Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is on a new mission. In a freewheeling interview with Neha Dixit, he explains the need for his political party — Bharat Swabhiman Andolan — while expressing his often controversial views on capital punishment, homosexuality, ancestry of Indian Muslims, etc.
You already have numerous followers. Why did you launch a political party?
This precisely is the reason why I am joining politics. I want all the honest and good people to come together and be a part of this force. Like yoga, through politics too, I will continue the work I am doing: building character. There was a time when a government had all the power but ordinary individuals could not raise their voice against it. Now I’ve become so powerful, I can uproot a government. I don’t have financial or legal power, but in a democracy I have the power of the people.
What is the agenda of your party, Bharat Swabhiman Andolan?
Our first aim is to get back to India the Rs 300 lakh crore stashed away in Swiss banks and use it for the country’s development. I want to withdraw the rupee and issue a new currency, and take the old money out of criminals’ pockets. Second, I want a law that seeks death penalty for corruption, adultery, rape, dowry and slaughter of cows. The British formulated policies to loot the country. Legal professionals in my political party are convinced that the age old Indian Penal Code must be replaced by stricter laws. We will call for a boycott of all foreign companies, and campaign to make yoga compulsory in schools to improve children’s IQ, prevent drug addiction, and curb sexual feelings among teenagers.
Isn’t capital punishment very harsh?
China has capital punishment. Even our ancestors invoked capital punishment for the sinners. In fact, capital punishment will help criminals attain moksha.
Isn’t ban of foreign brands regressive?
Globalisation should increase our power, not the other way round. It has converted India into a market that the world is exploiting. This type of globalisation is a farce. Education should be in the national language as in Germany and France. There should be ‘Indianness’; in clothing, language and sentiment.
How do you ensure that your party members are not corrupt?
Honest people manage to get the company of honest people. Those who search for god find their way to the temple; those who need to drink alcohol manage their way to the bar without difficulty.
You are unwilling to hold a post in your party? Why is that?
I have already earned the love and respect of people that a prime minister or president of a country gets, so posts are immaterial for me. Politics is an additional job. All I want is to engage in is nation building through my party that will follow the same ideals I believe in.
Lalu Yadav said ‘aap baura gaye hain’ (you’ve gone loony). What is your take?
Neither do I know what he said, nor do his remarks bother me. I don’t need a character certificate from him, nor is he my political advisor that I should take his advice.
What is your view of caste-based politics — for example that of Mayawati?
It is not in one’s hands to be born in one caste or the other. I don’t believe in it. People exploit caste to do business. Country’s wealth should be used for uplifting the poor, downtrodden and dalits instead of self-glorification. In whichever country, if the king practices austerity, the people are happy and prosperous else they face utmost poverty.
How would you solve the Naxal issue?
Corrupt politicians are responsible for the Maoist problem. Politicians should go and die if they cannot provide security. If a bullet is fired anywhere near a politician, they’d pee in their pants. Recently when I met Prachanda in Nepal, I told him that Maoism has to go hand in hand with spirituality and he agreed with me on that. Only then, can there be development of the masses, opening paths for a dialogue. The direct solution would be to disarm and make them incapable of any violence.
How is your ‘Hindutva’ different from that of BJP? Is it potential future ally?
There are two parts to the issue. Firstly, there is Hindu dharma involving all the rituals; secondly, there is Hindu darshan or the Vedic darshan which is scientific in nature. The problem with BJP is that they haven’t been able to explain Hindutva to the young. The young only understand Hindutva as Ram Mandir. The RSS karsevaks have their idea of Hindutva but they haven’t managed to percolate the real meaning to the common man.
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari asked you to go slow on politics. Your response?
I am not against any political party or person. All that I wish is that people who join politics should be courageous and honest. If all the parties start following this, I will not need to enter politics.
Has the UPA brought about development through its various schemes?
Harping on NREGA, without eradicating corruption, will only lead to the nation’s downfall. In such circumstances, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan will be Sarv Bhiksha (alms) Abhiyaan. If the Congress takes credit for whatever little development that we see, they are also responsible for the increasing poverty, illiteracy and poor health of 80 percent of the people.
You also criticised Manmohan Singh.
He is the representative of a particular person and not of the people at large. No doubt he is a very good economist, a honest and sensitive person and understands growth rate perfectly well — but he does not understand the economics of ‘dal-roti’. GDP can grow with the rise in the sale of liquor and tobacco. However, that has an inverse effect on the poor. This is negative growth. Manmohan has the willingness but he is helpless.
What is your stand on the Women’s Bill? Should there be sub-quotas?
Women have the power of motherhood. Forget 33 percent, I have already reserved 50 percent of seats in my organisation for women. I believe sub-quotas unnecessarily complicate the issue. Once women get 33 percent reservation, there should further debate on future steps.
Do you think Article 370 and the Babri Masjid issue isolate Muslims?
Our aim is nation building. If we achieve it, our Muslim brothers will themselves ask us to build the temple at the disputed spot. Politicians have misdirected the public. Even Muslims believe that Lord Ram was their ancestor.
You said homosexuality is unnatural. Gays are sick people.
All living beings in the world engage in sex to reproduce. The problem is when people engage in sex for enjoyment. Homosexuals cannot reproduce and hence they are unnatural. Sex needs the involvement of an outer body, which is not permanent. Something that is within you, like love, is permanent and does not need anyone’s support. Hence, its natural.
The Swami Nityanand sex scandal has sullied the image of gurus. How should a Guru ideally behave?
True saints don’t crave power and money. A godman should be known 99 percent by his character and 1 percent by his clothes. Before accepting anyone as ‘guru’ one must test him on reason and logic. His thoughts must be scientific. People who believe in superstitions are bogus. Religion must be accompanied by intelligence.
Who is your ideal politician?
Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.