A recent, controversial video of Baba Ramdev has been making the rounds of the rounds on the internet. In it, the Yoga guru alleged that, “Allopathy is a stupid and diwaliya science". Further, in the same video, Ramdev also claimed that “lakhs and lakhs of people died because of administering allopathic medicines rather than a shortage of oxygen" amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Why is Ramdev’s video controversial?
Following Ramdev’s rant against allopathy, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) sent Ramdev a legal notice asking him to recall his words and to publish a written apology in national newspapers. The IMA also released a press release asking “Union Health Minister to either accept accusation and dissolve modern medical facility or prosecute him and book him under Epidemic Diseases Act."
Dr Vinay Kumar, President of Bihar United Resident Doctors Association (URDA) said, “We strongly condemn the irrational and unparliamentary words against Allopathy and Medical doctors. URDA endorses the views of IMA and fully support its actions. The statements made by Ramdev will create a Trust-Deficit between patients and doctors.”
In the video Ramdev questioned the wisdom and integrity of medicines approved by DGCI. He asked why medicines like Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, antibiotics, steroids and plasma therapy failed back to back.
What did the IMA say?
Experts from the medical fraternity have disapproved of Ramdev’s comments about the inefficacy of allopathic medicines in fighting Covid-19, calling it a matter of constant progress and changes occurring due to new findings in the collected data.
Medical experts further explain that medical science does not run on some set rules rather, it evolves according to the data collected for study and thus any change in the treatments can take place as a sign of progress.
Dr. Ravinder Mehta who is Chief of Critical Care, Pulmonologist at Apollo Hospital in Bangalore says, “People who understand that any science which is capable of declaring what it is doing, allowing it to be seen by others and willing to change and admit that is incorrect based on the events is a progressive science. Actually questions like why allopathy keeps changing its stand? And If medicines know what it’s doing? reflect lack of understanding of the processes.”
Why is Ramdev trending on social media?
Following the Indian Medical Association’s request to Union Health Minister demanding action, Twitter has been rife with polarised debate. Medicos around the country shared their experiences about their long, exhausting and dedicated hours of duty in such times of crisis. While some agreed with the IMA and called Ramdev a ‘quack doctor’, his supporters defended him by promoting ‘swadeshi’ medicines and Ayurveda products. Critics claimed that Ramdev’s video was just another tactic for the founder of ‘Patanjali Ayurveda’ to promote his own products and controversial Covid-19 medicines such as ‘Coronil’.
I am 24,posted in ICU,with 8-10 new mucormycosis cases daily,heavy viral load,risking our lives to save patients & then we see the comments like Baba Ramdev,so much depressing.We are not money minded like you baba,We are paid only 12k/monthHave some shame!#ArrestQuackRamdev pic.twitter.com/fYUN7yyhzH— Medicogirl (@nikita__panwar) May 22, 2021
How did the government respond to the controversy?
Following the outrage, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan wrote a letter to Baba Ramdev in which he said that the yoga guru’s words have caused great distress to the fraternity of doctors, especially at the time of the Covid-19 crisis when medicos are fighting day and night against the pandemic. Vardhan requested Ramdev to recall his words.
संपूर्ण देशवासियों के लिए #COVID19 के खिलाफ़ दिन-रात युद्धरत डॉक्टर व अन्य स्वास्थ्यकर्मी देवतुल्य हैं।बाबा @yogrishiramdev जी के वक्तव्य ने कोरोना योद्धाओं का निरादर कर,देशभर की भावनाओं को गहरी ठेस पहुंचाई।
मैंने उन्हें पत्र लिखकर अपना आपत्तिजनक वक्तव्य वापस लेने को कहा है। pic.twitter.com/QBXCdaRQb1
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) May 23, 2021
Did Ramdev take back his statement?
On Sunday, Ramdev was forced to withdraw a statement made in a viral video clip in which he is heard saying that “lakhs have died from taking allopathic medicines for COVID-19.” Following the letter from the Health minister, Ramdev acquiesced and accepted that allopathy has earned much dignity, has prospered with the time and proven helpful during all the times of mankind’s health care needs.
माननीय श्री @drharshvardhan जी आपका पत्र प्राप्त हुआ,उसके संदर्भ में चिकित्सा पद्दतियों के संघर्ष के इस पूरे विवाद को खेदपूर्वक विराम देते हुए मैं अपना वक्तव्य वापिस लेता हूँ और यह पत्र आपको संप्रेषित कर रहा हूं- pic.twitter.com/jEAr59VtEe— स्वामी रामदेव (@yogrishiramdev) May 23, 2021
Ramdev also defended the viral video by claiming that it had been maliciously edited to make him look bad. The letter shared by baba also clarified that the video shared on social media was truncated. He mentioned that he was reading a WhatsApp forwarded message which he received himself.
While Baba Ramdev did take back his statement on Allopathy, he mounted a set of 25 questions for the IMA in response to the controversy.
Having been forced to withdraw his statement questioning the efficacy of allopathy medicines, yoga guru Ramdev on Monday asked the Indian Medical Association (IMA) if allopathy offered permanent relief for ailments such as hypertension and diabetes.
In an ‘open letter’ posted on his Twitter handle, Ramdev posed 25 questions to IMA, which had objected to his video clip running down allopathy treatment for COVID-19.
He asked if allopathy offered permanent relief from hypertension (BP) and type-1 and 2 diabetes. “Does the pharma industry have permanent treatment for thyroid, arthritis, colitis and asthma?” he asked.
Ramdev went on to ask if allopathy had medicines for fatty liver and liver cirrhosis. “Like you found a cure for TB and chicken pox, look for treatments for liver ailments. After All, allopathy is now 200 years old.”
Not the first time
This was not the first time when Ramdev tried to defame allopathy according to IMA’s press release. Earlier in the year, the yogi and businessman allegedly called medical practitioners ‘murderers’. Later in May, Ramdev mocked the shortage of oxgen and hospital beds and claimed that ‘the whole universe is filled with oxygen’ and that, people aren’t using their ‘natural oxygen cylinders-Lungs’ enough. Further, he said that the excessive reports of shortage were just a way for some naysayers to spread negativity in the country at a time of crisis.