Explaining why he has called for a boycott of all Chinese goods, yoga guru Baba Ramdev said, “China makes money out of India and helps Pakistan”. Speaking at the Express Adda in New Delhi on Tuesday, Ramdev, who was in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Express Group, and Vandita Mishra, National Opinion Editor, The Indian Express, said he was making this statement on the principle of justice and the aim is to put socio-economic pressure on the Chinese administration.
Asked about his view on calls to ban Pakistani artistes, Ramdev said, “Artistes are not terrorists. But do these people have no souls? They are only concerned about their films, earning crores and eating biryani. Why can’t they condemn the brutal killings of Indians in Uri or elsewhere?”
However, Ramdev, founder of Patanjali Ayurved which recorded a turnover of Rs 5,000 crore in the last financial year, said he was open to the idea of holding yoga camps in Pakistan as “yoga is also an art”.
He said he was also open to setting up a Patanjali unit in Pakistan, adding that “unlike the Pakistani artistes”, he was not going to “bring back any profits”. He said he would use the earnings for the welfare of the people in Pakistan.
Hailing the recent surgical strikes, he said, “Eliminating the evil is not violence. I think (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji will also decimate Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, so that people of this country forget any grudges they have with him with regard to black money and poverty alleviation… I tweeted to Modiji that he should talk about Buddha and yudhha (war) side by side. There can never be shanti (peace) without kranti (revolution).”
Asked whether he was happy with the NDA government’s performance so far, he said, “A yogi should neither be happy nor unhappy. I am stuck somewhere in the middle.” He added, “I hope Modi becomes the most successful Prime Minister of India. I trust him.”
Clearing the air on his political leanings, Ramdev said, “Politics is not my whole-time business and I shall never take up a political post.”
But he did talk at length about his personal equation with Modi and why he supported him in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. “I have known Modiji for 15 years. Before the elections, he met me and said he agrees with my dreams for India. I saw that he could fulfill my promise to have a strong alternative front to the government of the day.”
While stating that he has an “emotional attachment” with Modi, Ramdev also praised BJP chief Amit Shah. “I have seen him from very close quarters and admire his political foresight and ideological commitment. He is not thankless and for him, politics in not business.”
Ramdev, however, said he does not have a personal rivalry with Congress president Sonia Gandhi or her family.
Stating that he has friends across party lines, he said: “I was very thick with (CPI leader) A B Bardhanji. I am a man of scientific and universal thought and can’t understand why some people have a problem with saffron colour. I have no problems with beard or burqa, jeans or skirt.”
Asked who, according to him, had a better political future between Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra, Ramdev replied, “It’s their internal matter but I see more spark in Priyanka.”
Ramdev also spoke about Patanjali’s expansion plans. “At Patanjali, we are spending Rs 500 crore on research across our four verticals — food, cosmetics, herbal and home care. We are now looking at dairy also. After all, why should a Nestle make profit out of Indian cows,” he said.
He revealed that his company was allotted 400 acres of land by the Maharashtra government recently at lower rates to set up a manufacturing unit, and over 400 acres by the Uttar Pradesh government for the same purpose.
The yoga guru said he does not own a single share in the company, and still sleeps on the floor in his hut. “In the country of Mahatma Gandhi, who believed in swadeshi, I saw MNCs making a killing with foreign-made products. Patanjali was a reaction to that. Whether you want to wear jeans or skirt, it should be swadeshi,” said Ramdev, whose company is now making a foray into manufacturing jeans, under the label Paridhaan.
Explaining his business philosophy, he said, “When yoga soars, it becomes udyog (industry). And when it’s related to the country, it becomes rajyoga (prosperity).”