IN A strongly worded letter, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Sunday asked Baba Ramdev, the founder of Patanjali Ayurved, to “completely withdraw” his “objectionable and unfortunate statement” against allopathy in relation to Covid treatment as it can “break the morale of doctors and weaken our fight against the pandemic”.
The Union Minister posted the letter on Twitter, tagging Ramdev. Late Sunday, Ramdev responded to the tweet with a letter of his own in which he wrote that he “withdraws” his statement. “We have also, by using ayurveda and yoga, saved many lives during the pandemic; this also should be respected,” Ramdev wrote.
The exchange — both the letters were in Hindi — comes a day after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) sought action against Ramdev under the Epidemic Diseases Act for what it described as a “vitriolic accusation” against modern medicine.
Incidentally, in February, the IMA had raised objections to Harsh Vardhan sharing the stage with Ramdev during the launch of Patanjali product Coronil. On February 19, Patanjali Ayurved said the tablet had received certification from the Ayush Ministry as a medicine supporting Covid treatment as per the WHO’s certification scheme. It later clarified that the certification was granted by the Centre and WHO does “not approve or disapprove any drugs”.
माननीय श्री @drharshvardhan जी आपका पत्र प्राप्त हुआ,
उसके संदर्भ में चिकित्सा पद्दतियों के संघर्ष के इस पूरे विवाद को खेदपूर्वक विराम देते हुए मैं अपना वक्तव्य वापिस लेता हूँ और यह पत्र आपको संप्रेषित कर रहा हूं- pic.twitter.com/jEAr59VtEe
— स्वामी रामदेव (@yogrishiramdev) May 23, 2021
On Sunday, referring to the purported comments from a recent Ramdev video on social media, Harsh Vardhan wrote that “calling the allopathy treatment for Corona as tamasha (farce), bekaar (worthless), and diwaliya (lame duck) is unfortunate”.
Stating that “citizens are extremely upset about your comments on allopathy and doctors”, he wrote that “it is extremely unfortunate that you said that lakhs of corona deaths have occurred due to allopathy medicine”.
On Saturday, following the IMA’s criticism, Patanjali Yogpeeth general secretary Acharya Balkrishna had said in a statement that Ramdev has “no ill-will against modern science and good practitioners of modern medicine” and “what is attributed against him is false”.
संपूर्ण देशवासियों के लिए #COVID19 के खिलाफ़ दिन-रात युद्धरत डॉक्टर व अन्य स्वास्थ्यकर्मी देवतुल्य हैं।
बाबा @yogrishiramdev जी के वक्तव्य ने कोरोना योद्धाओं का निरादर कर,देशभर की भावनाओं को गहरी ठेस पहुंचाई।
मैंने उन्हें पत्र लिखकर अपना आपत्तिजनक वक्तव्य वापस लेने को कहा है। pic.twitter.com/QBXCdaRQb1
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) May 23, 2021
“It is necessary to mention that the event was a private event and Swamiji was reading out a forwarded WhatsApp message received by him and various other members who were participating in the event,” Balkrishna said.
In his response Sunday, Ramdev wrote that he respects the fact that allopathy doctors have put “their lives at risk” to save others.
He reiterated that he was reading out a forwarded WhatsApp message received by him and various other members who were participating in the event. He also said that “some allopathy doctors” should not “disrespect” ayurveda and yoga, by calling it pseudoscience.
In the 2-minute video posted earlier on social media, Ramdev is also purportedly heard alleging that allopathic drugs have failed in Covid treatment.
In his letter, Harsh Vardhan suggested that Balkrishna’s clarification on Saturday was “inadequate”. “I hope, by giving a serious thought over this issue, and by respecting the emotions of corona warriors worldwide, you would completely withdraw your objectionable and unfortunate statement,” he wrote in the letter to Ramdev.
“During the pandemic, allopathy and the doctors associated with it, have given a new life to crores of people…In this fight, the way the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, have put their lives at risk to save the lives of others, and the commitment towards their duty and human service is unprecedented and incomparable,” his letter said.
“In these circumstances, you calling the allopathy treatment for Corona as tamasha (farce), bekaar (worthless), and diwaliya (lame duck) is unfortunate. Today lakhs of people are recovering and going home. The country’s fatality rate is only 1.13 percent and recovery rate is 88 per cent; behind this is the important contribution of allopathy and doctors,” it said.
“You should know that diagnosis for smallpox, polio, ebola, SARS, and tuberculosis has been offered by only allopathy. Today, vaccines have become an important weapon against fighting the pandemic; this is also due to allopathy. In your clarification, you have only said that your intention was not against modern medicine and good doctors. I find your clarification inadequate…Your statements are not only disrespectful for the Corona warriors but deeply hurt people’s emotions,” it said.
“In these times, calling the current treatment protocols as farce, not only raises questions on allopathy but also on the ability, competence, intentions of the doctors; this is disrespectful. Your statements can prove to break the morale of doctors and weaken our fight against the pandemic,” the Union Minister wrote.
However, the IMA, the country’s largest doctors’ association, demanded action against Ramdev. “They pretend to throw mud on Modern Allopathic Medicine, but time and again benefitted through the back door in modern medicine hospitals when they get the disease. Taking people for ransom, selling them weird ideology, and winning business by defaming scientific medicine are unpardonable offences,” the IMA said.