News / Asia

Popular Indian Yoga Guru Could Influence Election

Popular Indian Yoga Guru Could Influence Electioni
|| 0:00:00
X
Rebecca Byerly
October 01, 2012 3:01 PM
Every morning tens of millions of people watch Baba Ramdev, one of India's most popular yoga gurus, on television. Internationally known for reintroducing yoga and good health practices to the subcontinent, Ramdev is now using his powerful platform to send a political message. Rebecca Byerly reports from his headquarters in Haridwar.
Rebecca Byerly
Every morning tens of millions of people watch Baba Ramdev, one of India's most popular yoga gurus, on television. Internationally known for reintroducing yoga and good health practices to the subcontinent, Ramdev is now using his powerful platform to send a political message.

Gopal Singh Bisht says he was healed from Hepatitis B under Ramdev’s guidance. He believes it’s now his duty to spread the guru’s message. Soon, he will join thousands of others in traveling across India to spread the guru's message of yoga and self-reliance, while also influencing voters in the 2014 national elections.

“We want to preach to people and make them understand what is correct and what is wrong and what is only illusions they talk about," he explains. "This is how people will know the truth and select the best candidate.”

Ramdev believes supporters like Bisht are crucial to help bring about change in India.

“We will go in every house in every village and city," the guru says. "Our volunteers will talk to every villager. Coming five, ten, 25 years we will change. We want to change socially, economically, spiritually, and politically.”

Ramdev has emerged as one of the country's most vocal anti-corruption crusaders. He says the greatest threat facing India is the illegal money many wealthy Indians keep stashed away in overseas bank accounts.

A strong believer in Gandhi’s ideas of self-reliance, Ramdev wants Indians to boycott all foreign products and only buy Indian brands.

“India has everything we need. We don’t need foreign support,” he notes.

Haridwar housewife Arun Rathi has taken Ramdev's message to heart. She says her son has stopped wearing jeans and has become more politically aware.

“We use products from India so that our own country gains," she says. "My son asks me before buying anything. ‘Is it an Indian product?’”

But political activist Shazia IImi isn’t convinced Ramdev’s ideas are realistic. She, like some other political experts in India, believe Ramdev could be galvanizing support for the country's main opposition the Bharatiya Janata Party.

"He can be seen as a force multiplier for the BJP in the elections," she explains, "So, his followers can really support BJP in a huge way.”

“We don’t support anyone," Ramdev insists. "Who we support we will announce before the 2014 elections.”

Bisht and Rathi see Ramdev as a political savior. They’re investing their time and hopes in what they believe is his ability to transform India -- one person, family, and village at a time.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: G Subhash from: San Jose, CA
October 02, 2012 9:46 PM
For those who don't realize this, Shazia Ilmi is a Muslim name. Although Muslims comprise 13% of India, they are a crucial constituency of the ruling Congress Party, and therefore, opposed to the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party, meaning Party of the Indian Masses). They are also very suspicious of Hindus. However, the BJP's record when it ran India was strongly pro-business and pragmatic.

Although derided by the Congress as the "Hindutva" or Hinduness party, it was the BJP that took India out of the the Congress' rut, called the "Hindu rate of growth". They also embraced Israel for the first time and embarked on a well-controlled nuclear weapons program as a buffer against China.

The Western media have forgotten that the Congress is a socialist party dedicated to hand-outs rather than growth. India will do well to eject the Congress and elect the BJP. The country can't achieve its potential with socialism, central dominance, and a deeply corrupt elite in cahoots with givernment.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid