Yoga televangelist Baba Ramdev wants his multi-crore “swadeshi” consumer goods empire to launch an apparel brand, Paridhaan, which will include jeans and office wear. Ramdev, whose bearded and saffron-robed image as the Patanjali brand ambassador dots billboards across the country, is planning to go global with factories in Bangladesh and Africa to start with and eventually spread wings to Europe and the US.
Ramdev, who has no shares in the business he runs, told the media: “The idea (of the apparel brand Patanjali Desi Jeans) started with some followers asking me for Patanjali yoga wear. Then we thought ‘why not a whole range of dresses – Paridhaan – for everyone’? If we are fighting to bring economic independence for our country from multinationals by promoting indigenous and natural products, we should also be in the garments market.”
“We will make men’s and women’s wear, not just traditional Indian clothing but also modern wear like jeans for example. Just because I am a baba does not mean we cannot marry modernity with spirituality, we can make, let’s say desi jeans,” said Ramdev, with a twinkle in his eyes.
But, Ramdev added, the chain of factories would concentrate on medicines, toiletries and food products. “We need to ensure perfect quality for these as they impact people’s health. However, other products like clothing, which we will design and brand, can be outsourced.
Ramdev, who runs the enterprise with his friend Acharya Balkrishna There are many good manufactures in Ludhiana and other textile centres for that work. “From a sprawling campus on the outskirts of the pilgrim town of Haridwar, said: “We have plans to set up a composite factory in Bangladesh which will make the whole range of our (Patanjali) products for that country.”
“We have already entered the Nepal market. After Bangladesh, we aim to enter Africa. We will first grow in developing countries where the market conditions are similar to ours. After that in stage II, we will take the battle against multinationals into the developed markets of Europe and the US, where there is a growing demand for natural products, as against the chemical stuff that these MNCs sell.”