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The scientist baba: Market-savvy Ramdev and his DRDO deal

The CEO of India’s yoga industry, Ramdev, tied up the other day with the military to manufacture and market herbal supplements and food products developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

analysis Updated: Apr 18, 2017 13:55 IST
Scientist Baba,Ramdev,Yoga guru

The Sensex needs to cure its motion sickness with a healthy dose of stimulants from Baba Ramdev’s herbal factory because the saffron-clad, bare-chested yoga guru’s stocks are always up these days.

The CEO of India’s yoga industry tied up the other day with the military to manufacture and market herbal supplements and food products developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Given the success and popularity of his company, Patanjali Ayurveda, the deal is a steal for the DRDO rather than the other way round. No doubt, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, DRDO head S Christopher were in Leh on Sunday to oversee nothing went wrong when DRDO's Defence Institute of High Altitude Research and Patanjali Ayurveda signed on the dotted lines.

It’s not clear if they clinked long glasses filled with bile-cleaning gourd juice to mark the achievement.

A happy Parrikar later called the pact a move to step up marketing of products developed by defence labs. Makes sense because not many are aware that military scientists do create products for mass consumption, besides weapons of mass destruction that come handy against niggling neighbours.

The pro-active social media, which actively follows anything hashtagged #ramdev, was prompt in its reaction to the DRDO deal — some snappy flash of wit that never ceases to crease out a smile or a frown.

Twitterers have many questions and too many wisecracks. “DRDO will launch missile with Baba Ramdev Churn called agni bhashm,” wrote user Sanjeev.

“Waiting for Baba Ramdev to manufacture Patanjali Shudh Rafael Viman,” read another.

Yet another user, @misionalwsposbl, asked how and why Ramdev’s company got the deal. “DRDO decided to transfer its technology to Baba Ramdev. Any process adopted, any bidding, tender… anything?”

Some found an answer to Monday’s market mayhem as well. “DRDO has merged with Baba Ramdev, soon govt will replace him with Raghuram Rajan to control #sensex #rupee and inflation using yoga,” wrote @KazimUstad.

According to an Economic Times report, Patanjali Ayurveda manufactures and sells everything FMCG from hand wash to capsules to cure semen deficiency, cashing Rs 1,200 crore in revenues in the previous fiscal.

The company’s assets place it the league of personal care giants such as Emami and it has 15,000 exclusive showrooms across the country.
In a television interview, Ramdev once said he was a “scientist baba” but his success makes him a “business baba”.

The DRDO deal proves the backing he enjoys from the ruling dispensation unlike the previous one.

In 2011, he had to run away wearing a woman’s shalwar-kameez from Ramlila Maidan in Delhi during a protest. In 2015, the first BJP government in Haryana offered him the status of a cabinet minister. But he declined and in all humility preferred to remain — in his own words — a baba and fakir.

Yes, with a shake of his famous ponytail the guru says he has a cure for cancer and calls homosexuality a disease. Well, for the time being, a cure for the Sensex will do.

(The views expressed by the writer are his own. He tweets as @saha_abhi1990)

First Published: Aug 24, 2015 18:07 IST