Spiritual guru Baba Ramdev brought about a sort of ‘health revolution’ in India and across the world, with his teachings of yoga – a course of physical and mental discipline for attaining liberation from the material world and a path towards union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.
Now, the same spiritual guru is seeking to enter the material world by joining politics with an aim to cleanse the system.
Speaking to Baba Ramdev on her chat show `Kahiye Janab`, Swati Chaturvedi of Zeenews.com tried to find out why is he unhappy with Mayawati, the reason behind him being upset over the recent scandals surrounding ‘babas’, and whether he has decide to become a politician.
Here are the excerpts:
Swati: What should I call you – Baba Ramdev or a politician?
Ramdev: Earlier, I was a yoga guru, now I’m a ‘raaj guru’. An individual’s role keeps on changing. I was born to illiterate parents, but I now teach medical science and politics to people.
Swati: You started with yoga, gave a ‘yoga mantra’ to people, but critics now say you have deviated from your chosen path?
Ramdev: I haven’t deviated; instead I’ve expanded. I haven’t stopped teaching yoga, but started an additional service. Earlier, I used to teach yoga but now my disciples are imparting training free of cost across the country. I am in fact trying to improve ‘rashtraneeti’ with ‘yoganeeti’.
Swati: Are politicians like Mayawati upset with you because you are jumping into politics from yoga? She has targeted you directly, saying you’re fooling people by teaching them how to exercise.
Ramdev: I’m making people healthy and fit through yoga. I don’t want to comment on as to who has worked for dalits. It’s not appropriate for me to comment on mothers and sisters. I taught yoga to those people who had no money to go to doctors and seek medical advice. This should have made our dalit daughter happy.
Swati: That means Rahul Gandhi and Baba Ramdev are in the same target list of Mayawati?
Ramdev: He (Rahul Gandhi) is a ‘raj kumar’, while we are ‘fakirs’. He went to dalits’ houses for 5-6 days, spent some hours there, while I’ve spent 20-25 years of my life in villages. So, she faces bigger threat from ‘yoga kumar’ than ‘raj kumar’.
Swati: Why is Mayawati so unhappy with ‘yoga kumar’ and why are you targeting her so much these days, especially on the issue of Rs 5 crore garland?
Ramdev: I’m not targeting her. The money, which belongs to the nation, should be spent on the poor, for their upliftment, and not on garlands to be worn by the high and the mighty.
Swati: These days, the image of both politicians and babas is same. People think they exploit them. What do you think?
Ramdev: Ever since the start of life, there have been both good people and bad people, like lord Rama and Ravana. So, such babas who are involved in sex scandals, rape etc should be hanged. The guilty should meet with justice; it doesn’t matter whether he is a politician or a religious leader. But, I would like to add here that ‘sanyasis’ like Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Dayanand etc have only saved this nation. Now, there are so many self-proclaimed babas who have two outfits – one, saffron and the other, jeans-shirt.
Swati: Have you become a politician? People thought you would jump into politics one day, but you have already started taking too many jumps.
Ramdev: Those who lack integrity are afraid of me. Every political party has two sets of people – those who work with integrity and those who lack it. I have said the black money economy should end; those involved in corruption, rape crimes should get death sentence. Our economy should be made indigenous. What’s wrong in saying this?
Swati: The problem today is, people don’t trust actors, politicians and babas alike?
Ramdev: If this nation has trusted me, it’s because they know my character, my past. I’ve prepared myself for 20 years; I’ve been in public life for these many years. People know what my dreams are. They know I neither aspire for a seat of power nor money. When the country’s prime minister, president and other top politicians themselves approach me, why do I need to run after politics.
This is not just my pain; this is the pain of the 120-crore people of this country. They want the corrupt political system to cease. Now the question is, who can take this ‘panga’? It can be done by someone who is known to people. I’ve taken this ‘panga’ because 120 crore people are my strength. The question of distrust doesn’t arise.
Swati: When the chief minister of a poor state like Uttar Pradesh wears a Rs 5 crore garland, what message does it give to people?
Ramdev: It’s not just about Mayawati’s ‘maya’. If you look at the 63-year history of independent India, you will notice some steal openly while others do it away from the public’s eye. We are talking about Rs 5-crore garland, what about the 258 lakh crore that is out of India in the form of black money? And what about the 60 lakh crore that is stashed in the country? People have stolen so much money, who will hold them accountable? That’s why we have started ‘Bharat Swabhimaan’ campaign.
Swati: The government has brought Women’s Reservation Bill? You had once got into a tiff with Brinda Karat. What problem does Baba Ramdev have with women politicians?
Ramdev: I want women to get 50%, and not just 33% reservation. I respect mothers and sisters, but as a politician they should also work to make India proud. However, if any deviation is observed in their behaviour, then there should be a debate.
The future should belong to India. It should become an economic superpower. For this, black money economy needs to cease. If this is done, by 2020 India’s GDP will become the highest in the world and US will bow before us. Pakistan, Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries would seek to merge with India. Then we will have ‘Akhand Bharat’.
Swati: When you first raised the black money issue (before general elections), BJP followed up around the same time. People thought you were inclined towards the BJP. Which do you consider a better party – the BJP or Congress?
Ramdev: I have been raising the issue for several years now, but it was heard for the first time before (Lok Sabha) elections. BJP was endorsing what I had been saying. But it fell silent after the polls. I am however persisting. Regarding my ideological compatibility with political parties, there are good people but no one party lives upto my expectations.
Swati: Out of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, who gives you hope for India?
Ramdev: I won’t criticise, won’t compare. That’s my principle. Everybody has his own individuality.
Swati: Do you think Mayawati has taken a ‘panga’ by attacking you?
Ramdev: No, it’s not about ‘panga’, it’s about ideology. She criticised me for giving medicines; I help people because I want to serve humanity.
You see 50% to 60% people don’t vote. They were waiting for an alternative. After half an hour of interaction on television, people were asked that would baba be able to change the face and direction of politics? Ninety-two percent said yes! There’s hope among people now.
Adaptation: Deepak Nagpal