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Swami Ramdev, India’s Corruption Fighting Yoga Super Hero Will Fast Til Death

in Public Display of Yoga, World News, YD News

Oh, now all of a sudden everyone wants to talk about Baba Ramdev.

Yes, the same Swamster Ramdev, yogevangelist who owns a piece of Scotland, has a 24/7 yoga TV channel with millions of viewers, has announced his desire to “shoot dead” corrupt politicians and has declared yoga the cure for everything, including cancer and the “defect” of homosexuality. The same Ramdev who has stepped up to the yoga-podium and has more than a few opinionated views about how India should be run, and has consequently entered the realm of politics with his vocalized rants, most recently a hunger strike to protest government corruption and “black money” stashed away in foreign banks. Captain Swamster to the rescue!

The New York Times is writing about the latest “firestorm” he’s caused, and his antics are spurring The Wall Street Journal to publish something entitled “The Baba Ramdev Story Told in Yoga Poses.”

Should you care about him? Eh, maybe. We’ve asked boatloads of yogis here if they ever heard of this Ramdev character and we get the same blank, blinking stare. Who?

So he’s not a Western Yoga Don quite yet (he does have a compound in Texas), but he sure is causing a ruckus over east. His much hoopla’d fasting sit-in at the capital, New Delhi, was raided by the police over the weekend before the first hunger pangs set in. “The government wanted to kill me,” said Ramdev on national television hours after he and his devoted followers had their hunger strike party broken up by police officers spraying tear gas. The government claims he was inciting a riot. Still Ramdev escaped and continues his fast at home in Haridwar, and will do so “until death.” Along with tens of thousands of followers.

If you don’t think he’s serious, if you don’t think he’s powerful enough to provoke action with drastic measures, as a public icon and yoga figure, you obviously haven’t seen his bahya kumbhaka in front of microphone pose.

Maybe you don’t care. No worries. We’ll keep an eye out for the fundamentalyogavangelist world takeover and keep you posted!

YD Flashback:

Swami Ramdev Founds Scotland ‘Peace Island’, Challenges Bikram for Title of Yoga ‘Don’

by admin on October 5, 2009

On one hand we’re all like ‘heyyy rock on, yoga’s reaching new heights in acceptance and wouldn’t this make the world a better, more peaceful place?’ And then we’re reminded that anything on this large a scale means politics are inevitably involved, not to mention the cultural impact. Sure there’s lots of YogaPop these days – even Ramdev accepted an offer to star on India’s version of Big Brother, Big Boss 3, though had to decline due to his strict conditions – but overall it’s kinda nice to have yoga more widely accepted, even if we encounter the occasional yogatart or are led to believe our butts will be enlightened by wearing expensive spandex.

Because we’re feeling all saucy with told you so on top, the Greatest Hits:



24 comments… add one
  • Meri

    I don’t really see how hunger strikes and huge gatherings of followers in public places will do much but raise ridicule. I’ve always seen it as the best way to make a change is do good and pay it forward. This whole bashing of government doesn’t make me want to support him.


  • business as usual in India.

    no true “holy man” would want to shoot anyone dead.
    unless you’re nothing but a religious fundamentalist and they’ve already done the world enough damage.

    just sayin’

  • For the record, Swami Ramdev is a mega-star in India. The “boatload of yogis” you asked haven’t been to India recently (and by recently, I mean the last 5 years).

    Whether you like/agree with him or not, he has raised awareness of yoga (well, at least pranyama) among millions of middle-class, TV-owning Indians who are disconnected from their own cultural heritage.

    This kind of public protest is very common in India; and, in fact, he is shadowing the much more credible/respected Anna Hazare, who staged an anti-corruption “fast unto death” about a month or two ago — and successfully had an anti-corruption bill introduced into parliament.

  • john

    He’s well known in a lot of places. Maybe not the US, but he’s high profile internationally. His pranayama is interesting; he’s maybe the first to widely distribute a systemised “medicinal” set of pranayama guidelines.

    Like anything else of this type once it reaches a certain size your organisation can attract some real talent and his is no exception.

    As for the corruption thing – he’s in bed with the BJP – that’s a worse kind of corruption than the kind threatening India’s economy.

  • …but then won’t he be dead soon?

  • Chris

    Ramdev Baba is a Superstar in India, who has distributed Yoga-knowledge for free to the Millions of Indians, who had unfortunately, forgotten their own 5000-year-old Treasure of Yoga.

    He distributes this Yoga- knowledge at Yoga-camps held all over India, and via a twice-a-day Yoga-program on TV.

    He has rallied the people of India to boycott the nasty sugar-water (aka Coke and Pepsi) that is dumped on India by greedy multinationals.

    Now, Ramdev Baba has taken on the corrupt Congress-Party, a Political Party in India which has, by hook or by crook, held on to the reins of Power for most of the 64 years that India has been independent from the British thugs.

    Post-Independence, Mahatma Gandhi, in a fit of King-Lear-kind of senility, handed over the keys to the Throne of Free India to his evil protege Jawaharlal Nehru, overlooking the just-claims of his good protege, Vallabhbhai Patel. Ever since then, the Nehru Clan has indulged in Dynastic Rule over the greatest Democracy of the World, with Nehru family members fraudulently inheriting the Prime Ministership of India. Thus :
    Jawaharlal –> Indira —> Rajiv –> Antonia Maino —> Raoul Maino

    Currently, a dubious , poorly-educated Italian woman, Antonia Maino, the widow of Rajiv is ruling India by proxy, with the current Prime-Minister being little more than Play-Dough in her evil hands.
    Meanwhile, her layabout son Raoul Maino waits in the wings to inherit his Prime-Ministership.

    Jawaharlal Nehru (some say Jawaharlal Khan) laid the groundwork for the patently anti-Hindu policies followed by successive Congress Governments of India. Thus, today, the Hindus of India find themselves marginalized in their own country, with the Congress Government bending over backwards to accommodate the evil Moslems of India.

    The Congress Party has scammed the People of India of more than a Trillion US $, and has spirited away this wealth to their private Swiss Bank Accounts. It is this massive scam that Baba Ramdev is currently bravely challenging.

    The BJP is the political-party in India which speaks for the Hindus of India. So, BJP = Good, Congress = Bad.

    • Sam

      Quite a biased post Chris. BTW there are non-Hindus in India. Don’t they count??

      Weren’t you writing earnestly about respecting ahimsa in another blog post?? Where does Ramdev’s call to kill corrupt politicians fit into that?

  • If you are unaware of India’s complicated political issues, please be aware that the message posted by Chris, above, is partially accurate and largely loaded with his own personal opinions and biases. If you want to know what’s going on, do your homework, practice due diligence and don’t take the word of one very opinionated Internet commentator.

  • Chris


    Verily do I speak the truth.

    Hinduism, therefore Yoga.
    No Hinduism, then no Yoga.

    The Congress Party of India is blatantly, nakedly, virulently, cruelly anti-Hindu. This is not just my opinion, but also the opinion of India’s 800 Million Hindus.

    As the Congress is anti-Hindu, it is, by extension anti-Yoga.

    So, all Yogis should be supporting Baba Ramdev in his campaign to expose the and oust the Congress-Dynasty of India.

    So, Breathedramgo, which side are you on ?

  • I am not follower of Baba Ramdev and don’t know he is a good or bad person but at that time he is doing for the welfare of nation. If he got success in bringing the black money of these corrupt politicians then it can be used in the development of nation…. But these corrupt politicians will stop Baba for bringing money in INDIA after all these politicians had deposited a lot of black money in foreign banks.

    At present we must support the effort of BABA for nation and anti-corruption.

  • Sometimes it’s hard to take him seriously, but in India he is the most popular yogi around, perhaps along with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living and truly commands the following of millions of devotees.

  • if anyone here wants to argue about Indian politics, take it to indiamike.com where there’s a thread going on right now about this, NOT a yoga blog! frankly, many (most?) modern American yogis have not been to India (as BDG pointed out) and have no idea what Indian politics are about.

  • Idiots have a clear understanding as to what does Anti Corruption means. Bringing Black money to India doesn’t mean Anti Corruption you need to use some other term for that you idiots. Well what happens once all the Black money is brought back to India, if the police officers, RTO’s, Registry officers & any individuals involve or get bride Corruption still will exist. Its a basic understanding you can’t be an educated fool or probably you need to find a different term for that. Guys need to go to school again to find out what does Anti corruption means………….

  • chris

    Baba Ramdev is The Man, The Real Deal.

    Baba Ramdev fasted for nine straight days, to protest against the massive corruption committed by the Congress-Party-led Government of India ( More than 1 Trillion $ of Indian-tax-payer money is presently rotting away, in the private Swiss-Bank-Accounts of the corrupt few).

    Thankfully, Baba Ramdev was persuaded to end his 9-day-old fast by his fellow-Indian-seer, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

  • anonymous

    Like, many other common Indians, I am also in dilemma to go fully in support of Ramdev baba or not. But, at the same time, I have no doubt to come forward in support of the moral issues he is raising. Whether his way of protesting is right or wrong that is a different question.
    Firstly, he is the person who helps the yoga and ayurveda to reach and get popularity among today;s Indians, who are about to forget their own ancient culture and heritage. His efforts to help people in leading a healthy life are definitely commendable.
    Secondly, his efforts to stop unrestricted use of allopathic drugs are also creditable. These drugs are now a days under serious scrutiny of modern medical researchers, due to their unavoidable very very harmful side effects on human body.
    And finally, he is fighting against all the right causes of corruption…..to bring the black money back home, from the foreign banks, to introduce Indian languages at the highest educational level, to bring necessary amendments in the current patent law, in order to help the Indian drug manufacturers, as well as, to check huge unrestricted cash flow from this country (to fill the pockets of multi-national companies), to request to stop producing currency note, more than 100, to have a check on illegal cash dealings, are all the big steps in his stony and slippery path.
    I don’t find any of them are morally or ethically wrong…being a true Indian every one of us should come forward and support him.
    But, unfortunately, I find exactly the opposite pictures….where, our so-called respectable politicians, (being of any party) are not leaving any single opportunity to humiliate him and his intensions, just to pull back his mass support or trying to get political mileage out of it…..It seems from their comments on Ramdev Baba’s issue, that in India, a film star, a cricketer (who are either retired or banned because of scam, from their fields), an illiterate, a criminal (even during their imprisonment period!!) a don can be in the politics, they can do just anything with the fate of more than 100 million people of India, but an yoga guru….no, no he can’t talk about our national issues, can’t teach them a lesson on politics…NEVER!!!
    Also, it is more painful, when I find the so-called educated people like us, are so indifferent, so least bothered about social and national issues, until and unless those hits them personally, their family and near- dear ones. Moreover, I personally in touch of few people who are more curious to know, why Baba Ramdev could not sustain more than 9 days while Swami Nigamanada died after 116 days of starving…..don’t even knowing their concerns, their demands, for what those two became ready to risk their lives!!!!!!!! When some one is trying to make them aware, they comment like “Oh! How impractical…I spend ~Rs 10000/- in weekends, on outing and shopping….if 500 and/ 1000 rupee notes are abandoned then I have to carry so many notes!!!” …What to say after this……….
    Today’s Indian don’t know about Swami Vivekanada, about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, about their mission, about their sacrifice for the country……..but fully aware of all the film artists (even of Hollywood’s), latest video games, about all fast food centers, bars etc…and they proudly say that, what make sense in cultivating those old issues…You should be aware of current affaires…no harm in it…but if you just ignore and forget your culture your history, don’t pay minimum tribute to your real heroes then you are definitely committing a crime, I think.
    I don’t want to compare those great souls with Baba Ramdev, but my only request to all of my countrymen, just to be little bothered about national issues, just be little more responsible and passionate about our country, our society. If common people become little more aware about the national policies, about their social responsibilities, then these bloody politicians can’t be able to make fool out of us any more.

  • Question is not Wether Baba is dongi or no real Question is Why Baba is figthing
    Baba is fighting against Black Money and Corruption
    Real Question is why goverment is not doing to ragain India Black money
    Baba is not figthing for himself he is figthig for India Indian people to ragain Indias Black money
    People r saying Baba should do only yogas
    then Kapil sibbal is Advocate why he is in politics
    Baba has all writes to fight
    Goverment dont want to ragain black money that why they are saying Baba is Dongi
    We are againt corruption
    We are with Baba Ramdem

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