Baba Ramdev: A Yog Guru for Entrepreneurship and Social Transformation

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By Manoj Sharma

Manoj SharmaBaba Ramdev is world acclaimed figure, not only for his contributions to sustain the Vedic health education in the forms of Yoga, but also in the form of a successful entrepreneur and a social reformer. As soon as his name echoes into our ears, memories of an half-aged bearded man in saffron clothes, performing ‘yogasanas’, particularly of taking a deep breath and exhaling with a swishing sound as ‘pranayama’ on the early morning TV shows comes to our mind. At that time he was given the credit of ushering in the ‘yog aasanas’ into the living rooms of the people through the idiot-box. Lately, the venues shifted to the grand Patanjali Yog Vidya Peeth in Haridwar, where couple of thousands could be seen performing the aasanas under the leadership of this Yog Guru.

In recent past people also get a thought of a huge gatherings against corruption in the Ram Leela grounds of New Delhi where police action were waged to vacate the grounds. The controversies started and continued for days and months, in debates and discussions in the political circles, in media, amongst people and bureaucrats for a religious Guru for his involvement for a socio-political change.  Here, I do not intend to be a part of such any debate for or against, rather wish to throw light on one facet of Baba Ramdev which heretofore has remained neglected or unnoticed.

It was on 22nd December, 2012 when after an international conference on Social Entrepreneurship & CSR linkages organized by Green Earth Alliance and PHDCCI in Doon University at Dehradoon in Uttrakhand, we were invited to visit the Patanjali’s Mega Food Park by S.K. Patra, CEO & President  of Patanjali Food & Herbal park.

No doubt, the experience was fantastic as we could sense the huge sprawling estate spread over 85 acres of land, its state of art processing units, the benevolent and beautiful infrastructure, like dry warehouses with a capacity of 20,000Mt, integrated cold chain facility with a capacity of 2500Mt, having pre cooling chambers, banana ripening chambers, variable humidity stores, multi commodity cold storages and reefer room with 2500Mt capacity. Multi-commodity automated washing and grading unit, ETP with capacity of 550Mt/day, advanced ware-housing and material handling system for grains, water de-mineralizer with a capacity of 15,000 litres/hour, soft water with a capacity of 15,000 litres/hour, internal R.O. plant having 45,000 litres/hour capacities, raw water of 125,000 litres/hour capacities and so on. Already 12 units are running like co-packing facility-tetra pack and voll-pack, multi –fruit juice processing lines, neutraceutical processing lines, PET and HDPE lines corrugated boxes manufacturing unit, flour mill, candy plant, digestives unit, juice plant etc. are other attractions here.

These facilities have numerous potentialities and prospects for encouragement of enterprises in fruit based, vegetable based, cereals and grains based, milk based, sugar-cane based, paddy based industries, that also have vast scope in concern our country i.e. agriculture based India. Every unit in the park we visited, every step we took forward, increased our respect for the promoter, the visionary, for one cannot cite any other example of any successful enterprise anywhere in the world, that has risen in an absolutely professional manner in such a small span and is totally indigenous and providing employment to thousands of local youth, His entrepreneurship also competes with the best of MNC’s products that are feeding us junk-foods. The most significant aspect of the whole venture undoubtedly had been his ability to select the right people.

The Indian Parliament recently passed a bill that obligates the big corporate to spend at least two percent of their annual profits under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This could be a good example of young corporate house of Baba Ramdev that has emanated from the social responsibility towards the people. We could also see rural women moving around the factory campus, working in different groups and enjoying the social and financial dividend that Patanjali has offered them. Some of them are working as SHGs and are lone-earner of their family. The amicable and refreshing work culture and man-force of the factory campus could be compared to the best in the country, who together make their efforts for their sociao-economic growth and add to the development of the country.
(Manoj Sharma, an NGI (Non Government Individual), roaming in the hills of Uttarakhand. He can be reached at manojkrdoon@gmail.com)

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