Opinion: Baba Ramdev’s Insane Plan To Change Our Lives Is A Little Worrying
Baba Ramdev has one mission – take over the FMCG and pretty much every other business he can set his hands on. He wants to take over the world, one step at a time. It’s not that difficult, clearly, since every other day, there’s some news that tells us that Baba Ramdev and his brand Patanjali have done this, that and the other. No, seriously, the amount of land he has acquired should be worrying us. Not only is he planning to take over the country and get rid of already existing and popular brands, he wants to change the way people live.
Let’s take this quote for example, “Colgate will be below Patanjali by this year, and in three years, we will overtake Unilever. Patanjali products would shut the ‘gate’ in Colgate. The birds in Nestle’s nest (logo) will also fly away.” He is on a mission and nobody can or is standing in his way. But what does this mean for the country and the brands that we rely on the most? Also, how many people do actually use Patanjali products that this is something that we should all be excited about? And let’s be fair, most of the people using Patanjali are not the youth of the country, these are technically the people he should be targeting. However, that doesn’t matter, he’s on a mission, remember!
Whatever kind of product you use in your house, the plan here is that Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali will be filling the houses of every Indian family with ‘swadeshi’ products that will range from toothpaste, to soap and ghee and honey and even instant noodles. Brace yourself, Patanjali is coming.
Implementing The Sin Tax
You read that right, the Sin Tax. We’ve already the “Fat Tax” making waves in Kerala and Gujarat, but now Baba Ramdev wants to impose a “Sin Tax” on cola giants, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. In fact, along with the RSS, they are lobbying hard to the Indian government to make this official and wait for it, here’s the best part – levy a 40% special sin tax on beverage companies because of their high sugar content. And if all goes well, when the next budget is presented in January 2017, these cola brands are going to have to abide by the law and pay this tax, therefore increasing the price of their products.
This could only mean that Patanjali is looking to introduce their own beverages into the Indian market and how will they compete when there are big names like Coke and Pepsi sitting on the shelves. They will also have to compete with Frooti, Maaza and even the new Rooh Afza ready-to-drink bottles, but it’s not like anything is really going to stop him, is it?
Then of course there’s the whole “jeans” development that Patanjali and Baba Ramdev are looking to introduce into the market. According to Ramdev this new clothing line he is launching “will be in line with Indian culture and tradition, and similar to Indian clothing”. But what kind of jeans could Baba Ramdev be introducing when jeans are not entirely considered proper clothing or even accepted in many parts of the country. Brand consultant Harish Bijoor said, “The brand is elastic, but it is not so elastic that can be stretched as far as this. Core competence still counts. Patanjali is great as far as Ayurveda is concerned. Stretching it to anything close to Ayurveda is fine as well. Toothpaste, a hair oil and maybe even atta is fine. Noodles is a bit of a stretch and jeans is a farfetched stretch for sure.”
But say what you want, they have a plan. In fact, Patanjali CEO Acharya Balakrishna told Economic Times that, “Jeans is a western concept and there are two things we can do with western concepts.Either boycott them or adopt them but customise them to suit our traditions. Jeans have become so popular that they cannot be taken away from the Indian society. Swadeshi jeans will be Indianised jeans in style, design and fabric. Our jeans for women will be loose so that they comply with Indian cultural norms and are also comfortable for them. Indian families will find our swadeshi jeans concept very comfortable.”
Other domination plans
Apparently the brand is in talks with the Madhya Pradesh government to sell Patanjali products at their ration shops, which will obviously take away the business of smaller local brands which are already being sold at these shops and catering to the villages. Vishwas Sarang, Minister of State for Cooperatives told the Indian Express that, “We want to convert fair price shops into multi-utility shops; they will benefit from associating with Patanjali products.”
First Ayurveda, then food products and now jeans. What, pray tell, could be next on the Baba’s agenda? We’ll just have to wait and see.