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English - Social Issues123 - November 29, 2019

Ramdev; The Con Man Dangerously Blending Economic Nationalism and Hindutva Together

Ramkrishna Yadav, AKA Ramdev, businessman and the founder of Patanjali Ayurved Limited Company has been news for making insulting comments against social reformer Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. In a row to such remarks now he said, “Periyar was around in his time, he would have had shoes slapped on him”. This is the third time in a week he had made derogatory remarks.

On Monday a video went viral in which Ramdev appears as saying, “For the past two-three days, Periyar’s ‘chele’ (followers) have been behind me. (laughs derisively). Now I say, this Periyar put shoe garlands for gods and goddesses, he slaps Ram and Krishna with shoes. Now he’s not alive. But if in my time Periyar was around, there would be so many shoes slapped on him, he wouldn’t have escaped alive. But I wasn’t there back then, what to do?” 

This comes just a week after the yoga teacher coined the term ‘ideological terror’ in his recent speeches and television appearances. On 10th November he appeared on Republic TV for an interview with channel’s founder Arnab Goswami to discuss Ayodhya verdict.

On the National television, he said, “The followers of Periyar are growing. I see a lot of these things on Facebook and Twitter… Periyar’s followers, who say people who follow God are fools, those who pray to God are scoundrels, that god is satan, and all such nonsense. I have no problem with anti-religious people, they have a right to their views. But Lenin, Marx, and Mao can never be the ideal for this country. We don’t need outside cultures – outside ‘un’-cultures.”

In continuation of it, he said, “Another danger: I agree with Ambedkar’s ideas of one nation, one law, caste-free India equality, justice. But his ‘chelas’ (followers)… The followers of great men are very dangerous.” Next thing he said. “I love Dalits a lot. In my place, from the kitchen to every task, there are Dalits. Everywhere. I don’t discriminate. Whoever has whatever talent. I have made them teachers, I have made them sanyasis. I have made them the heads of my institutions. Dalits, Valmikis… even Adivasis. OBCs also. OBC, not Owaisi (haha). But this attempt to divide… I have given a term for this, Arnab brother, take this seriously. Vaicharik Atankwad (Ideological terrorism).”

This started when Ramdev was indulged in a takedown of AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, when he coined the term ‘ideological terrorism’ in connection with Periyar and Ambedkar’s followers.

He didn’t stop here, he continued to target Bahujan, in his word he said, “there is a huge group of people which only targets Hindus and among Hindus they want to create divisions,” he went on and say “they propagate only OBC and Dalits are Mulnivasi (indigenous people) remaining few Brahmins, Kshatriya and Vaishya are foreigners and they leave country”. “Everyone’s targets are only Hindus, their gods, goddesses, and tall figures.”

Ramdev continued, there should be a law to remove all contents from social media which talks about Hinduism in bad taste. Universities like Oxford, Cambridge or Howard propagates wrongs about Hinduism and Prime Minister should write letters to the chief of these countries to remove such content from the syllabus.

Ramdev, A Stooge of Right-Wing to Attack Reformative Ideas

Soon after the airing of the interview, people took the street to protest against vilifying remarks of saffron-clad and self-proclaimed Baba. Twitterati calls for the arrest and #boycottPatanjali started trending on social media. This is not the first time when Ramdev has made such comments against the social groups which question Discriminatory Caste structure and Brahminical dominance on the country’s resources.

The Indian government has been thoroughly discriminatory against the Bahujans by ensuring the fruits of development and prosperity remains with the Brahmins and other upper castes. The upper caste population has significantly taken over the positions which left hardly any space for other communities to represent themselves. From the Parliament, Judiciary, Bureaucracy to Media all functions under the shadow of the discriminatory caste system and why not when chairs are held by upper caste.

The headline of the report published in Indian Express says that, for the last six years, no Scheduled Caste judge sent to the Supreme Court. The report, published in 2016 also mentions that for the next 8 years, none Chief Justice of India can be from the SC, ST or religious minority group until and unless some miracle happens.

According to research conducted by The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, “No Dalit or Adivasi among the top 300 journalists. The Hindu upper caste men hold 71 percent of top jobs Muslims account for only three percent of key decision-makers.”

Now Bahujans are coming together under one umbrella with unequivocal voice, upper caste, Brahmins, in particular, are feeling threatened and using their stooge like Ramdev to make attempts to denounce the progressive and reformative ideas of social and political reformers of the country.

Why Attacking Periyar?

 E.V. Ramaswamy Periyar’s social and political ideas are the leading and essential for the modern Indian Society. His philosophies outlined all the factors whose elimination is an essential condition for modernization of the Indian society.

He is the author of India’s progressive Sharman Bahujan tradition which challenged the Aryan supremacy, nationalism Brahminism, caste system Brahmanical patriarchy, and all discriminatory and unjust practices preached by Dijas of North India.

He fearlessly refused any form of domination, injustice, inequality or the tradition of slavery. He was impassioned and bold in his writings which shake the readers.  He was called “Socrates of Southern Asia” by UNESCO in 1970 due to his style of reasoning, tone and expression.

He questioned Brahminism and called for Casteless society. He wanted complete elimination of Brahminism from the society. He always denounced religion and advocated for science and rationality. Periyar believed the concept of gods in Hinduism provides establishment for unequal Lord – servant relationships. He said Ramayana is not a sacred book, perhaps it’s a political doctrine to preach righteous supremacy of Aryans over Non-Aryan, Brahmins over Nonbrahmin and Men over women. He himself burnt Ramayan and Manusmiriti and in 1959 published a book Ramayana; A true reading to debunk philosophies of religious book.   

Ramdev; A Con Man 

Time and again Ramdev’s Patanjali has been in the news for its unregulated production of consumer goods. In May 2017, an RTI revealed that ‘’Patanjali’s Divya Amla Juice and Shivlingi Beej failed to meet the quality standards. The lab report said 31.68% of foreign matter was found in Shivlingi Beej and amla juice had less than the prescribed limit of pH value.”

The RTI revealed, “Nearly 40% of Ayurveda products, including items from Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali, were found to be of substandard quality by Haridwar’s Ayurveda and Unani Office, reports the Hindustan Times.

Out of the 82 samples collected between 2013 and 2016, 32 failed the quality test. As per Uttarakhand state government lab report, the pH value- which measures the alkalinity of water-soluble substances- was found to be less than the prescribed limit in the Amla juice. Products with the pH value of less than seven could lead to acidity and other medical complications. Besides Patanjali products, 18 samples of Ayurveda drugs such as Avipattikara Churna, Talisadya Churna, Pushyanuga Churna, Lavan Bhaskar Churna, Yograj Guggulu, Laksha Guggulu were also found substandard.

In the same year, Army canteens withdraw Amla Juice manufactured and supplied by Patanjali Ayurveda after the product failed to clear a laboratory test. The Canteen Stores Department (CSD), suspended the whole batch of Patanjali Ayurveda’s Amla juice after the test out at West Bengal Public Health Laboratory in Kolkata. The Defence Ministry also served a show-cause notice to Patanjali.

Ramdev with his Brahmin associate Balakrishna exploited words like Swadeshi and chemical-free to create demand in the market by keeping low prices of the product. It made its reach to the lower segment of the population. And use his popularity to sell Hindutva along with the products.

However, it’s not just a product but time again Patanjali has been involved in grabbing lands. On 12 June 2019 Business Standard published a story about how Haryana government facilitating lands to Patanjali by keep siding legislation and environmental concerns.  

“This is the third of a three-part series on land purchase by the Patanjali group and its associates in Faridabad’s Kot village in Haryana. On February 27, the Haryana government passed an amendment to the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900.” The transaction for large-scale forest land took place between 2014 and 2016.

Scroll reports, The Patanjali group, and some other land dealers have allegedly acquired more than 400 acres of forested common lands in the Aravalli hills of Haryana’s Faridabad district. In 2011, the Supreme Court had directed that all common land in the hills should be returned to panchayats and any such sale was termed illegal.

The law is meant to protect forested areas not formally recognized as such. In Haryana, about 75,000 acres of land, including about 800 acres of forested hilly terrain in Kot village, is such — called ‘gair mumkin pahad’, held as Shamlat or common land. The amendment sought to do away with the protection accorded to the Aravalli Hills region.

Blend of Business and Politics 

This is not the first time when Ramdev allied with Right Wingers and Bharatiya Janata Party in particular. He closely sided with BJP’s political narration of Kala Dhan, Bhrashtrachar, Pakistan, terrorism or NRC. However, he now targeting iconic and well-respected philosophers who have questioned Hindu philosophy, discriminatory practices and called for social equality in society. He has been instrumental in propagating RSS and BJP’s Hindutva sermon among socially and financially lower and backward segments of India. And at the same time, his limited company’s business started turning into a multibillion limited company. Several times in public Ramdev appeared alongside Narendra Modi and asked Indians to turn up for the Modi. And in return Modi applaud Patanjali’s goods.

Ramdev dangerously made the cocktail of Indian Economic Nationalism, Hindu Nationalism and successfully sold it to castes and classes looking for religious affiliations and identity away from rational and progressive ideas.

Note: Dalit word is Nonconstitutional and not subscribed by the channel but is in popular use in academia politics and media to signify the scheduled

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