In ancient Indian text Yogasutra, Patnajali refers to two different scholars. One who wrote on Yoga and the other who wrote on grammar. But the reason we even care to talk about Patanjali as a great Indian scholar and Yogi, who was somehow lost in the tide of history, can be attributed to a bearded Yogi from India -Swami Ramdev.
In the modern Indian context, Patnajali is not just the name of a Yoga maestro or a grammarian, but also a big name in the Indian FMCG segment.
Born in 1953, Swami Ramdev has played a major role in popularizing and bringing Yoga to every household in India. In his speeches, he regularly talks about Patnajali and how great a scholar he was. He also seeks to instill nationalist sentiments among the youth of India and regularly talks about how the present generation in India is indebted to Indian freedom fighters . And since beginning, in his speeches, he blames foreign multinational companies for their products and the deleterious impact they have on the health of the people. So, did Swami Ramdev consider entering the FMCG(Fast moving consumer goods) segment ever since he and his Yoga gathered popularity and was he laying grounds for Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd when he used to criticize the big names in the FMCG sector?
Well, whatever the truth might be, currently, Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd is one of the largest companies in India dealing in FMCG. According to Swami Ramdev, the company will close the current fiscal with a revenue of $750M(5000 cr Rupees). And how much in this is owned by Swami Ramdev? Well, not a single penny.
Swami Ramdev doesn’t believe in accumulating wealth and believes in simple living. He does not have a mattress to sleep. He gets up at 3 AM and sleeps at around 11 PM and only eats boiled vegetables and fruits. The revenue earned by his company is utilized in the production of consumer goods which cost significantly less than the similar products manufactured by other companies. On Friday, he announced that the company will launch its brand of atta noodles, which will cost Rs 15 on the 15th of October. The similar product which was manufactured by Nestle’s Maggi cost Rs 25.
On Friday, Kishore Biyani of the Future group announced a tie up with Patnajali to sell Patnajali’s products in stores like Big Bazaar. Understanding the market reach of Patanjali, Kishore Biyani said that the products sold by Patanjali are appreciated by everyone for their quality and it is only appropriate to find a partner in them. Swami Ramdev openly criticized the foreign MNCs and said that they should suffer if they sell bad quality and expensive products. He also said that his search for a ‘desi retail chain’ is over after Patanjali’s deal with Future group. From now on, people can find Patanjali products side by side Proctor and Gamble’s products.
The success of Swami Ramdev’s Patanjali is a lesson for the cynics who didn’t approve his venture into the FMCG segment years ago and were almost certain that the company will shut down within a year. It is also a lesson for the entrepreneurial gurus about how quality products and services can break the domination of the existing bigwigs. All done by a single person and that too without stake in his company.