Patanjali, the company he founded, claims to have had sales of more than $300m (£200m) in the past year, and is one of India’s fastest-growing consumer goods firms.
Dressed in saffron robes, long hair tied up in a loose knot, flowing beard, wooden slippers and a cloth bag slung over his shoulder, Baba Ramdev looks every bit like a traditional yoga guru.
For more than a decade he’s demonstrated exercises in front of massive crowds, instructing them on how to breathe in and then exhale, impressing them with his knowledge of ancient yogic asanas (poses).
But as he shows me around his factory in the northern Indian city of Haridwar, he seems equally familiar with modern business and marketing concepts.
He’s surrounded by a large group of armed guards and plain-clothes policemen who make up his security cover. Some workers rush to touch his feet, considered a sign of respect in India.
Baba Ramdev and his aide Acharya Balkrishna set up Patanjali about 10 years ago.
“In India, food, cosmetics and medicines are mostly made and sold by foreign multinational companies that take the country’s money abroad,” Baba Ramdev says.
“They invest less money, but their profits are huge, which they take overseas. We want that India’s money should stay here.”
Made in India – or as the labels on his products read, Made in Bharat, using the Hindi language name for the country – is what Baba Ramdev hopes to be the biggest selling point for his company. Continue reading >>