Controversial Remarks by Baba Ramdev
Baba Ramdev, the founder of Patanjali Group of Institutions, came into limelight with his contributions in the field of yoga as a teacher and also in Ayurveda, politics and agriculture. He popularised yoga in India through his mass yoga camps.
Baba Ramdev’s Statement on Beheading
In more recent times, Baba Ramdev has been stealing the limelight because of some very controversial statements made on various political topics, with the most recent being spouted during a conference for harmony of the Rashtrya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Rohtak (Haryana). The media quoted him saying that he would have “beheaded” those who refuse to chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” were it not for the law of the land. The yoga guru said, “We respect this country’s law and Constitution, otherwise if anybody disrespects Bharat Mata, we have the capability of beheading not one but thousands and lakhs.”
This remark came a day after the country’s largest Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa saying, “‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is not in consonance with Islam and we will not say it”. According to them, “Bharat Mata” violates the Islamic tenet against idol worship and they would show their respect for India with slogans like ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ and ‘Madre Vatan’ (motherland).
This remark of Baba Ramdev saw a wave of arguments across the political spectrum. The Congress and the Left slammed the yoga guru, and described this remark as a violent action & public intimidation. The controversy escalated even further with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stating, “Those who can’t praise Bharat Mata don’t have the right to live in this country.”
A local court in Rohtak has already asked the police to probe ‘hate speech allegations’ against him. This development came a day after a local Congress leader moved to the court.
Other Controversial Remarks by Baba Ramdev
In April 2014, Baba Ramdev was booked by Uttar Pradesh police for his controversial remarks targeting Rahul Gandhi. Ramdev, who has been supporting BJP, had remarked on Rahul Gandhi saying, “He goes to Dalits house for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a dalit girl, then his luck could have clicked and he would have become the Prime Minister.” The Congress demanded a public apology stating that this comment was anti-Dalit and an insult to them. Baba Ramdev later withdrew his comment saying that he had used the phrase ‘honeymoon period’ in the political sense.
In November 2015, Baba Ramdev raked up a controversy when he said that he was denied the prestigious Nobel Prize because he is a ‘black’. He said, “If I would have been a fair-skinned person, the Nobel Prize would have been awarded to me till now for my work in the field of yoga. But, it has been denied to me because I am black.”
Baba Ramdev supported the controversial remark of Jamiat Ulema’s Mufti Muhammad Ilyas, who said that Lord Shiva was first prophet of Muslims. He defended the remark saying that Mufti had established an example of brotherhood.
Just before the 2015 assembly elections in Bihar, Baba Ramdev found himself in a war of words with RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav over the issue of a mob killing an individual in Uttar Pradesh for eating beef. Lalu alleged that beef was the meat of the poor in India and Hindus eat it too. Ramdev, who is close to the ruling BJP and has campaigned for the party in polls, said that Prasad had betrayed his own Yadav community, believed to be descendants of Lord Krishna. He said, “By saying that Hindus also eat beef, Lalu Yadav has insulted Yaduvansh (Krishna’s lineage)”. Ramdev also added that Lau Prasad Yadav “can be a descendant of Kans (demon), not Krishna.”