But Baba Ramdev"s personal tale is something of an oxymoron with a rags-to-riches story. Born into humble beginnings in a village in Haryana in 1965, the journey of the Baba was tough if not challenging. Named Ramkrishna Yadav, Baba was born in Ali Saiyadpur village in Mahendragarh district of Haryana.
A vocal advocate of the Yoga and Pranayam, India"s contribution to the world, Baba Ramdev was quick to realize the huge potential of the subject and built a huge business empire. His own trials were vindicated during a paralytic stroke that got cured following a strict health regime coupled with yoga and meditation.
Along with prophesying the health benefits of the age-old Indian tradition of Yoga, Baba Ramdev is also a strong proponent of the 'Swadeshi" way of life and takes every opportunity to blast India"s obsession with the West. He periodically conducts 'Yog Shivirs" that are major crowd-pullers especially at a time when people more and more are turning to an alternative path to wellness and health.
His support base is on a firm ground through his vocal oratory that puts India and the Indian way of life on a pedestal. Calling himself a 'yoddha sanyasi' or warrior monk he wants to bring about active change in the various ills plaguing our country.
But with Baba jumping on to the common-good cause and threatening to go on fast against corruption, his political ambitions come to the fore. A staunch believer of the Hindutva cause, he also harboured wishes to launch his own political party that did not seem to fly with right-wing groups.
He has also kickstarted a campaign against governance policies calling it the 'Bharat Swabhiman" campaign. The goals of the movement are-
1. 100% voting
2. 100% nationalist thought,
3. 100% boycott of foreign companies and adoption of swadeshi,
4. 100% unification of the people of the nation and
5. 100% yoga-oriented nation.
With an estimated business turnover of Rs 1,100 crore, sources claim that the real value of his sprawling business empire is worth Rs 15,000 crore. With an island in his name at Cumbrae which is a Scottish island given to him by a couple Sam and Sunita Poddar who are also his disciples, this Baba is sure no ordinary sadhu.
Ramdev also operates a medical facility that includes a multi-crore healing unit, a Yoga Reseach Centre called the Patanjali Yogpeeth, a university and an ayurvedic pharmacy.