Niranjan Shah, a civil engineer, who pioneered famous high-rise buildings in Baroda, is a broadcaster in India and the USA and a prolific writer. Under “A Letter from Grandpa.” he has been writing since 2002 on India’s historical, philosophical, and literary heritage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Niranjan Shah
My dear Shilpi and Shivam:
Dr. Satish Mishra, one of the organizers of the event, who was in charge of media, invited us to a historic address by Swami Ramdev to the (FISI) Friends of India Society International at Tyson’s Corner Marriot Hotel in Vienna, VA on June 26, 2010, Dr. Bhishma Agnihotri, President of FISI presided over the conference. Event was supported by Major Indian—American Com-munity Organizations of Washington DC Metropolitan Area. Swami Ramdev talked on “Challenges Facing India and Shaping Its Future.”
FISI was founded in 1975 to safeguard Indian democratic institutions and ideals in the aftermath of “emergency rule” in India. FISI brings together friends of India worldwide in order to safeguard the interests of India and people of Indian origin living outside India. The reactivated FISI now is an international, non-denominational, and non-political association of the friends of India – drawn from among the Indian Diaspora and the countries in which the Indian Diaspora resides. The aim of FISI is to educate the wider public about India and the status of the Indian Diaspora.
Swami Ramdev is known for his efforts in popularizing Yoga as it is enunciated in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. He is also one of the founders of the Divya Yog Mandir Trust headquartered in Haridwar, that aims to popularize Yoga and offer Ayurvedic treatments. Swami is an internationally acclaimed Yoga expert, social reformer, spiritual leader and a great patriot. He has been leading a national movement in India for the past 5 years under the umbrella of Bharat Swabhiman Andolan on a number of national issues of great importance and urgency e.g. political reforms, corruption, crime, poverty, superstition, terrorism, etc. Swami has combined in his teachings and offerings a regime of programs for physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual health. He extols the virtues of self-reliance, discipline, balance, and national pride. Baba Ramdev, is a household word in Yogic practices of Pranayama and Asanas. He is promoting Ayurvedic medicinal methods for curing of all kinds of ailments. His programs, workshops and discourses are widely watched or attended in about 200 countries with millions of followers. Swami Ramdev is transforming India at every level. Baba Ramdev’s interaction with Friends of India Society of International (FISI) is consistent with FISI’s mission. FISI requested Baba to share his message, mission, and vision with the Indian Diaspora.
Swami Ramdev has acquired a Scottish isle for about £2 million to set up a wellness retreat. The Little Cumbrae Island, off the fishing town of Largs in Scotland, will also serve as the guru’s base overseas, where his teachings of yoga as a means to cleanse the body and mind are gaining popularity. The acquisition itself was carried out by a Scottish couple of Indian origin, Sam and Sunita Poddar, who saw recession and the resultant fall in property prices as an opportunity to expand the base of Patanjali Yogpeeth — the institution founded by Ramdev for scientific research and treatment in yog, spiritualism and ayurveda. The island property has been inaugurated in September 2009 with a hawan, a Hindu fire ritual, will be administered by the Patanjali Yogpeeth (UK) Trust.
Swami is very proud of India’s heritage and he is very keen to bring India’s heritage back. He has a burning desire to take care of (1) Malpractices in the agricultural sector (2) Consumption of fast food and soft drinks (3) Exploitation of farmers. (4) Poor condition of indigenous industries. (5). Indian black money in Swiss banks. (6) 84 Crore (840 Million) People living on Rs. 20 a day.
The New York Times calls him an “Indian who built Yoga Empire”, “a product and symbol of the New India, a yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, irrepressible and bursting with Vedic wisdom”.
— Grandpa’s blessing