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Nawaz Sharif thanks PM Modi for Lahore visit; says high time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities

Sharif also expressed optimism that India-Pakistan ties would improve in the days ahead and the “spirit of goodwill generated with Modi’s visit will continue to prevail”.

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MoEF and WII to begin captive breeding of Great Indian Bustard

Annually, GIB lays one egg and two eggs on some rare occasions. But with proper nutrition, ideal location, temperatures, food and management they can produce more than two eggs per year. The ministry has envisaged that about 25-50 eggs of GIB will be collected from wild habitats over a period of five years. These eggs will be incubated, hatched and their chicks will be reared to achieve a breeding population target of 50-100.The union environment ministry has approved a budget of Rs.33.85 crore for the project. While Rs.81.7 lakh has been sanctioned for Rajasthan, Maharashtra will receive Rs.1.38 crore. Gujarat’s share of Rs.1.10 crore is still under process.

Nikhil M Ghanekar

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Cow urine used only in 5 products, says Patanjali

Reacting to the ‘fatwa’, it further said: “This is conspiracy to misguide and confuse crores of poor Muslims who want to use affordable and pure Patanjali products.” Yesterday, a Tamil Nadu-based Muslim organisation had issued a ‘fatwa’ against Patanjali alleging products were made by using cow urine, saying its usage was considered ‘haram’ (forbidden) in Islam.=Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamat (TNTJ) had alleged that cow’s urine was being used as a ‘key ingredient’ in cosmetics, medicines and food products of Patanjali that are available in open markets as well as online.

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PM Modi’s nod must for suspending IAS officers working with Centre

An order of suspension, which has not been extended shall be valid for a period not exceeding sixty days and an order of suspension which has been extended shall remain valid for a further period not exceeding 120 days, at a time, unless revoked earlier, the new rules said.

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Tamil Nadu-based organisation issues fatwa against Ramdev’s Patanjali products

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Ensuring women safety: Mobile phone companies have agreed to install panic button, says Maneka Gandhi

These girls will be specially trained to function as a bridge between the police and community women and will help in ensuring protection of women against violence of all kinds.

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The yoga guru turned company boss

Selling consumption in India on the back of spiritualism

Ramdev dissatisfied with Centre’s efforts to bring back black money

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Ramdev says that he has not forgotten the issue.

Yoga guru Ramdev on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over NDA government’s initiatives to bring back black money from foreign countries but hoped that the Narendra Modi government will soon act on the issue.”I have spoken to Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely.We have not forgotten the issue, but are giving time to Modi government. I hope he will bring back black money,” Ramdev told reporters here. Commenting on the CBI raids at Principal Sectary’s office in Delhi, Ramdev said, “It is for the first time that any CM (Arvind Kejriwal) is standing by an officer crossing his level of dignity.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Kejriwal’s attack on Jaitely, Ramdev said, “I have never heard any thing against his (Jaitley) integrity. Its unfortunate that such charges are levelled against him. I think charges against anyone should have some weight.” Speaking about the issue of intolerance, Ramdev said that it was a political matter as the fabric of the country was such that it takes along both Hindus and Muslims.The Yoga guru, who was here to inaugurate a Patanjali mega store said that from next year “they will focus on exports worth thousands of crores.” He also expressed his desire to open a chain of schools, disseminating both vedic and modern education. On allegations against Patanjali products, Ramdev said that there were elements promoting foreign products and those who oppose his ideology could go to any extent to damage “our reputation”.

JD(U) MP seeks action against Patanjali for selling products without FSSAI approval

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The controversy over a yoga guru’s noodle brand

A popular yoga guru-turned-noodlemaker has become the topic of a social media war over food safety allegations.

Modi government offers island to Baba Ramdev to develop as Yoga resort

The event was organised by industry body PHDCCI, wherein Gadkari spoke about ministry’s proposal of developing 70 such islands with lighthouses as tourist destinations.

Centre proposes Yoga resort by Ramdev
File Photo

Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday announced that centre was keen on offering a scenic island with a lighthouse and yoga on the beach to yoga guru Baba Ramdev, reports an English daily. The island would be developed as a resort that would make an ideal tourist hub for short-duration stays along with yoga, for domestic and foreign visitors. The event was organised by industry body PHDCCI, where Gadkari spoke about the ministry’s proposal of developing 70 such islands with lighthouses as tourist destinations, that they as yoga centres would attract a lot of tourists. He also mentioned that renowned ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar has also shown keen interest in developing two islands in Andaman Nicobar Island and Lakshadweep, which would be made on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have put proposals for Cinque Island in Andaman and Nicobar, and Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep to develop eco-friendly resorts only to promote water sports and diving. So, we will get less number of people and there will be no harm to the ecology of the islands,” Kakkar said. Kakkar also owns Lacadives, which is one of the country’s oldest dive operator. Ministry sources have also confirmed that any entity interested in developing islands for any tourist purpose are open to participate in the bidding process. There have been media reports that state that Ramdev has already established a Patanjali Yogpeeth on an island in Scotland.

dna Must Read for evening: 2 Indians detained in Saudi for terror links, Pune man beheads wife and more

Here are the top stories on dna.

Here are the top stories on dna:1) Two Indians with links to LeT, Indian Mujahideen detained in Saudi Arabia: Terrorists have links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. read full story here 2) Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sacks minister Asim Ahmed; challenges BJP to remove Shivraj Chouhan, Raje: Serious complaint of corruption against our Cabinet Minister Asim Ahmed has been filed. Full report here <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>3) Man walks holding severed head of his wife on road in Pune: Watch the video report here 4) Future Group partners Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved to sell FMCG products: The companies are also considering to have production partnership and jointly develop brands in the long-term. Read more.5) Veteran music director Ravindra Jain passes away: Jain was reportedly suffering from urinary infection causing a problem in his kidney. Full report here.

Ramdev’s Haridwar campus to get full-time security cover by CISF

Officials said a security audit and survey is currently on at the facility in the holy Uttarakhand town and it is expected that the government will deploy a squad of armed commandos. It would act as ‘quick reaction team’ against any terrorist attack and “the logistics bill” is to be footed by the private enterprise.

Ramdev’s Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth campus may soon get permanent security cover of paramilitary CISF, a facility extended to only a handful of private entities such as Infosys till now.Ramdev, a yoga exponent who has set up a business empire worth thousands of crores of rupees in personal care and food products sector, is himself a ‘Z’ category protectee of central paramilitary forces.Officials said a security audit and survey is currently on at the facility in the holy Uttarakhand town and it is expected that the government will deploy a squad of armed commandos. It would act as ‘quick reaction team’ against any terrorist attack and “the logistics bill” is to be footed by the private enterprise.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The access-control to the large facility would be rendered by private security guards deployed already on the campus while CISF could give a shield against any terrorist attack like incident,” they said.The survey by a special team of Central Industrial Security Force experts has been ordered after central security agencies suggested the ‘Patanjali Yogpeeth’ facility may be vulnerable to sabotage activities.The campus hosts facilities for Yoga and also has infrastructure to manufacture ayurvedic medicines and FMCG products.In June, the food and herbal park campus was provided with a platoon strength (about 35 men) CISF security cover on a temporary basis after some clashes broke out here.”The proposed cover of the central force will be on a 24X7 basis and will respond to any incident like terror attack. The commandos deployed for such tasks are armed with sophisticated weapons and communication gadgetry and the logistics bill is footed by the private enterprise,” they said.The force was tasked to secure private sector entities after an amendment in the CISF Act post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.Currently, it is securing six such concerns like Electronics City Bengaluru, Infosys campuses in Bangaluru, Mysore and Pune, Reliance Refinery and Petrochemicals in Jamnagar and the Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd project executed by the Tata group in Mundra.The seventh project where CISF men will take charge under the private security category soon is the Tata Steel project based in Odisha’s Kalinganagar.

Deal with Ramdev trust for marketing DRDO products non-exclusive: Govt

Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd a “major well recognised” Indian brand can take these products to the market more effectively.

Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd a “major well recognised” Indian brand can take these products to the market more effectively.

File Photo
The government on Thursday said the agreement signed between DRDO and yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Limited to manufacture and market some herbal supplements and food products is “non-exclusive”. It said the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) has successfully developed products based on seabuckthorn which were found to be having high nutritional values. It can be used as quality food supplements as they have very high anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. “Patanjali Ayurveda Limited has taken Transfer of Technologies (ToT) through a ‘non-exclusive’ licence from DRDO for five of the seabuckthorn-based products namely: Seabuckthorn Beverage, Seapricot Beverage, herbal Tea, Seabuckthorn Oil Soft Gel Capsules and Seabuckthorn Jam,” a statement released by the Defence Ministry said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd as a “major well recognised” Indian brand in Ayurveda and natural health products with extensive network of distributors throughout India, the statement said it can take these products to the market more effectively. “Being one of the biggest manufacturers of Ayurveda products in the country with WHO-GMP certified, Patanjali can further innovate and find more benefits for these products,” it added.These technologies were earlier given to two more companies on “non-exclusive” basis – Pravek kalp Pvt. Ltd and Ambe Phytoextracts Ltd. As these licences are non-exclusive in nature, DRDO can provide additional licences, if required, the statement said.

PM Modi, Ramdev oppose eating of meat, homosexuality: Promoting Yoga Day won’t make them true yogis

Correct branding is essential to project oneself in public life. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a master when it comes to marketing himself. Along with his friend Ramdev, the PM has managed to position himself as the champion for the cause of Yoga, India’s oldest cultural heritage and largest export.

PM Narendra Modi needs to get rid of biases to know the true meaning of yoga. AP

PM Narendra Modi needs to get rid of biases to know the true meaning of yoga. AP

One of my most favourite books is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. What makes Patanjali unique is that he is absolutely scientific. He never assumes and he never denies. Patanjali says God is one of the many ways to reach the ultimate. But it is not necessary to believe in God to reach your destination. God is a path. Some may choose that path, others may choose another. The path is not important, the goal is. God is just one of the paths.

Yoga is a science. It is neither theistic nor atheistic. And Patanjali did not create a religious ritual. In fact, far from it. Patanjali, like I said, earlier was absolutely scientific. In fact, he says one can be Godless.

The Yoga Sutra never insisted on a concept. Patanjali describes Yoga as ‘Chitta Viriddhi Nirodha’ or the opening up of the closed mind. The aim of Yoga is to reach one’s true self and to reach the goal, one has to let go of biases and prejudices.

India’s other oldest legacy, the Ayurveda, pescribes meat and fish prepared in certain ways. It understands that nature is diverse and in snow covered lands or in deserts, there may not be enough vegetation. Therefore Shiva, who we consider the greatest Yogi, and who lives on the snowy peaks of Mount Kailash at the Himalyas, is a non-vegetarian. In fact, even alcohol, is offered to him in many of his temples.

Both the Prime Minister and his friend Ramdev have often spoken out against non-vegetarian food. The Prime Minister has been very comfortable with certain meats being banned. But does this have anything to do with purity or reaching your goal? Yoga certainly doesn’t say so. All that the Yoga Sutra teaches, is that one has to drop all the biases to reach the ultimate truth. Like those against non-vegetarian food or even the ones against homosexuals.

Again, the PM and his friend Ramdev, have not been pro-homosexuals. To the extent of using the Patanjali name, Ramdev sells medicines to ‘cure’ people of the ‘ disease’ of homosexuality. With the platform he has, there will be many who will be influenced to think, that being a homosexual is impure, it is a disease. Strangely the concept of disease does not exist in Yoga. In Yoga Sutra, Patanjali writes, Yoga is about creating harmony to reach the ultimate destination.

So ancient Indian scriptures accepted and understood that homosexuality is natural. Today science concurs, that homosexuality is documented in several animal species. In ancient India, we not only accepted it but even celebrated it. So Krishna, another great Yogi, turns into Mohini and spends a night with Arjuna’s son, who had to be sacrificed, so the war could be won, but he did not want to die a bachelor and in the morning, Mohini wails and mourns for her ‘husband’ like a widow would. Or Shiva who transforms into a gopi to dance the Leela. ‎

Indian mythology has several examples of different sexual choices and to date in many cultures in India this choice is celebrated.

So when the Prime Minister ensures India votes with Russia, Pakistan and Iran, or Ramdev calls the homosexuals diseased or between them, they encourage the ban on certain foods, because to be pure and reach your destination one needs to not eat meats, one suspects that they may have perfected the asanas and branded themselves superbly with their show of the pranayamas, but if they still have prejudices, they have not yet mastered the art of Yoga.

(Tehseen Poonawalla is an entrepreneur, life coach and a student of Indian mythology.)

Yoga is India’s biggest gift to world: Rajnath Singh

Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that yoga was India’s biggest gift to the world and it cannot be tied to a particular religion, caste or sect.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

“Not only in India, but in the entire world Yoga and Ayurveda are being practiced which are integral parts of  the country’s culture,” Rajnath said while addressing a mass  yoga session on the first International Yoga Day at K D Singh Babu stadium.

“It connects the society and cannot be bound down to a particular religion, caste or sect,” he said.

“It is the biggest gift from India to the world. Either it was Buddhism, which spread in the entire world or its yoga which has been accepted by 191 countries in the world,” he said.

Despite objections by several Muslim organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a large umber of Muslims participated in the celebrations on Sunday, which witnessed participation of more than 15,000 people.

Though due to protests, Suryanamaskar was not a part of the session, ‘Om’ was still chanted in the begining and end.

The Uttar Pradesh government did not observe the day officially and had made it voluntary but a sizeable number of  government officers and employees were present at the stadium.

Rajnath said that India is advancing towards becoming the “world guru”.

The Home Minister also pointed out that yoga was a product of an amalgamation of various cultures in India. He said there were 72 sects in Islam. “It is only in India where all sects are found together. This thing is not even in any of the Islamic countries,” he said.

He said Christanity might have started in any country, but the first Church was built in Kerala. Rajnath said when Persians were exiled from Iran, they got maximum honour in India and similar was the case with Jews.

“Yoga is heritage of such a culture,” he said while  congratulating the participants, which included personnel of  paramilitary forces, Patanjali Yoga Peeth, Art of Living, Nehru Yuva Kendra and Brahmkumaris.

Later, Rajnath practiced various yoga ‘asanas’ with the participants for nearly an hour and at the end of the session, he made the participants take a resolve.

“Yoga is a differnt type of exercise which is  beneficial for health. Once we take a resolve it has to be done,” said a Muslim girl, who participated in the session while observing Roza.

PTI

Uttarakhand not to be part of International Yoga Day celebration: Harish Rawat

Uttarakhand may not officially be part of the celebrations but Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar and other organisations of saints and seers based in the city and neighbouring Rishikesh have plans to celebrate the occasion.

Harish Rawat
File Photo

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Wednesday said the state will not officially be part of the International Yoga Day celebrations slated for June 21 terming the event as a “propagandist exercise”. “We won’t be part of the International Yoga Day celebrations as we are not interested in drum-beating about it,” Rawat told reporters here. However, the Chief Minister said the state government was strongly in favour of promoting the ancient Indian discipline of physical and mental well-being and has its own plans for it. “Though not interested in any drum-beating about it we will soon come up with a detailed action plan for the promotion of yoga from September onwards,” he said. Terming the event as a mere “propaganda”, he said those keen to celebrate the event on a big scale are not as interested in yoga as in promoting their own interests.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttarakhand may not officially be part of the celebrations but Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar and other organisations of saints and seers based in the city and neighbouring Rishikesh have plans to celebrate the occasion in a big way and make it a success. A report from Haridwar said all the campuses of Patanjali Yogpeeth will hold yogic exercise sessions from 7 AM to 7.35 PM to mark the event. Five venues have been selected where programmes to mark the occasion will be held, Acharya Balkrishna told reporters in Haridwar. Programmes will be held on Patanjali campuses in accordance with the ‘International Yoga Day Common Yoga Practice Protocol’, he said. Meanwhile, a release from Raj Bhawan said a yoga training programme is underway on its premises since yesterday in which secretary to the Governor and all other officials and staff of Raj Bhavan are participating voluntarily after office hours. The programme is being conducted for an hour (5.15 to 6.15 pm) under the guidance of a yoga teacher, it said. “This programme will be held on a larger scale on the lush green campus of Raj Bhavan from 6.30 to 7. 30 AM on June 21 on the occasion of International Yoga Day,” the release added. Also Read: World Yoga Day: Let’s fight common cold with quick Yoga poses

International Yoga Day: Swami Ramdev holds preparatory session

The rehearsal yoga programme was attended by those who will participate in the main programme on International Yoga Day at Rajpath, said S J Tijarwala, spokesman of Ramdev.

Baba Ramdev performs Yoga with participants during the practice session of International Day of Yoga Rehersal Camp at Jawarhar Lal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday

PTI
Ahead of the first International Yoga Day celebrations on June 21, yoga guru Ramdev on Sunday held a preparatory session with a large number of his followers and children at Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium here.Braving rains, 5,200 teachers from his Patanjali Yogpeeth and other practioners including children rehearsed a 35-minute long “Common Yoga Protocol” formulated by AYUSH Ministry this morning.The rehearsal yoga programme was attended by those who will participate in the main programme on International Yoga Day at Rajpath, said S J Tijarwala, spokesman of Ramdev.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ramdev also demonstrated a package of Yogic Asanas that keeps people healthy and helps them lead a medicine-free life, he said.People from other faiths, including Mufti Sahmoon Qasmi, general secretary of an organisation of Imams, attended the session, he stated.Later, the yoga guru said on a microblogging site Twitter: “Whole world should get up in morning & do yoga for a medicine-free healthy life.”The Patanjali Yogpeeth organised the programme under its plan for celebration of International Yoga day globally. Arrangements were also made for telecast of the programme in several countries.The Yoga guru expressed satisfaction over large participation in the rehearsal despite the rains, terming it “Varsha Yoga” in a lighter vein.India will lead 191 nations to mark the ‘International Yoga Day'(IYD) on June 21, highlighted by a mega event here on Rajpath.

The medieval Baba Ramdev: Who needs leeches, when you have Patanjali to cure every ill?

“A chat with Baba Ramdevji in-flight I realised he is ancient believer of Vedic science when there was no religion?”

“Had 2 hours long good chat with superman baba ram dev ji during flight. Man with 4K company and no money in his a/c?”

No, I didn’t write either of those two paeans to Baba Ramdev. But stellar filmmaker, Subhash Ghai did. (Since a picture speaks a thousand words, here goes.)

And the maker of Yaadein and Taal may not be too far from the truth. Because after careful study, I have realised that Baba Ramdev is indeed no ordinary mortal.

Here is a man who can conduct miracles. He can cure homosexuality. Bring back India’s black money. Cross dress with élan. Reject a Cabinet post in Haryana, while others hold on to theirs for dear life. He can give us the gift of male offspring – and then deny it. And he has a sidekick  whose antecedents are under a cloud.

Forget Superman, even Jesus didn’t have these many talents.

Of course Ramdev’s able supporters will immediately rush to his defence to write copious comments on how he never promised us male heirs. And yes, I read his tweet where he wrote that “’Putrajivak’ is classical ayurvedic name & deals with infertility issues not gender selection”.

Baba Ramdev. AFP.Baba Ramdev. AFP.

Baba Ramdev. AFP.

This according to me is actually a strike against the good Baba-ji. What good is a Baba if he can’t guarantee his followers a male scion? I also quite liked his argument that the medicine only costs Rs 30, so he’s hardly making a profit. So by pricing it at Rs 30, he’d made sure that every misogynist bigot – across all bank balances – could lay their hands on the son-maker. A detail that seems to have eluded him, or has it?

Even if you look past this minor deficiency in his curative prowess – of not being able to guarantee us a son – the Babaji should be appreciated for his other achievements. Most recently, he was in the news because Patanjali Yogpeeth has emerged as one of the largest purchasers of red sanders.

In fact, in a recent auction by the Andhra Pradesh government, Patanjali purchased 706 tonnes of red sanders for Rs 207cr. Reportedly, Baba-ji is the only domestic purchaser of red sanders. What does he use the sanders for? You got me. But in China, the wood is used for its aphrodisiac properties. Going by the plethora of medicines available for fertility issues on his website, I can only guess that the sanders are being put to good use.

Another reason for my affection for the Baba is his focus on all things Indian and indigenous. He makes the same products as MNCs, but at a much lower price. He is also one of India’s inexplicable but heartening success stories, a first generation entrepreneur and a dropout much like that other great man, Mr Gautam Adani. According to a report in The Times Of India, Patanjali Ayurved, the company that manufactures Babaji’s products – including Putrajeev – clocked a turnover of about Rs 1,200 crore in fiscal 2015, up from about Rs 850 crore a year earlier and Rs 450 crore in fiscal 2012. In the current fiscal, Patanjali is expected to clock a turnover of Rs 2,000 crore, a 67 percent jump from the previous fiscal. Yes, he’s had a few run-ins with the income tax authorities in the past, but haters will be haters.

But the main reason I am a fan of the Baba-ji is because he is the only person who can cure the incurable. Much like Jesus, no infirmity or genetic snafu is impossible for him to fix. While looking, unsuccessfully I must add, for some pills to ensure not only immaculate conception but also a male heir to my throne, I chanced upon yet another gem in the Patanjali trove. One I’m surprised has gone unnoticed. This is the Ayurvedic package for the treatment of “mental retardation and mongoloid children”. If you’d like to buy the package, simply click here on the official website for Patanjali Ayurved  (Under FAQs, Ramdev is listed as the founder). And before it gets miraculously deleted like the Putrajivak page, here are some screenshots.

Screenshot of page selling medicines to treat 'Mongoloid' children.Screenshot of page selling medicines to treat 'Mongoloid' children.

Screenshot of page selling medicines to treat ‘Mongoloid’ children.

Screenshot from the http://www.swamibabaramdevmedicines.com website.Screenshot from the http://www.swamibabaramdevmedicines.com website.

Screenshot from the http://www.swamibabaramdevmedicines.com website.

Yes, you read it right. For as little as Rs 870, you can ensure that you prevent mental retardation in your child or cure it. And you can even treat your “mongoloid children”.

I cannot even fathom what all falls under the gamut of “mental retardation” in the world of the good Baba. If it’s cerebral palsy, someone should explain the finer points of the disease to him and let him know that it is a neurological disorder which is incurable. Not a mild case of cough that you pop some pills for and emerge cured. But of course, if he can cure homosexuality, what stops him from curing cerebral palsy?

Maybe “mental retardation” includes other disorders as well such as cretinism or even learning disorders such as dyslexia. For Baba Ramdev and Patanjali, it seems all disorders and disabilities fall under one large category – that of “mental retardation”. I suppose we should just be impressed he hasn’t called it the treatment of “mad” children. Someone should also let the talented Baba know that we no longer refer to children with Down’s Syndrome as Mongoloid and that the term is both racist as well as misleading and has not been in use since the Seventies. Next thing we know, he’ll be selling Ayurvedic treatments for ‘Chinky’ children.

I’m waiting with bated breath to hear how I’ve misinterpreted what is being sold in the bazaar of miracle cures known as Patanjali. Or maybe I should look forward instead to the announcement that people with “mental retardation and mongoloid features” will be cured if they simply attend joint yoga classes with the homosexuals every Friday at Baba-ji’s yoga ashram.

And just in case you think Babaji’s cures are limited to “mental retardation”, think again. He can also cure you of Parkinson’s disease. So what if Mayo Clinic says Parkinson’s can’t be cured, Baba-ji knows best. What do those American sods know? It is this inexplicable ability to do the impossible, which makes him Superman — one who, if the occasion demands, sometimes dresses as Lois Lane. What’s even more impressive than his ability to rid the world of homosexuals and mongoloid children is that not only is he being allowed to peddle his dubious cures, he is being awarded and rewarded by the government of the day for doing so.

There is one final reason why we should all strike a yogic pose in support of Baba Ramdev. And that’s because he takes us back to simpler times. When, if you weren’t getting pregnant, you simply visited a baba-ji or a yogi in a dimly lit obscure ashram or roadside tent lined with various jari-booti, and would discover that a little fertilised egg has found its way into your uterus. Or if you had a “mad” relative or two, or a blind one, or a gay one, you could just visit a rishi and get the damn thing exorcised out of him or her.

Baba Ramdev is our Millenium Baba, with his head in the Middle Ages, and a profit making model made purely for the 21st century. You don’t need to visit him in some tiny smelly tent propped up on the side of the street. Thanks to him and his new age solutions, you and your prejudices and low levels of awareness can simply log onto his website and find a cure to whatever social ill you feel you have been struck down with. After all, if there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s that Baba-ji will keep an eye out for you, or at least your wallet.

Now cabinet minister status: Under BJP government, the rise and rise of Baba Ramdev

When Anna Hazare sat on a fast at Jantar Mantar many did not know who the Gandhian was. But thousands joined him because the issue resonated with them. In the process Hazare became an iconic figure.

When Baba Ramdev sat on a fast in Ramlila Maidan he too was fasting to protest the same issue — bhrashtachar — corruption. But for the thousands who attended that meet, shipped in by groups like the Patanjali Yog Samiti and Bharat Swabhiman Trust, most of them with their membership cards around their necks, the issue and the man were one and the same. “We trust him, he asked us to come and so we did,” said one attendee.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with yoga guru Ramdev. Reuters/File imagePrime Minister Narendra Modi with yoga guru Ramdev. Reuters/File image

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with yoga guru Ramdev. Reuters/File image

For them, Ramdev was a godlike figure and many had stories of how his yoga and his pills and potions had cured someone of crippling arthritis or diabetes. To them he was a krantikari who was sitting on stage, fasting and hurting no one but his health.

Of course that fast ended in ignominy. On one hand the Congress government blackened its own face by the midnight raid. Baba Ramdev trying to flee in his salwar kameez hardly covered himself in glory despite all his earlier bravado.

But the amazing thing about the Baba Ramdev story is that did not spell the kiss of death for his larger-than-life mystique. The Patanjali stores still dot towns big and small in India. The faithful still swear by him. And the BJP which has long flirted with him has come out in full-fledged embrace of the man in Haryana. He is not only the state’s brand ambassador, now the Khattar government has given him full cabinet minister status.

While Baba Ramdev cannot attend cabinet meetings, he will now, according to a government spokesman, “enjoy all perks of a cabinet minister, including cars, bungalows, staff and security from the state.”

The question is why does a renunciate in saffron robes even need all those perks? Are these things he really should have any need for on top of his Z-level security?

Ramdev is hardly the first godman to woo political proximity. Dhirendra Brahmachari was notorious for his closeness to Indira Gandhi and Chandra Swami for his access to PV Narasimha Rao. The late Sai Baba enjoyed enormous political clout from his seat in Puttaparthi. Ramdev has figured out that he needs political patronage to expand his business empire and he early on decided to hitch his wagon to the Narendra Modi campaign.

That empire is already quite something. Huffington Post India estimates that sales of “swadeshi” soaps, oils, breakfast cereals and the like from his Patanjali Yogapeeth are on track to reach Rs 2,000 crore this fiscal up from Rs 450 crore in 2012. And unlike other brands who spent 20-30 percent of sales on advertising, Ramdev hardly spends anything at all. He is all the advertisement his brand needs.

And now this tie-up with the Haryana government will prove even more of a bonanza for him. The Telegraph writes that the Khattar government has decided to open 6,500 vyamshalas and hold yoga classes in state-run schools. Ramdev will oversee this and coach the personal trainers. In a way the rehabilitation of the man who fled in a salwar is complete. He is returning as the conquering hero.

It makes sense it is happening in Haryana. At his rally in Delhi, Baba Ramdev kept calling out to the faithful like a scoutmaster. How many people from Jammu and Kashmir? How many from Uttaranchal? But when he shouted out Haryana the roar was deafening. “Looks like all of Haryana has just picked up and moved here,” he chortled.

Haryana is friendly territory for him and a safe haven. It’s not surprising he has chosen to pitch his tent there now. But the question is what is the BJP getting out of this sweetheart deal?

The answer might lie in the mom and pop stores that retail his Patanjali products. From just around 150 stores in 2012, there are now some 4000 stores across India. Firstpost’s Sandipan Sharma notes that many of these outlets in North India are Yadav-owned and they are an important vote bank in UP and Mewat, across Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. By helping them set up financially viable businesses, Ramdev has earned the loyalty of many movers and shakers in the Yadav group and the BJP hopes to piggyback on that loyalty.

And with Ramdev’s products now entering the supermarket chains like Big Bazaar, Hyper City and Reliance Fresh with Amazon.com in the pipeline according to The Times of India his profile can only grow. Damodar Mall, CEO of Reliance Retail admits that while they were skeptical about Patanjali products for supermarket customers, they have been surprised by “the level of traction” his products have received at the stores.

What is amazing about Baba Ramdev is that he flaunts his high-flying lifestyle with insouciance while still projecting himself as a humble down-to-earth simple yoga guru. The thousands of middle and lower middle-class Indians who came to his rally at his behest with their bedrolls and tiffin carriers do not seem to see the contradiction between his lifestyle and his message. Whatever one thinks of Baba Ramdev and his over-the-top claims, one cannot dispute the sincerity of those who came to that rally.

That sincerity and unwavering faith in the leader is the envy of any political party. At one time it had seemed like Baba Ramdev would take the political plunge with his Bharat Swabhiman party but now thanks to the largesse of the Haryana government he is enjoying all the perks of political power without any of the headaches of electoral politics.

Karwar fishermen found the survivor Lt Commader Nikhil Kuldip Joshi afloat in unconscious state

Had it not been for a passing fishing boat Niharika which had ventured into the sea late night, the life of Lieutenant Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the ill-fated Dornier aircraft that crashed into sea on Tuesday, could not be saved. Navy officials said that it was the fisherman on Niharika, who spotted Joshi afloat in an unconscious state and alerted the coastal security number. The fishermen who belonged to one of the fishing hamlets off Karwar in Karnataka picked him up and transferred Joshi to a naval Fast Interceptor Craft.

Had it not been for a passing fishing boat Niharika which had ventured into the sea late night, the life of Lieutenant Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the ill-fated Dornier aircraft that crashed into sea on Tuesday, could not be saved. Navy officials said that it was the fisherman on Niharika, who spotted Joshi afloat in an unconscious state and alerted the coastal security number. The fishermen who belonged to one of the fishing hamlets off Karwar in Karnataka picked him up and transferred Joshi to a naval Fast Interceptor Craft.The other two naval officers, a co-pilot and an observer who is a woman were still missing till the time of going to the press. Joshi, navy officials said was however stable after being attended at naval hospital Patanjali at Karwar by doctors flown in from Mumbai and Goa.The maritime surveillance aircraft which had taken off from the naval base in Goa for a routine night training sortie ditched into sea. The incident happened about 20 nautical miles south west of Goa. The aircraft lost radar and radio contact at 10:08 pm. Joshi was found an hour later some 10 nautical miles further south from the last location of the aircraft.There are 12 ships (including two ships from Indian Coast Guard) and four aircraft involved in the search and rescue operation. But Navy officials said that considering the speed of water current which is close to four nautical miles, the search and rescue operation area had been constantly growing and their task was becoming difficult by the hour.Since its induction in Navy in early 1990s, this was the first crash involving Donnier aircraft. Navy has a fleet of 36 Donnier aircrafts. This is also first crash of a navy aircraft whose crew included a woman officer.

Yoga guru Ramdev displays wrestling skills

Yoga guru Ramdev on Monday displayed his wrestling skills at an event held at Patanjali Yogpeeth here to mark its 20th foundation day.Ramdev took part in wrestling bout with 65 kg weight category wrestler Vipin after being ushered into the ring by famous wrestler Sushil Kumar’s team. Ramdev said he had jumped into the wrestling arena to generate interest among people in indigenous games like kabaddi and wrestling and earn international prestige for the Indian games.”It was something like what ancient sage Pradatta did for yoga in his time,” he said. His close aide Balkrishna said the competition was as much for dedication to yogic discipline, restraint and vegetarianism. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was present during the wrestling and kabaddi event, gave away desi ghee canisters and a brass mace among the winners and runners up of wrestling events in both men and women categories.

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