Indian guru sells ‘son-bearing’ medicine
A hugely popular Indian guru launched a defence on Friday (May 1) of one of his herbal drugs, whose name claims to help women conceive sons.
The controversy has also embroiled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Baba Ramdev, who has millions of devotees through his yoga TV show, said the drug helped with infertility and not sex selection, a highly sensitive issue in India where boys are preferred to girls.
“It has got nothing to do with sex selection....But if the name is misleading, we will include a disclaimer from the next batch onwards,” the saffron-robed Mr Ramdev told a news conference in New Delhi.
The drug, called “Divya Putrajeevak Beej” which translates as “Divine Son-Bearing Seed” in English, sparked uproar in parliament on Thursday (April 30) with the opposition demanding it be pulled from pharmacy shelves.
Mr Ramdev said: “It’s a conspiracy to defame me. People who are raising such questions have no knowledge about nomenclatures and Ayurveda (a traditional form of Indian medicine).”
Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda told parliament that “the government will look into it and proper action will be taken”.
The row is potentially embarrassing for Mr Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party after Mr Ramdev campaigned extensively for the Hindu nationalist leader at last year’s general election.
The guru, who reportedly has a trust worth around US$250 million (S$330 million), a Scottish island and a global herbal medicine business worth billions, is not new to controversy.
Two years ago, he offered to “cure” homosexuals at his ashram.