The newsweekly India Today has put an inappropriate image of Baba Ramdev doing a yoga asana on its cover page. The magazine chose an unusual photo of Baba Ramdev for its cover story titled ” “Power Yogi – How Baba Ramdev discovered commerce and turned spirituality on its head to emerge as a political, economic and cultural superbrand.”
— India Today (@IndiaToday) July 14, 2016
Such tactics of paying back-handed compliments to Hindu religious/cultural icons are common place in the left-liberal mainstream media of Bharat. While India Today’s Doon-educated Chief Editor Aroon Purie will claim that their article just describes the incredible success story of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved group which has disrupted the FMCG sector and earned revenues of around 5,000 crore in the last financial year, the completely inappropriate cover photo leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
As if on cue, Indian Express, HuffingtonPost India and the left-liberal propaganda site Scroll.in quickly published strikingly similar stories celebrating how Adarsh Liberals on twitter had a field day over the ‘India Today’ cover image –
Baba Ramdev has long been an object of ridicule for mainstream media (both news and entertainment). Even the brutal midnight crackdown by UPA-2 on sleeping anti-corruption protesters led by Baba Ramdev, in which an old woman Rajbala died, was largely trivialized while stories about Ramdev’s alleged escape in women’s dress made headlines.
The immense contribution that Baba Ramdev has made to revive the ancient Hindu sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda is lost on the Star-Bucks guzzling, ‘Game of Thrones’ watching, Formula-1 cheering deracinated urban yuppie that can be found in most metros. And this is the target audience for our English language media; so it comes as no surprise that mocking Baba Ramdev makes good business sense for them. Ideologically too, our media is trained to bring down any person who might promote pride in Hindu identity – this is classic sepoy behavior which acts as a front for new age colonial forces. And the same media houses hail communal Islamist politicians like Badruddin Ajmal as the ‘perfume baron’.
The repeated portrayal of Yoga as a ‘strange, exotic practice of contorting the body‘ and portraying leading Yoga gurus like Baba Ramdev as weird mavericks is a clear attempt at dissuading urban youth from adopting healthier Dharmic lifestyles. The contribution of Baba Ramdev to improving public health in Bharat and the potential his teachings have to lower public health costs is what objective journalism should ideally focus on. But there are many connected-to-roots twitterati who now understand the games a section of media plays in denigrating and mocking Hindu wisdom. This is what they had to say –
— Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi) July 15, 2016
— नंदिता ठाकुर (@nanditathhakur) July 15, 2016
— विनोद शर्मा (@vinod_sharma) July 14, 2016