He is known for his simple, saffron coloured attire and his cheerfully done headstands while posing for press shoots. A well known public figure in India, Ramdev Baba has not failed to make headlines due to his stance on homosexuality.
‘Patanjali’ is one of the biggest conglomerate in India. Patanjali Ayurved Limited produces quality Herb-mineral products. According to its last official filings for FY15, Patanjali Ayurved had total sales of ₹2,013 crores.
Baba Ramdev has been applauded and has gathered praises for transforming India and to rekindle yoga practice not only in India, but in the world. With Bollywood actors and ministers, including the Prime Minister, openly advocating his practices, Baba Ramdev has a very prominent fan following in the country.
“If homosexuality is given protection of law, the cases of child abuse would rise,” says Baba Ramdev.
He is an open Modi supporter, a regular speaker against the black money issue, and a household name in India. His corporation makes a six figure revenue every year and considered a Unilever, Nestle and Colgate contender. His views on the Section 377 Of the Indian Penal Code, that deems homosexuality as ‘unnatural’, has provoked fierce criticism.
“Homosexuality is not genetic. If our parents were homosexuals, then we would not have been born. So it’s unnatural” Ramdev Baba reiterated that the verdict on Section 377 respects the sentiments of the religious communities in the country.
“The Supreme Court has respected the sentiments of the various religious communities of India. Today they are talking of homosexuality, tomorrow they will talk of having sex with animals,” said Baba Ramdev, the television guru whose yoga programmes are watched by an estimated 85 million people throughout the world.
He has also compared homosexuals to “other anti-social groups”, and said legalisation would have a “negative effect” on the young, while increasing the prevalence of HIV/Aids.
He claims his Yoga Ashram in Haridwar can treat homosexuals and make them like the opposite gender with the help of a few medicines. He has gone ahead and claimed to help the Prince of Rajpipla, who is an openly gay prince working for the cause of LGBT community through his trust called- Lakshya Trust, to cure his ‘homosexual- disease’.
With a six figure turnover, if a company like Patanjali can claim to ‘cure’ homosexuals, it is evident that educating young minds, at the grass root level, is more important.
The recent Orlando shooting brings out the repercussions of homophobia, its misinterpretations, lack of information. India is a home to 2.5 million registered gays and it believed to have the same number still finding their identity. The best way to start would be to understand that homosexuality is not a disease. Every mental institution in the world has deleted off ‘homosexuals’ from the list of mental illness. It is imperative to educate young generation about the gender spectrum.
For all those who still believe that homosexuality is a mental disorder, here’s the official statement issued by the Indian Psychiatric Society, umbrella body for psychiatrists across the country:
“Based on existing scientific evidence and good practice guidelines from the field of psychiatry, the Indian Psychiatric Society would like to state that there is no evidence to substantiate the belief that homosexuality is a mental illness or a disease,”
– Dr. TV Asokan and N.N. Raju, General Secretary of the Indian Psychiatric Society
Written by Juhi Ashtputre