Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has launched a private security firm “Parakram Suraksha Private Ltd’. The aim of the company ensuring security and developing military instinct. According to Acharya Balakrishna, CEO of Ramdev’s Patanjali, “Security is a very important issue either for a man or a woman. Our aim is to prepare individuals for self and country’s security and for this we have formed Parakram. This will help develop military instinct in each and every citizen of the country so as to awaken the spirit and determination for individual and national security. Ramdev has hired retired Army and police personnel to train young interested recruits and plan to make a mark in security”.
In a democratic country there is nothing wrong with starting a legitimate business. A security firm is a perfectly legitimate business. Baba Ramdev is not just a Yoga guru with millions of followers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the president of the ruling party, BJP’s Amit Shah but also a shrewd businessman. He has been seen performing his yoga tricks on several government functions including the Yoga Day.
Baba Ramdev’s “Patanjali Ayurved Ltd” which started its operations in 2008-09 was a marginal player until Narendra Modi came to power. Since then his business has boomed. In 2016-17 it doubled its revenue from Rs 5000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore and has become the fastest growing FMCG company in India. There are many who see the political patronage of the current political dispensation as the reason behind the phenomenal rise of the Patanjali empire.
So why should one be cynical about a well established businessman starting another lucrative business?
In April 2016, during a conference for harmony of the Rashtrya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Rohtak (Haryana). The media quoted Baba Ramdev as saying that he would have “beheaded” those who refuse to chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” were it not for the law of the land. Baba Ramdev said, “We respect this country’s law and Constitution, otherwise if anybody disrespects Bharat Mata, we have the capability of beheading not one but thousands and lakhs.”. This statement was directed at the Muslim community. This should send a chill down the spine of every peace loving citizen of the world.
When a person who has publicly stated that he is ready to behead hundreds of thousands of Muslims just for not ‘chanting’ patriotic slogans starts a private security company with an aim to “develop military instinct in each and every citizen of the country so as to awaken the spirit and determination for individual and national security” we should be worried.
Private security is a fast growing business in India. It’s the sought after business for the unskilled laborers and the former farmers who migrate to the cities and towns. They are in their millions in India. They can be spotted every nook and corner of India. If Baba Ramdev is going to instill ‘military instinct’ in them we should be worried. At a time when every ‘other’ in India is termed an ‘anti-national’ by the Sangh Parivar, Baba Ramdev instilling the spirit of ‘national security’ in his ‘private army’ is worrying. What is the purpose of hiring “retired Army and police personnel to train young interested recruits’’ if not for raising a para-military private army?
There is also a parallel in America. The Blackwater security company founded by former Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince contracts most of the non-field operations of the American military. Blackwater was later renamed as a Xe Services and now simply Academi. It has contracts with American military worth billions of dollars. Will this be the first step towards privatisation of the Indian army?
Given the business acumen of Baba Ramdev and the patronage he gets from the ruling dispensation and the Sangh Parivar, it would not be surprising, if he puts most of the currently operating security agencies out of business. Would you like to see nationalistic, ‘patriotic’, militarily trained Parakram Surakshak’s guarding your businesses and housing complexes? I would be worried.
To conclude, let me put a speculative question. How would these trained Parakram Surakshak’s behave in a communal riot, which is not infrequent in India?