Ramdev belittles allopathy, Harsh Vardhan responds meekly

Ramdev said, ‘Lakhon logon ke maut ka karan allopathy hai.’ To accept his logic, one has to believe that the millions of people all over the world thronging to hospitals for Covid-19 treatment are stupid

Ravi Shanker Kapoor |

Yoga guru Ramdev

Yoga guru Ramdev

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is incensed at Yoga guru Ramdev—and rightly so. He recently said, “Lakhon logon ke maut ka karan allopathy hai” (Allopathy is the cause of the death of lakhs of people). His statement is not only an affront to the millions of doctors and medics all over the world but also reflects his entire approach to medical science—indeed to science per se and modernity in general.

Unfortunately, this attitude is rife among not only the uneducated and semi-educated people but also many among the middle class. In Ramdev, of course, it is more pronounced and loud. He is skeptical about, and usually hostile to, anything modern and/or Western; in fact, modern and Western are synonymous in his scheme of things. Concomitantly, the Indian systems of yoga and Ayurveda are flawless and infinitely efficacious.

Therefore, he is as much opposed to Coca Cola as to modern or allopathic medicine. In his recent tirade against allopathy, he dubbed it as “stupid aur diwaliya science” (stupid and dysfunctional science). His reasoning: allopathic doctors have tried medicines like ivermectine, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), remdesivir, and fabiflue; they have also tried steroids and plasma therapy; but none has worked; ergo, modern medicine is flawed. Hence it is a stupid aur diwaliya science. QED.

To accept Ramdev’s logic and conclusion, one has to believe that the millions of people all over the world thronging to hospitals for Covid-19 treatment—and treatment for a zillion other ailments—are silly. We should also refuse to accept the fact that the lives of countless people suffering from the coronavirus have been saved by doctors and hospitals.

Honesty and truthfulness are universally regarded as virtues, but an obscurantist like Ramdev cannot see that. Allopathic doctors have no qualms in saying that certain diseases and disorders—terminal cancer, HIV-AIDS, et al—have not cure. But Ramdev has no compunctions in claiming that he has cure for cancer, HIV-AIDS, and Covid-19.

In a letter to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, the IMA has urged him to prosecute Ramdev under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, or accept the yoga guru’s allegations and wind up modern medical facilities. “Enough is enough,” the IMA said, accusing Ramdev of “repeatedly taking advantage of the situation and creating fear among the public to sell his illegal drugs.”

The premier medical body said that when Ramdev is “making vitriolic comments, questioning the authority and integrity of the whole architecture of Health Ministry, the Health Minister, who himself is a practicing modern medicine allopathic postgraduate and the head of this Ministry, should either accept the challenge and accusation of this gentleman and dissolve the modern medicine facility or boldly face and prosecute the person for his words of arson on the sovereignty of the country and book him under the Epidemic Diseases Act to save millions of people from such unscientific utterances.”

Sadly, the IMA shows more respect for the Health Ministry and the Health Minister than the Minister himself shows for the Ministry and himself. Vardhan demeaned himself a few months ago by attending the launch of Coronil by Ramdev’s company Patanjali. Coronil, Ramdev said, was cure for Covid—a patently false claim. In no modern nation, a quack is allowed—and officially patronized—to sell counterfeit medicines. But in India any outrage can be perpetrated in the name of yoga, Ayurveda, national pride, etc.

The likes of Ramdev know that very well—and take advantage of this.

The most critical thing about Ramdev that Vardhan could dare to say was that the former’s recent remarks have hurt the sentiments of doctors and frontline workers who are combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Vardhan, much more is expected of you. Instead of making bland statements, you should act against the man debunking science and selling fake cures.

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