Monday, June 23, 2008

Dissecting biased Guardian article about Ramdev

I was not satisfied by my previous post, in response to article about Ramdev in Guardian written by Randeep Ramesh.

What I reported in previous post was true as it happened to me. But I felt that article on Guardian written by Randeep Ramesh needs to be examined and responded more closely. Primarily because it seems to have some malicious intentions, of spreading lies, and developing incorrect opinion against Ramdev.

So here I go again...

Please note: I could actually go on here giving cases and proving the writer wrong, but I will restrict myself to the minimum, because otherwise this will be a very long post. And also because there is lots of lie in the Guardian article to respond to.

Writer states 'commanding the rapt attention of 500 devotees of his brand of yoga'

Ramdev never said it’s his brand of Yoga. He repeats this again and again that what he has received and learned he is simply sharing it with the masses. He mentions time and again that all that is good in him is because of his guru, and his weaknesses are his own. He mentions time and again that his intellect has developed only after studying numerous Vedic scriptures from his guru. He gives all credit to Patanjali writer of Yoga Dharshan and Maha Bhashya. He says this time and again and just recently too in a broadcast on Aastha Channel he was saying to all that never say 'Ramdev ki jai' instead always say 'Bharat Maata ki jai'. He always calls himself ‘kinchan fakir’.

Writer states 'crowd is made up mostly of middle-class Indians, many suffering from chronic conditions for which traditional medicine has little to offer but comfort'

Yes this is true that his gathering has mostly middle class Indians. But writer does not mention that there are many upper middle class Indians too attending his camps.. It seems that intention of the writer is to indicate that middle class Indians don't have proper understanding and easily fall prey to babas. Let me mention that on the inauguration of Yog Gram Brij Mohan Munjaal, Chairman of Hero Honda was also present. He lauded the great and immense effort of Ramdev and Acharya Balkrisna and PYPT. The writer of the article does not mention at all (probably intentionally) that at least a significant land for Yog Gram has been provided by a Muslim plant chemistry scientist Mr Farrukh and his brother. They both were present at the inauguration, and lauded the tremendous and relentless efforts of Ramdev to spread awareness about health and Yoga. Mr Farrukh is an intellectual and not just another middle-class Indian as writer of article wants to project.

Now about that 'traditional medicine has little to offer'

Reframing this phrase, actually the writer intends to say that Ayurveda and Yoga have little to offer, except comfort.

First off, the writer hasn't provided any proof or data on this. On the contrary, there is tremendous knowledge and evidence that Allopathic or Modern Medical treatments are not always correct. They mostly try to suppress the problem, instead of resolving it. Modern approach relies heavily on scientific approach, and totally ignores the vast amount of knowledge that is there in the ancient scriptures.

Just making up a smart sounding statement does not prove any point.

To give just one example from an old book, in Penguin published book of 'Ayurveda and Longevity' Robert E Svoboda (himself an Ayurveda Vaidya and Acharya, and now also studying Chinese medicine system) states a case where he himself saw a Cancer patient being treated and then cured by Ayurveda.

Writer mentions 'Each "patient" has paid 7,000 to 40,000 rupees (£90 to £500) to be among the first to spend a week at the swami's newest venture'

Yes this is true that the minimum amount to be paid is 7000, but there is doubt in what writer mentions about the maximum amount to be 40000. Further, site clearly states that the maximum amount is 21000, then could this amount of 40000 really be true. May be this amount of 40000 is for NRIs, who can actually donate more than those in India - if this is true then it should have been clearly stated.

Besides writer does not at all mention the facilities being provided there. As far as I know they will be conducting all the necessary and certain special tests before the start and just before the completion of the camp. Of these some will be costly. Secondly they are also providing consultation with Vaidyas during the camp, and also regular monitoring of there medical condition by Allopathic doctors too. Those attending the camp will also be provided with proper, nutritious and organic diet, as per persons requirement and health. Where on earth can you get such elaborate treatment for just 7000 Rupees.

Besides those who pay 15000 or 21000 at times also do it as a donation or contribution to the noble cause. So that Ramdev gets more money to spend on research and to improve health of people in India. Please remember that the allopathic or regular doctors give advice only when the problem/ailment has occurred to a person, and is ready to pay for consultation fee. Whereas Ramdev is making people aware to take care of their health daily without charging anything. The various Patanjali Yog Chikitsalaya across country too do not charge a dime for consultation.

Writer also does not mention that Ramdev has been working relentlessly to make people aware about health, yoga, and nationalism for 14 years (his organization is 14 years old). If nothing he has been aggressively and relentlessly working for this aim for past 5 years - this is the time since I have been noticing him.

Initially I used to think that Ramdev has only Yoga to offer. But he has well spent the collected money. By opening Patanjali Yoga Chikitsalaya, starting this Yog Gram, and also numerous programs on Aastha on Veda, Updanishad, Dharshan, Sanskaar. As far as I know, it is in the history of television for the first time that such great and enlightening programs are being telecast about Veda, Updanishad, Darshan, Sanskaar. But the writer probably is just not aware of all this, because he simply projected his own prejudice, suspicion, opinion and intentions in his article.

I will give my own example in more detail, I attended Ramdev's camp in 2003, and donated only Rs 100 for an 8 day camp - is it too much? Thereafter I again attended his camp in Lucknow in 2007, and minimum donation amount was still Rs 100. Last year July he started these great programs on Aastha about Veda, Upanishad, Darshan, and Sanskaar - these have simply changed my life. These have brought me out of frequent depression, occasional low self-esteem, and self-doubt, and have made me realize the great texts of India - is it less? It is after watching these great programs for about over 3 months that I realized the great work and wonderful application of money Ramdev is into. Now soon I will be contributing at least 11000 to PYPT, or may be I will attend his camp in Yog Gram for 7000 - so won't that be really called a donation.

Swami Ramdev's pitch is that pranayama, the ancient Indian art of breath control, can cure a bewildering array of diseases. "Asthma, arthritis, sickle-cell anaemia, kidney problems, thyroid disease, hepatitis, slipped discs - and it will unblock any fallopian tubes,"

Yes, this is certainly disputed, and is probably the only issue of dispute against Ramdev's claims. However there is lots of information not mentioned here. I don't remember the exact year, but sometime in 2005 or 2006 a special small camp was organized in Lucknow where SGPGI doctors conducted a controlled examination regarding the improvements to the patients. The findings were that Yoga and Pranayam has major success in resolving high blood pressure, depression, kidney problems like very high cretanine, and also heart problem by reducing cholesterol. The results were made public.

Thereafter the second camp in Lucknow also had SGPGI doctors examining select (about 25 patients) and the result were similarly positive and substantial. This is great in itself. Yes it has been known for years that Yoga is helpful in BP and heart problems, but how many were really well aware of this fact. People were becoming lazy and depending completely on allopathic medication and taking BP tablets for years. Last year my uncle suddenly passed away at just age of 55, he was taking BP and cholesterol and other such tablets for years. My another uncle took these tablets for an year and now has complications, for which he again had to take medication.

Moreover, almost every camp of Ramdev has people reporting that their asthma and arthritis thyroid is getting cured - but firstly they are not his agents or anyway related to Ramdev, secondly many have also taken Ayurvedic medicine from his Patanjali Yoga Chikitsalaya. Thirdly many come with before and after reports. Fourthly Ramdev is working to get those cured scientifically examined to further substantiate and support these claims, and this is the purpose of Yog Gram, where various pathological tests and other test machines are being used.

Almost all his congregation have been drawn through his shows on India's Aastha channel

Now this too is partial and incomplete information. Writer seems to indicate that there is some alliance between Ramdev and Aastha - well maybe, but what’s wrong in this. At least they are showing what is good, increasing awareness of people towards Yoga and health and good behavior and patriotism. Certainly this is thousand times better than Saas-Bahu serials. Secondly he is not just getting congregations through Aastha, but also giving in return of what he has received, for example the Veda, Upanishad, Darshan, Sanskaar programs.

Every morning, the swami appears on television chanting prayers and explaining that ailments, physical and mental, can be treated by what looks like little more than sharp intakes of air and painful-looking body contortions

Again... firstly he just doesn't chant some arbitrary prayers, he chants prayers, rather mantra and shlokas from Veda, and he also explains their meaning. Secondly he doesn't just explain that ailments physical and mental can be treated but also provides lots of other useful health related information and asks to stay away from unhealthy food habits, and unhealthy living. He also provides information about self and personal improvement, and also asks people to give up tobacco, drinking liquor and cigarettes. He also asks them to be patriotic and nationalistic and to not be divided by beliefs, and regions and color and to think and live for the nation. To quote one of his oft repeated statement 'हर व्यक्ति यह सोचे मैं एक व्यक्ति नहीं मैं भारत हूँ । मैं एक व्यक्ति नहीं मैं एक संस्कृति की अभिव्यक्ति हूँ । मैं जागता हूँ तो भारत जागता है मैं चलता हूँ तो भारत चलता है । ' (Everyone should think that I am not just a person but I am Bharat, I am not just a person but I am expression of Bharat's sanskriti, When I wake my country will wake, when I move ahead Bharat will move ahead)। Ramdev time and again repeats that no one should think negative not even for a moment। He repeats time and again to not be afraid even for a moment, and to have full faith and love for God Almighty.

what looks like little more than sharp intakes of air and painful-looking body contortions

This is a big lie - none of these intakes of air are supposed to be sharp, nor any of these is painful. Pranayam is not aerobics, nor it is aasana, or streching exercise that may tire a person. I myself can do pranayam for hours without getting tired. It rather improves concentration and is just a regulated and careful method of breathing - especially the way it is taught by Ramdev, where he clearly states that no one should ever hold his breath during pranayam.

As I have mentioned above the writer has just projected his prejudice, intentions and opinion in the article written by him. I will not be surprised to know if he was paid to do so, or has such other malicious intentions. In fact just by this one article Randeep Ramesh has lost his credibility. I will never ever believe his reports/articles and will always be suspicious of articles on Guardian.


I am not even half way through this Guardian article, and can see that this is full of lie, misinformation, prejudice, and intentions to spread FUD. I have already written a lot, and can still go on, and still have lot more information to share about good things being done by Ramdev. May be I will come back with part 2 of this article, but I will finish for now.

I have made myself very clear. I am neither a journalist, nor I have donated a dime to Ramdev except the Rs 100 + 100 for his yoga camp. In return I have received a lot - I have reduced 4 kg of weight without any additional exercising, my right leg ligament behind knee is improving (without any other medication), I do not have depression anymore, and I have received some great and insightful knowledge about Veda, Updanishad, Dharshan, Sanskaar programs by PYPT.

All that I have written above is when I visited no place, nor collected information from any source except the broadcasts on Aastha Channel. Ramdev once mentioned that the policy they follow in all their work is of पराक्रम, पारदर्शिता, दूरदर्शिता, विनयशीलता (Boldness, Transparency, Farsightedness, and Humility) and that is very evident from the fact that almost all that he does is publicly telecast via Aastha Channel. For a person of such high values, and relentless effort Randeep Ramesh writes that he cracks 'Rustic Jokes' - sure he does cracks jokes, and that is to connect with the varied people around him, what is wrong in that, and are they really rustic?

I would like to say to all that don't take the stuff you read in the press at face value, instead figure it out yourself, confirm it yourself. The media today is heavily biased and many times is used by cheats to develop opinion against good cause. So as I listened to Ramdev once "Truth is what is examined by you, not what you listen from others. Do not believe what I tell you, instead do it yourself, verify it yourself".

Jai Hind, and Satyameva Jayate (Only Truth Will Prevail).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Negative, biased article against Ramdev ji, and my experiment

I had been feeling and noticing that English media (news and television) seems always biased against many Nationalists, and Hindus and Hindu beliefs (may be others too, but I am not aware enough to mention any other group here). Swami Ramdev and his organization and his efforts being one of them.
They seem to always bring out the negative, and it seems that they never bring out anything positive in them.
Then yesterday I encountered this article in about Swami Ramdev and his current running Yoga camp in Yog Gram.
This article, in my opinion, is full of misinformation, and is heavily biased. It is not informative, but suggestive. It seems to have one sided information, and facts and figures have not been produced.
Now, I am not a journalist. I do not watch lots of television either. Besides, I am neither very pro-Ramdev, nor against him.
I am rather a skeptic.
Anyway. So at the start of December 2007, I was passing by TV and noticed Ramdev saying that "Truth is what is examined by you, not what you listen from others. Do not believe what I tell you, instead do it yourself, verify it yourself", this brought an interesting idea in my mind - of trying what Ramdev preaches or claims on myself, to verify his claims. I had noticed Steve Pavlina's Polyphasic Sleep experiment, and thought that may be I get some reality stuff to share on this blog. If nothing I will have Ramdev ji's claims verified.
So, I planned to do just Kapal-Bhaati, Anoolom-Vilom for one month and track the results. The experiment lasted only 2 weeks, and got terminated because of serious career/work crisis (my friends and colleagues at DBI know what I mean). I did not share the findings with anyone except my family. Now for the first time I sharing it in public:
  1. I started feeling very light,
  2. I had proper and regular motions,
  3. lost 2 Kg of weight (85 to 83), and
  4. Was energetic than before
After the career turmoil had somewhat subsided, I was on some soul-searching, and some inside-out exercise. In the process, depression crept in, and later I also noticed weakness all over my body. I used to feel sleepy during morning in weekdays, and also when driving to office. Did not feel like going to work, and had pain in body all throughout the day. But all this time my soul-searching, and inside-out exercise continued.
When I noticed that my body was getting heavily taxed, and depression was taking serious toll, I again thought of starting the abandoned experiment.
So I started again at the start of May and have been following since then. Here are the findings till now (consider it one month):
  1. I am more health conscious
  2. Have lost another 2 kg of weight (83 to 81), without any dieting
  3. Have given up tea (my intake was at least 3 cups of tea, with biscuits)
  4. Occasional constipation has not recurred ever since second week of May
  5. Depression is gone
  6. I had a problem since last one year, that my right leg ligaments behind knee, had acute pain when I used to get up after sitting for long hours - it is almost gone
I think my findings are pretty substantial, or rather very substantial. I am very happy that I did this experiment.
Of course, those who do not know me in person can think that I am framing may be some part of it. But if my friends in Lucknow or relatives want to verify then they could contact my family. And I am sure they should have noticed at least the reduced weight over this month.
So basically I am saying that as far as I am concerned, I tried it on myself and got good results. Whereas the article gives very negative outlook of Ramdev and his efforts. Its extremely biased, and looks full of misinformation. Please do not believe, what you just read, unless its from a authentic and reliable source. Instead as Ramdev ji said "Truth is what is examined by you, not what you listen from others. Do not believe what I tell you, instead do it yourself, verify it yourself"

Today is 18th Feb 2009, and now my weight is 75 kg. And still I have not changed my diet yet, nor reduced it. Its really a suprise that every time I do Kapal-Bhaati Pranayam for about 2 weeks in row sincerely for about 45 mins each day, everytime I lose about 2-3 kgs of weight.

The weight loss has been slow because I have been irregular or skipping pranayam many times.