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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

Last updated on: June 2, 2011 23:03 IST

Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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"I am a follower of penance, sacrifice, non-violence and truth. But I am also a follower of revolutionaries. I live a simple life. I don't do what everyone else does. But I believe that the freedom of our country is because of the sacrifice of martyrs. If somebody says that the country achieved independence without arms, without bloodshed, I believe that is an insult to the country's martyrs."

These are words of the new face in the crusade against corruption in India.

One of India's most famous yoga practitioners, Swami Ramdev has threatened to go on a fast-until-death from Saturday to protest against corruption. And the government, in its bid to try and stop him from doing so, is 'holding talks' and 'wooing' the swami like there is no tomorrow.

Ramdev, who shot into the limelight as a yoga guru, now has a cult status with millions of followers across the country.

He claims to cure cancer, brain tumuors and leukemia by practicing seven breathing exercises.

While his claims have not been scientifically proven, around 85 million people follow his yoga camps through television channels and video programmes.

Unlike other spiritual leaders, Ramdev has raised a number of political, social and economic issues through his yoga camps.

So is Swami Ramdev a real saviour or a tactful businessman?

Click NEXT to find out how Ramdev, a school dropout built a successful business enterprise . . .


Image: Baba Ramdev.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Interestingly, Ramdev who claims to be a staunch supporter of the poor, arrived in a chartered plane in New Delhi to lead a nationwide protest against corruption!

He demanded that black money stashed away abroad must be brought back and invested in India.

He said Rs 50 lakh crore (Rs 50 trillion) has come to India from Mauritius. The government must name tax evaders and punish them.

Ramdev claims to have the support of millions of people across India in his fight against corruption. Meanwhile, Ramdev's latest move to go on a hunger strike has ruffled the central government.

Baba Ramdev was born in 1965 in a village called Ali Saiyad Pur in Mahendragarh district in Haryana. He was named Ramkrishna Yadav by his parents Gulab Devi and Ram Nivas Yadav.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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The UPA government is in a dilemma on how to handle the situation. While four seniors ministers went to the airport to meet Ramdev and persuade him not to start any protest, others in the party have openly questioned his credentials.

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh has said that Baba Ramdev is not a saint but an entrepreneur. On Wednesday, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had scoffed Baba Ramdev saying that the swami takes Rs 50,000 for front row seats at his yoga classes and Rs 30,000 for seats behind. The last row costs Rs 1,000 a seat, the Congress leader charged.

There is no confirmation on whether this too happens to be a source of revenue for the yoga teacher.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.

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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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Despite his much-publicised protests and provocative statements on economic and governance matters, critics continue to question his motives.

Though Ramdev claims to have no political affiliations, he has been supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Ramdev's latest game plan will win him more popularity as corruption is an issue every India can relate to.

Ramdev's largest project is the Patanjali Yog Peeth, which is a registered Trust and is engaged in the promotion of Ayruved and yoga.

Patanjali Yog Peeth currently offers free treatment to those who are too poor to pay and charges a fairly reasonable amount from those who can afford to pay.

Click NEXT to read more on Ramdev's business glory . . .


Image: Baba Ramdev at a Yoga camp.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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Ramdev's success with yoga is incredible. Today, he runs runs a multi-crore business. Healing millions with yoga and ayurvedic products has turned out to be his successful money-spinning potion.

Ramdev's business empire includes hospitals, wellness centres, colleges, and of course herbal products. His trusts are worth Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion).

Ramdev's Patanjali Yog Peeth a couple of years ago bought Little Cumbrae Island, off the Scottish coast, for about 2 million pounds to set up a wellness centre. A couple of Indian origin -- Sam and Sunita Poddar helped acquire the island.

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Image: Ramdev's herbal products.

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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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The centre at Haridwar is spread over 600 acres and includes a university.

Ramdev has a sales revenue Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million) every month from the sale of medicines.

The sale of books and CDs amount to Rs 2 to 3 crore (Rs 20-30 million), according to a Business Standard report.

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Image: Centre at Haridwar.

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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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The 500-acre food park at Haridwar has been set up with an investment of Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion).

Cashing in on the global fame, Ramdev's Patanjali Yog Peeth has acquired a Scottish Island for about 2 million pounds to set up a wellness retreat. Ramdev says it was gifted by an Indian couple.

He has also been gifted 95 acres of land near Houston in the United States.

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Image: Baba Ramdev worships on Little Cumbrae during a hawan to bless the island.

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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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From a humble beginning, Ramdev has indeed come a long way.

When he was just nine years old, Ramdev ran away from home.

A school dropout, he joined Aarsh (Arya) Gurukul, Khanpur and studied Sanskrit and Yoga under the guidance of Achary Pradumn.

Under the influence of Acharya Baldevji, he decided to become a sage and chnaged his name Ram Krishna to Swami Ramdev.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.
Photographs: Reuters.
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In Kalva Gurukul in Haryana, he offered free yoga training to villagers for some time.

Then he moved to Haridwar and spent several years studying ancient Indian scriptures at Gurukul Kangari.

A book by Aurbindo Ghosh called Yogik Sadhan prompted him to go the Himalayas to practise meditation.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Baba Ramdev: A school dropout turned millionaire!

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Swami Ramdev gained much publicity from the Divya Yoga Trust he started at Kankhal near Haridwar in 1995, along with Swami Karamvir and Acharya Balkrishan.

His breathing exercises became popular. Even without any advertisements, people started flocking to Divya Yog Pharmacy for medicines.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.
Photographs: Reuters.
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The pharmacy offers medicines, holistic food and herbs, besides DVDs on yoga and other educational material.

Besides, Divya Pharmacy, he lancuhed Patanjali Yog Peeth in 2006 to build the world's largest centre for Ayurveda and yoga with treatment facilities, research and training.

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Image: (L to R): Baba Ramdev, L K Advani, Sri Sri Ravishanker.
Photographs: Reuters.
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The trust offers free treatment to the poor. Various institutions are run by the PYP Trust to study the effectiveness of yoga against diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Riding high on the success of his healing powers and business success, Ramdev now aspires to build a new 'Bharat'.

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Image: Baba Ramdev.

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Calling for a revolution

Transforming India has been one of his biggest ambitions, says Ramdev.

With this mission, he has taken an active interest in issues such as black money, illegal mining and corruption.

He is also an active anti-MNC campaigner, suggesting Indians must speak  'Indian languages, wear Indian clothes and drink Indian products'.

Calling for a revolution in India, Ramdev has started the 'Bharat Swabhiman Andolan' to eradicate corruption, crime, poverty and transform 'Bharat' into a super power.


Image: Baba Ramdev.

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