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My speech at Patanjali Yogpeeth – on my vision for a new India – is now on youtube

On either 19 or 20 December (I forget which), Swami Ramdev requested me to outline my vision for a new India. With very limited time to prepare and think, I jotted down a few key points and spoke for a few minutes. Please give me feedback both on the content and the presentation style. I hope I was able to get my message across, at least in outline.

Thanks to Swami Ramdev for giving me the opportunity to speak, and to Patanjali Yogpeeth for uploading this video. If someone can combine into a single video on vimeo, etc. please consider doing so. 

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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24 thoughts on “My speech at Patanjali Yogpeeth – on my vision for a new India – is now on youtube
  1. KK Verma

    Dear Sanjeev,
    We all family members enjoyed this speech delivered at Haridwar. First time in Indian history, some intellectual daring to give vision for today’s India and future India.

    India can do 10 times better and it has to do it. This has to be done in our generation otherwise our next generation will face tougher challenges with their competitors.

    India needs good policies and good leaders who dare to take steps. The ills of society can be eradicated only then.

    Today when our women are being raped mercilessly and brutalized, no body is thinking about imparting sex education to our boys and girls. With immediate effect, Indian Government should introduce sex education in schools and provide free pornographic materials to our youths.

    India is in wrong direction and I believe that person like you Snajeev can bring some hope. We have high hope on you.

  2. Rakesh Bhatt

    The msg enables to think along unconventional tangent.Easy to grasp and interesting to listen.My mother with no interest in political and governance vedanta thoroughly enjoyed and understood.

    The way of presentation of ideas is more like a teacher and less like a leader.this needs attention.

  3. AD

    Sir, good speech. The compulsion to keep the speech simple (keeping in view the audience) and your lack of eloquence in hindi were a hindrance – in getting your best ideas across.

    Do you know Subramanian Swamy, Prof Vaidyanathan, Gurumurthy etc? If you do and if you could do a lecture/presentation (in English) to MBA students (or the like) who would better understand & appreciate your ideas – would be so much better.

    The material in your blog – about how our govt policies don’t follow rules of basic economics, where we are going wrong, what various studies & papers say, arthashastra, chanakya on various matters of governance etc – are all very interesting topics. All you need is a place to present your ideas & vision. You would be an instant hit.

    If you have something worthwhile to ‘present’ you should ask Ramdev ji to introduce you to Swamy sir and others – and provide you a suitable platform to present your ideas. Your contribution will definitely be appreciated. And I believe you have a LOT to contribute…

  4. Jack

    Unquestionably you’ve an excellent writing style (very provocative!) but that speech was banal and the presentation was jejune. Your speech is not as good as your writings and somehow you missed the point of cardinal significance, i.e, the idea of classical liberalism.

    The whole speech was lacking direction and end up in ambiguity.You don’t need to believe me but it is clearly visible that the audience was showing a surprising apathy towards your speech.

    You need to brush up on public speaking skills and bolster your confidence too. You’re a knowledgeable man but I noticed fear in your body language and the way you were delivering speech. My dear sir, if you’re a speaker presenting on stage, all I want to say, “Confidence is like your shadow, it disappears in the darkness of ignorance and fear.” I hope you get my message. All the best.

  5. sheila

    You say ‘sarkar should not do vyapar’ but wax eloquent about a ‘Sadhu’ doing vyayapar and also trying to get into ‘satta’.
    This is a shameful thing that you have done. The Indian tax payer wasted its money sending you for a PhD in Economics. Your mind is medieval and attitudes Manuvadi.
    Your English is terrible. So is your Hindi. You are no Economist. No wonder the Australian Govt is keeping an idiot like you on retainer.
    Shame on you.

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks to those who found my talk useful. My weaknesses should not distract from the message.

    Jack, it was not necessary for me to talk about any “school” of thought. The focus was on key points about what liberty means.

  7. Sarvesh

    Good to see that Baba Ramdev is open to hear different views.

    @Sheila For a liberal sadhu is also a citizen and from that perspective it doen’t matter if he is doing vyapaar or not until he is doing it lawfully.

  8. RC

    @Sheila – Is a display of intellectual bankruptcy and complete and utter economic illiteracy of average person of India.

    Why should a “Sadhu” not sell any product? Who has forced you to buy the Sadhu’s product? Is there any coercion involved there, as opposed to action of government?

    Generations of Indians have grown up in an environment where “Statism” is the dominant and unchallenged way of thinking, and it is so ingrained that it has been internalized. Shaking people out of it is a tall task. All the best Sanjeev-ji.

    The speech has to be kept simple which you did (throwing jargon in the speech actually hurts the purpose of the speech). A little shorter speech with pre-written emphasis points could enhance the effect. Rajesh Jain (who is running had good suggestions on his old blog( about speech and construction of a speech.

  9. sriram

    Actually, I am not a native Hindi speaker and could follow the speech very nicely.. I think the audience also got it and you emoted pretty well. Reforms to the administrative system are a no-brainer.

  10. allwyn


    I didn’t watch the whole speech but only the first video and I’d say yes you were deflecting here and there like when you say “sarkaar jahan jati hai waha maut hai” but yes using jargon was no option either as the audience there wouldn’t get it so I think you should have used straight examples like how BSNL/MTNL/AirIndia are in losses and still on with TaxMoney and how vodafone/airtel do an excellent job, the same goes for all other public sector units. That govt licensing/permits causes corruption and even opening a bar or driving a rickshaw has become hard to do. How limits on election spending are impossible to maintain etc etc. All others from BFN – school, health, how IITs subsidize future rich and so on.

  11. Shiela

    Sarvesh writes @Sheila For a liberal sadhu is also a citizen and from that perspective it doen’t matter if he is doing vyapaar or not until he is doing it lawfully.
    Sarvesh, a Sadhu doing vyapar is not a Sadhu according to Hindu Law. Is it lawful to neglect or kill one’s Guru? That is what Baba Ramdev has done. He has illegally acquired vast assets not as a businessman but as a Swami.
    Dr. Sabhlok, in the video, has called him Swamiji in Hindi. The meaning of Swamiji is not ‘businessman’ but ‘Holy Man’.
    Sarvesh, your comment displays a very cheap mentality.

    Now let me turn to a person called RC who says @Sheila – Is a display of intellectual bankruptcy and complete and utter economic illiteracy of average person of India.
    Why should a “Sadhu” not sell any product? Who has forced you to buy the Sadhu’s product? Is there any coercion involved there, as opposed to action of government?

    My reply to RC is- you are a stupid fool. The reason a Sadhu can not sell any product is because that is against the vyavahara sutras of the Sadhu Sangh. This is a fundamental tenet of Hinduism.
    A person having knowledge of Indian culture would not address a businessman as ‘Swamiji’ unless he is acting mala fide.
    You may be under the impression that there is some law or other process of coercion such that people are obliged to buy products produced by Public Sector enterprises. Such is not the case. Thus your argument convicts not me but only you of economic illiteracy and inveterate stupidity.

  12. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sheila, Swami Ramdev is merely spreading the best that is found in Indian systems. There is TOTAL integrity in his systems (which are operated entirely by Acharya Balakrishna, who is not a sanyasi but brahmachari).

    I’m not really bothered about debates on “Hindu law”. I’m quite happy to absorb the best from all systems. If an ayurvedic soap works better for my skin I’ll use it, regardless of who is the manufacturer. Note I’m NOT saying it works better (I’ve not tried it except for a few days), but I’m happy to test all such products. Why reject ayurveda outright? Let there be a scientific approach.

    I’ve satisfied myself entirely that Swami Ramdev is totally above board. There is no issue of “killing” any guru. That is a ridiculous charge that has been refuted completely and repeatedly. Please conduct your own research on this issue. Don’t believe in me.

    Re: “people are obliged to buy products produced by Public Sector enterprises”

    Yes. That was true and IS true. Scooters, transistor radios, watches, milk, were ALL coercively sold by PSUs. You had to sign for a waiting list. Even today, gas and other products are COERCIVELY sold by PSUs. And public transport is mostly coercively sold by PSUs.

    The idea of a government being a businessman is so ridiculous it must be rejected outright.

    If a NON-government entity (i.e. private citizens in their private capacity) can produce and sell things, and consumers are free to choose, then there can be no coercion, no destruction of taxpayer wealth.

    Let govt do what it should but DOES NOT WANT TO DO: defence, police, justice.


  13. Shiela

    A coercive sale is one which the buyer would not enter into save for the threat of violence. You appear to be talking of a monopolistic situation. However, monopolies may arise without Govt. intervention.
    In fairness, this is not a point you made but some ‘organ donor’ who had gifted away his or her brain before writing a comment attacking me.

    If you have indeed examined the charges against Baba Ramdev and found him to be clean, it would be a public service to publish your findings. My late father, an ICS officer, made a point of investigating all such allegations in his District and would publish his findings. That was a different time. People had some fear of the Law back then.

    My son has worked for both the Kuwait Investment office and Singapore’s Temasek. Both are State owned but very well managed. He has also worked for Private Hedge funds which were appallingly managed.

    The Arthashastra and other Indian Law books prohibit ‘Swamis’ from Commercial enterprise. The reason is that people may be coerced to purchase the product by a threat of a supernatural kind.
    I notice you quote the Arthashastra in your speech. I appreciate that you are not a Hindu yourself, but the audience you were addressing were overwhelmingly so. In that context, it appears that you are saying ‘Arthashastra forbids the Govt. from setting up in business but places no such restriction on Swamis.’ This is not true. The reverse is the case.

    I would also take issue with your use of the word ‘Swadesi’ w.r.t the use of Swiss machinery in the Baba’s business enterprise. This term has a specific meaning- viz. use of indigenous technology, not merely indigenous raw materials.

    One further point- there is no mention in your speech of the following vital
    components of the Classical Liberal agenda
    1) end to subsidies
    2) restoration of a Constitutional fundamental right to Property
    3) reform of labour and bankruptcy laws- many private sector ‘Sick industries’ are worse managed than their Public Sector counterparts
    4) subsidiarity- esp. in the context of the GST

    The danger of making speeches on a rostrum with someone like this Baba who may or may not be a good man is that one may come across as just his devotee with nothing much to say for oneself. Since G.o.I has not aggressively gone for Nationalization for many years now, your central thesis looked out of date. It would be worth your while to script good slogans for other more contemporary and urgent points.
    Ronald Reagan said ‘The most terrifying words in the English language are ‘Hi, I’m from the Govt. and I’m here to help.’

  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    You raise valid points. I intend to publish a detailed report (in due course) that clarifies all allegations against Swami Ramdev. I’m currently 100 per cent convinced that he is a good man who has been badly maligned by his enemies (basically, the Congress party).

    I assure you that my central thesis is not outdated. The World Bank clearly shows that it is very hard to do business in India – the obstacles are innumerable.

    Someone was telling me yesterday that you need 17 licenses in order to establish a school. Why?



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