Supreme Court Snubs Baba Ramdev

Supreme Court Snubs Baba Ramdev
Supreme Court Snubs Baba Ramdev

Ram Puniyani :

Last couple of decades; we have seen the rapid rise of many Godmen. They did have a social presence earlier also but lately their social influence and political clout was quite frightening. Many of them had a dark belly also, but by and large that has been overlooked and shadowed by the large divinity surrounding them. Shakaracharya Jayendra Sarswati was accused of murder of Ashram worker, Shankar Raman. In Satya Sai Baba’s Prashanti Nilayam also there was a murder case. Gurmeet Ram Rahim carried on with his activities, one journalist Chhatrapti Ramchandra was killed for bringing forward his black deeds. Finally with difficulty law caught up with him and currently he is in jail, rather most of the time on parole. Asaram bapu is another one who succeeded in escaping the clutches of law till a long time and finally he is behind the bars. Currently another one Bageshwar Dham baba is having a roaring success with devotees. These are the tip of the iceberg, and spread around the country many such people are mesmerizing the people in the trap of blind faith. The riches of most of these are enviable.

There are two others who are worth mentioning Sri Sri Ravishankar, who rampaged the Yamuna for his gala event. He was also associated with Anna Hazare’s RSS supported movement. He is in the news generally for subtly supporting Hindu nationalist politics. And then there is Baba Ramdev. He began his career as a Yoga Guru with great success and then made transition to business World with the brand of Patanjali. This firm, producing and marketing Ayurvedic products has brought Baba in the line of front ranking business tycoons, with huge assets. He and his close associate Acharya Balkishan have built up a massive empire, un-challenged till lately. All his ayurveda products were publicized with great fanfare and a large section of media went gaga for his achievements.

The academic qualifications of Acharya and Baba duo are not much known. Currently there are many Ayurvedic Medical Colleges, but it is doubtful if they have any degree from these. On the pretext that they are posing an indigenous challenge to the multinational corporations, many of their methods probably went unchallenged.

Matters came to head during Covid 19. On one hand the ruling government made hefty donations for the Pune based Bharat Biotech, Covaccine. On the other hand, within a month of the outbreak of Pandemic; Baba came up with the claim that they have developed a medicine for treatment and prevention of the disease, ‘Coronil’. The claim was that it has the approval of WHO. When challenged by the Ayush ministry, they corrected themselves to say that it has been developed on the guidelines of WHO. Ayush ministry distanced itself from the claims of Baba. The Combo pack of Coronil was introduced with great fanfare in presence of two Cabinet ministers, Dr. Harshvardhan and Nitin Gadkari. Dr. Harshvardhan himself is a trained medical doctor. There is currently a blind praise of ancient systems.

Baba claimed that the medicine has been tested on 100 patients of mild to moderate severity and the Corona test became negative in a few days. He had tied up with a few doctors for the testing of medicine. The protocol of introducing the medicines in modern medicine is preceded by biochemical analysis, animal testing and clinical double blind trial of adequate size samples. This was not followed.

Overawed with his commercial success, he not only accepted the praise from most of the Godi media, he took a step further to call Allopathic as a stupid science. Irked by this the Indian Medical Association (IMA) filed a case against him, which was heard recently. First he apologized to IMA for insulting the modern medicine. Just to recall when he sat on a hunger strike against corruption, he claimed that he has a ‘Yoga body’ and he can withstand the fast for a long time. Within a few days his condition worsened and was admitted to an allopathic hospital. Similarly a year ago Acharya Balkishan was seriously ill and had to be admitted to the ICU of an allopathic hospital.

After Court’ warning, his firm continued misleading advertisements. Court summoned him. He apologized profusely. Court refused to accept his apology and has asked him to mend his ways and come back again.

The details of the whole episode apart, how come such faith based knowledge and use of medications based on that have been rising for so long, what an arrogance to downgrade the modern system of Medicine? One concedes there is lots of empirical wisdom in some traditional medicines and even in Grandma’s medicines. The point however is that the modern system of medicine is based on evidence and peer review. The knowledge is ruthlessly subjected to review and criticism. And this is what leads to improvement leading to something close to what is useful.

The faith based knowledge, and thereby treatment systems are above criticism. Many Babas have their own system of treatment. The protocol of medical systems is evolved by adapting to better systems. The likes of Ramdev take the advantage of Holiness, to be above criticism and make many statements as they like. He had proclaimed that he has treatment for Cancer, Aids and what have you. He even claimed that Homosexuality is a disease and he can cure it!

So far he has the protection of ‘system’ and that gave him the arrogance to downgrade the allopath and make irrational claims about ‘his’ system. And why are such Babas having gala time with their faith based claims?

Last few decades have seen the rise of politics in the name of religion. This also harps on the ancient Indian knowledge systems. Taking these in a critical way is what science and rationalists will demand. This is what was demanded by the likes of Dr. Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. They were done away for raising rational understanding. This is a period when rational thinking and methods are being undermined in the glare of ‘faith based knowledge’. Even in our educational curriculum in the name of ‘Indian Knowledge systems’ the faith based things will form part of curriculum.

Baba Ramdev is a symptom of the society gripped by faith-blind faith combo. The Supreme Court has done well to put a small stop to this ascending ‘Baba’ trend in the field of medicine.