An Indian yoga guru is recruiting “patriots” to help him defeat global consumer goods companies

Marketing muscle.
Marketing muscle.
Image: EPA/Jagadeesh NV
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Yoga guru Baba Ramdev wants to build a consumer goods empire with an army of patriots in tow.

At least that’s what the latest advertisement put out by India’s fastest growing consumer goods company suggests.

Inviting distributors to grow its business, Patanjali Ayurved that sells over 400 variants of toothpaste, soaps, face-creams and other products, is seeking “only able, patriotic person(s)” to become part of his mission.

Here’s what advertisements says:

The goal of Patanjali is not only business, rather this is the most scared mission for swadeshi. In coming few years Patanjali will be a bigger brand than these multinationals. Patanjali will use the profits for education, medical and other social, religious and spiritual fields and help in the expansion of these through charitable work. Therefore only able, patriotic person should become a part of this mission.

Ramdev’s pitch to the India’s burgeoning middle-class consumers—by asking them to shun foreign produce and use herbal, natural products—is a bit of throwback to the Swadeshi movement of 1905 that ditched British goods for local products. At the same time, the marketing ploy is also a nod to the Narendra Modi government’s widely-promoted “Make In India” programme.

So far, the gamble has paid off. Ramdev, who has been dispensing yoga lessons on prime-time television since 2003, started packaging Ayurvedic products in 2006. In the last two years, pricey advertisements featuring Bollywood actors, promotions at his yoga events, lower-priced products and tie-ups with large domestic retailers has seen Patanjali eat into market share of India’s largest consumer goods companies.

Patanjali’s call-to-arms for distributors comes at a time when the yoga guru, flattered by his success in the market, is making bold projections to double business from Rs5,000 crore currently.

“We will invest Rs1,000 crore to set up five to six processing units in various parts of the country. Besides, we will invest Rs150 crore in research & development,” Ramdev said on April 26. “We are looking at doubling our turnover to Rs10,000 crore in the current fiscal.”

If you’re tempted by the idea of serving your country by selling more soaps and cow ghee, then do apply!