In an apparent effort to introduce him to a Yoga-obsessed American audience and elaborating on his achievements and influence in India, a recent New York Times feature compared Ramdev to US President Donald Trump and predicted that he could be the future Prime Minister of the country.
While Ramdev’s achievements have made international headlines and he continues to grab spotlight both in India and in foreign countries, he has hardly ever been compared to an extremely controversial Trump. The NYT feature though finds many similarities. “In his own way, Ramdev is India’s answer to Donald Trump, and there is much speculation that he may run for prime minister himself,” reads the feature titled ‘The Billionaire Yogi Behind Modi’s Rise’.
It then goes on to elaborate on just why Ramdev is much like Trump. “Like Trump, he heads a multibillion-dollar empire. And like Trump, he is a bombastic TV personality whose relationship with truth is elastic; he cannot resist a branding opportunity — his name and face are everywhere in India.”
While it is true that both Patanjali and The Trump Organisation are both massive business enterprises, judging their respective character is, feel many, a little too far-fetched. For starters, Trump has often been accused in the past of using questionable means to succeed in his business endeavours. More significantly, he has been widely known as a womaniser with little to no respect for women – contrary to what he himself may claim. In the run-up to the US Presidential elections, an AV recording emerged in which Trump was heard using highly objectionable words for a woman. More recently, there have been women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. And then there is Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, who said that Trump had made her sign a non-disclosure agreement about an affair they had.
More significantly, while Trump has become the US President – leading many to highlight a conflict of interest, Ramdev holds no political office. The yoga guru does have close ties with BJP leaders but many feel to predict he would be India’s future PM is a blank shot in the dark. Not NYT though.
The feature goes on to say that Ramdev is possible more powerful than any PM. “On the surface, Ramdev’s blissful demeanor is worlds away from Trump’s growls and sneers. But his namastes provide cover for a reactionary campaign to transform the country. Ramdev is more powerful than any prime minister. He may be a wholly new breed: a populist tycoon, protected from critics (and even, to some extent, from the law) by a vast following and a claim to holy purpose.”