Thoughts on economics and liberty

Is Baba Ramdev wasting everyone’s time!?

Two comments I read today have surprised me to no extent, and forced me to read more about what’s going on.

a) On Twitter, anshu_sunny82 (Anshuman Kumar) wrote in response to my blog post on Ramdev, earlier today: “These articles are based on the premise-Baba will be joining Politics and launch a party.which wont clsed.”

b) And I read on Tehelka, KN Govindacharya saying, “there is no way he will enter political life”.

I’m now very confused!

About a year ago I was in India and the headlines were the Baba Ramdev is into politics. That he is launching Bharat Swabhiman precisely as a political entity. I checked google to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, and here is just one of the MANY news reports on the issue:

Baba Ramdev launches political party named Bharat Swabhiman (DNA March 17, 2010)

But I now see these, as well!

Baba Ramdev to float political party in 2 years [NDTV 3 December 2010]

Baba Ramdev won’t launch political party [Times of India, Apr 21, 2011]

Baba Ramdev of Bharat Swabhiman not to launch a political party but wants stronger laws enacted to fight corruption [Navhind Times, undated]

What’s going on? Can someone please enlighten me?

I’d appreciate knowing what’s going on. Is he into politics or is he not?

This man as a yogi is of NO interest to me. I “do” some yoga for health, but that’s about it. I’m not a fanatic yogi. I have NO time for yogis.

The reason I was paying at least some attention to this yogi is because he seemed to display great courage to take on the big political parties, and to work towards the implementation of his ideas (despite the fact that I don’t agree with many of them).

I was even giving him credit for being a smart political strategist!

But what is all this that I’m reading?

Is he just another of those who is wasting people’s time? Like Anna Hazare?

The people of India want CHANGE. They want good governance. They want corruption to be removed. That can ONLY be done by joining politics, contesting elections, and taking charge of India’s governance. There is no other way.

Even though Baba Ramdev’s ideas are very poor and will NOT improve governance, and will NOT reduce corruption, at least he was in the political ring. I respected him for that.

I respect the WORST and MEANEST Indian politician more than the GREATEST Nobel Prize winning intellectual. Whatever good has happened in India has happened because our politicians have at least maintained a semblance of democrarcy and law and order, no matter how incompetent and howsoever corrupt they have been.

And so I at least respected this yogi for putting his money where his mouth is. Not the usual yogi who merely preaches. Here was a man who DID what he asked others to do.

And now I hear that he has taken the entire country for a ride! A fake declaration of political intent!

I’m disappointed to learn that Baba Ramdev has wasted everyone’s time for no rhyme or reason.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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11 thoughts on “Is Baba Ramdev wasting everyone’s time!?
  1. Kshitij

    Hi Sanjeev,
    I do hope that he joins politics like we have been hearing for some time now and hope that for some rhyme or reason, all this news of him not joining turn out to be false. That besides I would love an alliance of FTI and BS. In the earlier blog post you said that you would have appreciated had he not been so radical with his ideas and an alliance with you would have been fruitful. Did you in some way get in touch with him? I have heard that he is a very accessible man but I may be wrong. Like Shantanu gave a presentation to the House of Commons maybe you could also present your ideas to him with that specificity that you are known for. Ramdev for all I know, was never interested in politics and he has said time and again that he has nothing to gain from it as his Trust is already doing good with thousand crores turnover, it was only when Rajeev Dixit came in contact with him, he realised that the people support he had could be used in other realms too. You could play that part now and in any case you don't want to enter full time till the magic number of 1500 is reached, I guess it would be a fruitful association if it does work out :) the deep humility of freedom has to make sense to the ascetic who dared to breathe a new life into the inane political landscape of India.
    Best wishes,

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Kshitij

    Good points you make. I don’t see a problem in most goals with Baba Ramdev, and from all accounts he is a good man. That, of course, is not enough. There are millions of good men. Only few can help India achieve its potential. On matters of philosophy there seems to be too big a gap.

    But now that he’s rejected any political ambitions for his movement, I think this question might be merely academic.

    Let’s wait and see what he does. If nothing else there might be leaders aligned with his movement who are now going to have to consider a different and more durable strategy for reform.


  3. Mirza Ghalib

    Baba Ramdev has been looking after our physical health so far and now he has turned his attention to improving our national health by declaring a crusade to eliminate corruption from the country's social fabric as also to bring back black money stashed abroad . We the citizens of this country should all rally behind Baba and give him whole-hearted support
    Gourishankar Ganguly

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    The “solutions” offered by these people are UNWORKABLE and will NOT make the slightest dent on corruption.

    These are good people but their ideas are weak. I don’t support ill-thought out plans.


  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks for this, Supratim.

    When Kapil Sibal was making a bid deal about this same issue (about RSS), and was firm that the action to evict Ramdev and his followers would be supported by many people, he must have had inside information about what is going on and belief that he could taint the Baba. 

    If Ramdev has effectively become a political arm of the BJP, then the Congress would naturally bite the bullet and do something aggressive on the lines of what it should have done long ago anyway – arrest and spoonfeed Hazare and Ramdev. In this case because of the delay they have used force in an most inappropriate way at an inopportune time. This will haunt them in the coming months and years. Baba Ramdev is no small time entity now. His clout is huge, and his reputation has strengthened, now that he has been mistreated. A martyr he has become. 


  6. Supratim

    Dear Sanjeev,
    We should avoid being Chicken Little.  The sky is not falling. This country has survived worse mis-steps of the thuggish Congress Party – Sanjay Gandhi befriending Bhindranwale and bringing him centre stage to confront the Akalis comes to mind. It will continue to be India's tragedy as long as Indians look for short cuts to the problems that plague us, instead of fighting the hard, true fight.
    And, while the Congress has certainly mishandled the matter – and given Ramdev some additional oxygen –  But, made him a martyr? A person who jumped into a group of women and girl volunteers, to shield himself from the Police. A person who left all his aides to the tender mercies of the cops while running away personally. A personally finally arrested in the dress of a woman (Salwar-kameez!), skulking outside a railway station. What kind of a martyr is he, one who would leave his followers, while trying to save his own skin? Tilak, Gokhale, Gandhi, Bose would all lead their own andolans and take the first blow themselves. Not so for this yoga guru with mighty pretensions.
    Let us be very clear as to whom we call what.

  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks for this. I based my earlier comment on info that was fresh in the national news, namely that he was detained and his supporters injured. That’s still the international news today, by the way.

    The depiction you’ve provided is not known widely yet (I think! but I could be wrong – since I don’t get to watch Indian TV). The Australian did call him a “hollow guru” today (

    If he did not personally behave as a leader, then he won’t even survive as a martyr. I will try to read up more on this. Thanks for this heads up.

    (Usually Facebook is the fastest with such news, but haven’t seen news items on the nature of his wearing woman’s clothes. I’ll try to fish around).


  8. Shravan Bajrangi

    In Tamil thee is an adage which avers ,"he who is devoid of Dharmic considerations, will soon find his powers lost!"Baba ramdev has eminently got qualified to be so! He is a creation of TV! So he acts before TV only!His "leela" at Ramlila maidan on 4-5 June, 2011 has proved that he is a TV tiger only! he made big mouth on 4th that he has "fooled the Govt."At midnight when menin uniform invaded hiscastle, he jumped from the dais,adorned woman's dress and tried to sneak out! But was caught and bundled off to Haridwar!What a leader!He and he only is soley responsible forthe consequences! At Haridwar he continued to fast! Onthe sixth day, TV showed him being examined by doctors!All these establish that he is "fake sanyasi"!He has amassed wealth charging his "bhaktas" according to his "Tariff Card onlt!"If media ignores him, he will settle down1


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