One should not wonder when Baba Ramdev came up with a cure for COVID-19. This is not an unlikely affair if you have closely watched the Baba for a considerable amount of time. Just because he has thousands of followers, who are as gullible as any faith taker is, he could establish a successful business selling not so honest products. If the government had not initiated action against him this time, it could have spelt disaster for the country, since the baba enjoys the support of thousands of people, who trust him for every word he utters, and follow what he says literally.
Kinds of products he sold under the Patanjali brand that were controversial
Patanjali Ayurved Ltd was in controversy over charges of misbranding and misrepresentation of its products. Selling products of other companies with Patanjali label prompted the legal controversy. A local court in Haridwar has slapped its five production units with a fine of Rs 11 lakhs upon finding the case true. Another complaint against Patanjali products was filed in Rajasthan court. A local court of Sriganganagar district had admitted a complaint against the advertisement of toothpaste of Patanjali Ayurved company on May 19, 2014.
The complainant Ashok Gupta, a doctor, had submitted the complaint to the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Raisingh Nagar) Mahendra Singh Beniwal on April 18 which was accepted. In the complaint, Gupta has raised doubts on the quality of the toothpaste. “The complainant was also hurt by the advertisement which questions doctors,” said Jitendra Soni, counsel for the complainant. The complaint was filed against Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna under sections 419, 420, 500 and 501 which deal with punishment for cheating by personating, cheating and defamation and printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory, respectively.
Likewise, Patanjali Ayurved also failed to substantiate its claims in the advertisement for cattle feed ‘Patanjali Dugdhamrut’ as “other companies mix 3 to 4 per cent urea and other non-edible things in their cattle feed.”
In May 2016 ASCI, Advertising Standards Council of India, had rapped Patanjali Ayurved Limited for false and misleading claims in its advertisements, including the ones for its hair oil and washing powder brands. Patanjali releases lot of advertisements of its products in almost every TV Channel basis on the strength of “purity” in its products, though.
After the ‘Maggie controversy’, which came around the time when Patanjali launched its own brand of noodles, the bread controversy has raised a few eyebrows. There had been reports in the past citing samples of Patanjali products consisting cow urine and being of low quality. Products of Patanjali have also been criticized by the users; like its ghee being labelled adulterated, Patanjali noodles packets in Haryana containing insects and fungus in its Desi Ghee bottles from Dehradun have been reported in the past. Interestingly, the Health Safety and Regulation Directorate gave a clean chit to the food products manufactured by Patanjali. However, most of its products don’t have FSSAI clearance.
The Congress General Secretary of the time, Digvijay Singh, said at a Bhopal meeting on June 9 2015 – “I have seen many frauds in my life but Baba Ramdev takes the cake. He may be occupying more space in media now but I do not visualise Ramdev making an impact on our society for long. Such people do not last long in public life,” Singh told reporters there.
Balakrishna, his sole partner at Patajali Ayurved Limited, is alleged to be a criminal who has come from Nepal and had been investigated for having a fake Indian passport and for violating the Arms Act by keeping unlicensed guns. He doesn’t hold any Ayurveda degree from a valid institute to prove his educational qualification in ayurvedic treatment. He once claimed that he discovered Sanjeevani booti, from the Himalayas that could bring the dead back to life. He never has brought a person back to life from death using Sanjeevani booti as mentioned in Ramayan; like the recovery of Lakshman. Ironically none of the product range of Patanjali Ayurved medicines has this product available.
“Mrit Sanjeevani is one of the rarest plants discovered by our team,” claimed Balkrishna.
Mrit Sanjeevani, according to Ramayan, has “resurrecting quality” and “Lakshman was brought to life because of this medicine”.
According to Ramayana, Hanuman couldn’t find Sanjeevani booti and lifted the entire Dronagiri hills. However, it took just six days for the team of Acharaya to ‘discover’ it.