Tales of Babas and Yogis

“The big companies had more or less a monopoly in their respective fields. They did not have to sell. They merely allocated”…. …. “ That’s changed now. The targets are worked out on a counter basis for each town. We might say of a dealer. He is good  500  TV set counter , I must get to sell  200 of mine. That is the kind of thinking that is taking place in an executive’s mind. And once he returns to his base city or town with his head muzzy with too much drink and travel……”  Excerpts  from “ India a Million Mutinies Now” by VS Naipaul, telling about the transition of the boxwallah (British time company  executive ) to a present day Indian company executive.

But I presumed a possible paradigm shift in the functioning of  Indian corporate sector after learning the Patanjali success story. If we compare Patanjali Ayurved Ltd with its natural and well established rival Dabur India Ltd the following contrasting points emerge.

  • The head of Dabur went to  University of Wisconsin and University of Kansas while Patanjali in charge studied in some little known Sanskrit University.
  • Annual turnover of Dabur is at some 8000 crores after being in the business for over 100 years, while Patanjali crossed 5000 crores annual turnover after 10 years of its existence.
  • Dabur uses all modern tools to promote its products but Patanjali apparently has only one thing in hand, its brand ambassador and founder Baba Ramdev.

I  saw Baba Ramdev talking in a  business news channel. He said Patanjali Ayurved is a not for profit organization. When the interviewer commented that it was a social enterprise he said that Patanjali is a spiritual organization and even employees of Patanjali  are required to lead ascetic lifestyles.

Then I imagined a Patanjali sales executive  dressed like Baba Ramdev or Acharya Balakrishna going around Patanjali stores motivating the retailers to sell more by reciting slokas or doing some other  spiritually motivating things.

But the feedback from the field is different. Patajali at the ground level is just like its FMCG peer companies .  So perhaps Baba Ramdev while talking in the interview was not telling the truth or may be he does not have control over daily activities of Patanjali.

However I will be happy to see Patanjali Ayurved Ltd scaling new heights in its spiritual journey. But the elevation of the Mahant of Gorakhnath Math as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had  upset me. Expectedly the Mahant (Yogi Adityanath) has started in a curious style by raiding “Meat Shops” (Beef Shops?). Regarding the subject  I would like to  rewind the Lok Sabha speech by G C Swell, the former  MP from Shillong in the no confidence motion against  the Vajpayee Government in 1996 , in which he said  ““In the North East, beef is the cheapest source of protein for the majority of the people”. Interestingly GC Swell was a BJP supported candidate in the 1992 Presidential elections. I am sure Babas and Yogis would not even listen to such views.

I also do not understand how can a religious person say “ If they kill one we will kill hundred” and “if they take away one girl from us we will take away their hundred girls”.

No doubt that the Chief Minister of UP is chosen based on Islam phobia. Many of us believe that Islam spreads terror and hatred.  I believe we should consciously oppose such stereotyping. I recollect listening to an informal speech by Hafij Giasuddin Ahmed , an Islamic scholar from North Guwahati  in which  he discussed at length the Islamic  teaching of humility and openness.  Hafij Ahmed ended his speech by saying “The only one thing I know is that I don’t know anything”.


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