Sandesh (Divya Yog Mandir Trust Haridwar) May & June 2011 (special issue)
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  40. ^ Ananya Bhardwaj, VijaitaSingh, Pritha Chatterjee. "Girls who 'shielded' Baba were told he wants to bless them". Express India. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
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  42. ^ "Ramlila Ground footage recovered". Delhi, India: 7 June 2011. 
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  52. ^ "City buzzes again, this time for Ramdev". The Times of India. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  53. ^ "Thousands fast in Maharashtra in Ramdev's support". Hindustan Times. 4 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
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  55. ^ Manorama Online | Home | TheWeek LATEST NEWS. (13 November 2009). Retrieved 16 October 2011.
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  57. ^ U.S. launches preliminary fact-finding investigation into alleged Ramdev wealth sources. AHN. 11 June 2011
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  59. ^ 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). 
  60. ^ "Gay is bad, chorus maulanas, saffron brigade & Church". DNA. 
  61. ^ "SC adjourns hearing on decriminalising homosexuality". United News of India (New Delhi). 19 April 2011. 
  62. ^ "Gay sex is no crime, says court, religious leaders protest". Hindustan Times (New Delhi). 2 July 2009. 
  63. ^ "Quack bazaar abuzz with gay cure therapies". Mail Today (New Delhi). 12 July 2011. 
  64. ^ "Unnatural Thinking". The Financial Express (New Delhi). 5 July 2011. 
  65. ^ "Ramdev’s non-profit outfits face probe in US". Tehelka. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  66. ^ a b "In the name of Ayurveda". The Hindu. 
  67. ^ a b "How Karat-Ramdev War began". The Indian Express. 
  68. ^ "Guru accused of 'human bone' drug". BBC. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  69. ^ "Pawar appreciates work of Ramdev". The Hindu. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  70. ^ Legal Notice over Ramdev Issue. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  71. ^ "The republic and the wayward rationalist". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 27 January 2006. 
  72. ^ "Yoga can cure AIDS: Ramdev". The Times of India. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2006. 
  73. ^ "'"Yoga effect on AIDS? Swami Ramdev has 'proof. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  74. ^ "I made no claims of curing AIDS: Ramdev". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  75. ^ a b BBC News - Yoga guru Swami Ramdevji allowed to stay in UK BBC News, 21 September 2013
  76. ^ "Ramdev detained and interrogated at Heathrow Airport for six hours. He was assisted by award winning lawyer Deepak Bali.". Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  77. ^ issue/ "Don't talk of money when mics are on: Ramdev to BJP candidate" . Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  78. ^ "Doctorate degree for Yoga Guru Ramdev". Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  79. ^ Lata Mangeshkar, Baba Ramdev to be given Eminence award. (21 January 2011). Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  80. ^ [3] puraskar%E2%80%99-to-baba-ramdev-vijay-darda-and-jito/

Further reading

  • Chakrabarti, Santanu (2012). "Hindu Televangelism: An Emerging Phenomenon". In Thomas, Pradip Ninan; Lee, Philip. Global and Local Televangelism. Palgrave Macmillan.  

External links

  • BBC Audio Interview with Swami Ramdev in Hindi
  • BBC Interview with Swami Ramdev
  • BBC News – Yogi cleared of animal parts row – March 8, 2006
  • [4]
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