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Rise and rise of Baba Ramdev

Today:-Oct – Baba Ramdev was born in 1968 in Saidalipur village in Haryana to farmer Ram Niwas Yadav and his wife Gulabo Devi. They named him Ram Kishen. As a young boy, Ram Kishen was hit by a paralytic attack that affected the left side of his face. In 1977, he borrowed a book from a local sadhu and started practicing yoga which, he says, almost cured him but for the squint in his left eye. The story goes that inspired by yoga he left for the Himalayas in search of moksha and spent three years near Gangotri. “Till I went to the Himalayas I was only thinking about myself. There, I realized my purpose. To strive for one’s own moksha is not enough, the goal should b greater good.”
He returned to Haridwar as Ramdev in 1993and started teaching yoga to two students on the banks of the Ganga. One of them introduced him to a Gujarati merchant, Jivraj Bhai Patel, who took him to Surat, where Ramdev held his First yoga camp for about 200 people. He later started running similar camps in different parts of the country. The following year, Ram Nivas Garg, one of his yoga camp organizers in Delhi gave Ramdev Rs 50,000 to make ayurvedic medicines for malaria and kala azar (leishmaniasis), that particularly affects parts of Assam. “That was the first time we made medicines and took them to Dibrugarh and Udalguri in Assam,” says Ramdev. Balkrishna recounts how in Udalguri the duo faced resistance from Christina missionaries who suspected their motives. “But Bodo Militants active in that region understood that we were only serving the poor and the sick and had no religious agenda. A group of militants finally met us, and they appreciated our work,” says Balkrishna. Two decades later, Ramdev has now been allotted 750 acres in Chirang, one of the four districts under the Bodland Territorial Area Districts to start a school and gaushala where a programme to cross-breed cows and the indigenous mithun bulls is planned.
In 1995, with Rs 3.5 lakh donated by Jivraj Patel and Rs 1.5 lakh fro other “well-wishers”, Ramdev and Balkrishna started Divya Pharmacy, an aurvedic hospital and research centre in Kankhal, Haridwar. The turning point, says Ramdev, came in 2001 when he started appearing in a 20-minute yoga programme on Sanskar channel in the 6.45 am slot-bare-chested, twisting and contorting his body. It was a show that got him immediate national attention, and people across the country started to recognize him. Three years later, he shifted to the more popular Aastha channel, which broadcast his yoga sessions live. Today, Astha is almost wholly owned by Ramdev’s aides while Patanjali holds a majority stake in Sanskar.

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