Yoga guru Ramdev is not a man unused to having books written about him. In the last decade there have been several of them, including ‘The Life and Times of Baba Ramdev’, by Raj Ashok in 2010, and Kaushik Deka’s ‘The Baba Ramdev Phenomenon: From Moksha to Market’, which released last year. A week ago, though, about a fortnight after its release, a local court in Delhi restrained publishers Juggernaut Books from publication and sale of Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev. The order was passed ex-parte, that is, without hearing either the publisher, or the author Priyanka Pathak-Narain.
According to the Delhi-based Juggernaut, the order was passed exparte “in order to avoid the delay which would be caused during the process of serving the notice and hearing the defendants”. In a press release issued yesterday, the publisher said, “We have received an intimation and copy of the order on August 10, 2017 and have complied with it immediately thereafter.” The publisher will move the court to vacate the injunction.
Speaking to this newspaper, Mumbai-based journalist Pathak-Narain said that she was flummoxed at the placing of the injunction by Ramdev on the sale of the book. “There was no indication that a thing like this would happen, especially because this is not the first time someone is writing a book on him. It came out of the blue,” said Pathak-Narain. “Everything that is in the book has been meticulously researched, and attributed. I met him and Acharya Balkrishna while working on my book, and my meeting with them was very cordial. Ramdev was pretty forthcoming.”
Godman to Tycoon… traces the arc of the self-styled godman and business tycoon’s life, right from his birth in Said Alipur, in Mahendranagar, Haryana – he was born Ram Kisan Yadav – to his takeover of television channel Aastha India and the rise of Patanjali Ayurved, among the country’s fastest growing FMCG brands. Ramdev set up Patanjali Ayurved along with his close associate Acharya Balkrishna in 2006. The company had a turnover of Rs 10,561 crore in 2016-17.
Pathak-Narain told Mirror that her book is as much about the people who have been associated with Ramdev as the yoga guru himself. “There has been a lot written on him. In a way, he is overexposed. That is why the book is about the stories told about him by people who have worked with him and knew him. That was how I connected the dots.”
Twitterati were quick to lambast Ramdev’s move yesterday. Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, tweeted: “As we defend #FreedomOfThePress we need to defend Freedom of Book Publishers in India too!” The order of exparte interim injunction restrains Juggernaut Books, the author, and also the printer and e-tailers Amazon and Flipkart. “As the matter is sub judice, we cannot comment on the merits of the case.
However, we stand by our book, will defend the case and will move the court to vacate the injunction,” Juggernaut said in a press statement. Attempts by this newspaper to get in touch with Ramdev’s lawyer Pramod Nagar were unsuccessful.