He was returning home from school-with his friends- like the other days.
But that day was destined to be a lot different than the other days- a day that perhaps changed the course of his life. He suddenly felt that his left foot is unable to carry his body- he fell on the ground- grappled with pain. His face is twisted.
He was taken to a government hospital-where the doctors declared that the young boy had a paralysis attack. For his parents the future dream was broken like glass. But it was not so for the boy.
Is he an ill fated boy for whom all roads are closed? Not exactly!
It was rise from the ashes like the phoenix.
His physical disability channeled his life to a new course- a course that made him phenomenon in India. Constant stirring of his physical and mental strength not only helped him to conquer his deformities but also He became synonymous with healing with yoga-he became the face of Indian entrepreneurship in the backdrop of aggression of multinational FMCG corporate- he became a prominent face in the civil society movement against corruption-and the list is endless!
‘The Baba Ramdev Phenomenon-From Moksha to Market’– by Kaushik Deka-a senior Associate Editor of India Today, is an account of the transforming life of the famed Yoga Guru. It is his debut book and he chooses his subject wisely. A full length cover story on the famed person on India Today inspired him to make an honest attempt to search for the success mantra of this monk turned enterprenuer. Not only his proximity with Baba Ramdev enabled him to judge the actual man but also helped him to judge the mettle in which the ‘Corporate Sadhu’ is made of! Kaushik in this book recollected-‘Despite all his success, business acumen political connections, he is still childlike in his in his enthusiasm and probably opens up too early to strangers. He is still the village boy at heart. He is emotionally charged and goes carried away, often inviting trouble. As time passed, I witnessed more of the later.’
Kaushik narrated well the inspirations behind the making of the Baba. Ram Kishen –The name, by which the small neighborhood of Saidalipur knew Baba Ramdev, was not to be defeated so easily. Maharshi Dayanand Swarasati gave him mental courage while his decade long struggle against physical inability finally bore fruit. In this connection I must say Kaushik wrote in good journalistic English-has a natural flair that keeps his readers engaged till the end. So the joy of reading doubles itself.
Baba Ramdev went to the Himalayas-perhaps to seek enlightenment within him. But there he realized consciousness of different kind altogether-from the smaller world of ‘me’ he breathed into the bigger world of ‘us’-he realized it is better to work for the benefit of others rather than being a parasite. And the journey started. The fire was ready to be ignited.
It begun humbly-but begun steadily. The yoga camp became the stepping stone of Baba’s career. What begun with two people-soon started to attract more and more people. Kaushik wrote- “The number of camps and people attending those camps started increasing. His ways was simple- thirty minutes morning breathing exercises coupled with a few yoga postures promising faster results, even within a month. He knew what people wanted-continuing good health was not appealing enough, but they were desperate to get rid of common ailments-diabetes, heart issues and obesity .He packaged his offering well-much like instant noodles –and is fitted perfectly with the busy schedule of modern life. What made his success easier was his natural gift of the gab and a sense of humour. He continued in a language that the mass understands.”
Controversies and obstacles are both part of Baba’s life. But as Kaushik has pointed out, these obstacles only acted as catalysts to his success. Perhaps like Kabir Bedi in Kranti, Baba too had murmured-‘Log jahan par soochna band kar dete hai … main wahan se soochna shuru karta hoon’ (where people stop thinking- Where people stop thinking … I start thinking from there). And Kaushik made a very neutral detailed narrative of those controversies. It is a journalist’s true way of describing events- never getting carried away by personal relations. The mysterious disappearance of Swami Shankar Das-co founder of Divya Yog Mandir is one of these controversies. Then who can forget the allegation coined by CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat that Divya Pharmacy is using animal bones in some of its Auyrvedic products. But as Kaushik has rightly pointed out, these obstacles only helped Ramdev to go from strength to strength. He too has complete control over his words and works- always beaming with confidence! Commenting on his success of amla juice he recollected-‘Many had suggested (to) make pickles, but juice was a better option. There was scepticism if people would accept amla juice, but I knew they would trust my wisdom. I became the brand ambassador of amla Juice and the rest is history.” If you think how a monk can talk in such corporate language- well, you have to rethink. Because not only this monk has been able to make MNC’s such as Hindustan Unilever to rethink their business strategy in the face of ‘Carpet Bombing’ (as Kaushik has aptly pointed out) of Patanjali group of industries-but also cut the market shares of corporate savages. Kaushik presented a detailed statistical analysis of high and low tides of Patanjali Empire and other MNCs. Analysis has been backed by extensive research and contemporary news synthesis. What is noteworthy that at the footnote there is mention of web pages where that particular news piece had appeared.
Discussion will be incomplete without mentioning of role of Baba Ramdev in contemporary politics. He came to the political arena as a crusader against corruption. Then his journey continued –he became near to somebody –went away from somebody-continued with his ideology with ‘bold’(well-readers have to judge themselves)moves-went on to became the kingmaker( ?)-some fun packed incidents- Kaushik made it all too enjoyable. There are information, information and more information- but written in an intriguing way. Reader’s boat will sail freely without getting struck in sand pile of dry information. But I personally think that it would be fantastic if Kaushik garnishes his platter with a dash of humour and wit!
In the same way as Baba Ramdev does!