Yoga teacher and businessman Baba Ramdev has kicked up a controversy by saying that if Periyar was around in his time, he would have had shoes slapped on him. This is Ramdev’s third comment about Periyar that has created a controversy in one week. In a statement on Monday, DMK leader Stalin condemned this attack on Periyar.
In a video that surfaced on Monday, Ramdev says, “For the past two-three days, Periyar’s ‘chele’ (followers) have been behind me. (laughs derisively). Now I say, this Periyar put shoe garlands for gods and goddesses, he slaps Ram and Krishna with shoes. Now he’s not alive. But if in my time Periyar was around, there would be so many shoes slapped on him, he wouldn’t have escaped alive. But I wasn’t there back then, what to do?”
This comes just a week after the yoga teacher coined the term ‘ideological terror’ in his recent speeches and television appearances. In an interview with journalist Arnab Goswami, the founder of Republic TV, a day after the Ayodhya judgment, the saffron clad yoga teacher was indulging in a take down of AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, when he coined the term ‘ideological terrorism’ in connection with Periyar and Ambedkar’s followers.
In the interview with Arnab Goswami, Ramdev said, “The followers of Periyar are growing. I see a lot of these things on Facebook and Twitter… Periyar’s followers, who say people who follow god are fools, those who pray to god are scoundrels, that god is satan, and all such nonsense. I have no problem with anti-religious people, they have a right to their views. But Lenin, Marx and Mao can never be the ideal for this country. We don’t need outside cultures – outside ‘un’-cultures.”
“Another danger: I agree with Ambedkar’s ideas of one nation, one law, caste-free India equality, justice. But his ‘chelas’ (followers)... The followers of great men are very dangerous,” he went on to say, “I love Dalits a lot. In my place, from the kitchen to every task, there are Dalits. Everywhere. I don’t discriminate. Whoever has whatever talent. I have made them teachers, I have made them sanyasis. I have made them the heads of my institutions. Dalits, Valmikis... even Adivasis. OBCs also. OBC, not Owaisi (haha). But this attempt to divide… I have given a term for this, Arnab brother, take this seriously. Vaicharik Atankwad (Ideological terrorism),” Ramdev said with a flourish.
Ramdev continued, “Indian government should make a law – should remove all such content from social media, which creates destruction in the country.”
Ramdev made a similar statement in a speech that has gone viral on social media, in an undated video.
“Followers of atheists like Ramasamy Periyar who call people who believe in god as fools, the preachers of god as scoundrels, and call religion poison. Such strong publicity is happening for these people. The centre of all this is evil propaganda, is assassinating the character of our predecessors, rishis and rishikas. Just a couple of days when I spoke in the media, I said there are several types of terrorism in the world, and this ‘ideological terrorism’ is very dangerous. Ideological terrorism wants to break this country up into pieces," he said.
Ramdev’s comments have prompted several people to call for his arrest, and for the boycott of his company, Patanjali.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, DMK chief MK Stalin said, “I strongly condemn this targeted attack on Periyar and our ideology by right-wing forces. Periyar fought for the downtrodden classes. He voiced the rights of women. He spoke against the caste system. The DMK will defend the Dravidian ideology against all such oppressive forces.”