A day after the Ayodhya verdict, Republic Bharat commander-in-chief Arnab Goswami hosted an interview with Ramdev, yoga teacher and founder of consumer goods company, Patanjali Ayurved Limited. The interview made a tiny wave in the Twitterverse for a picture that quite honestly captures the essence of the interview: Ramdev lifting up a beatific Goswami in a DDLJ-esque pose.
We decided we’d take you through the interview because even if the picture piqued your interest, you shouldn’t put yourself through the torture of watching one-and-a-half hours of an uninterrupted you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-give-you-a-bear-hug fest.
Predictably the interview begins with a lot of gushing. Arnab says he called up “Swamiji” on popular demand. Ramdev returns the compliment: “Jaise aap bahut bhavya aur divya dikh rahe hain, waise hi aapka studio bhi international quality ka hai (You look divine and grand and your studio is of an international standard).” Arnab can’t stop emphasising what a viral sensation Swamiji is and Ramdev applauds Arnab on his awesome Hindi.
A sizable portion of the interview is dedicated to Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and four-time Member of Parliament from Hyderabad. Ramdev seems upset that there are people who follow Owaisi and Periyar. He says he fears even those who follow Ambedkar. “Owaisi is desh ko baant ne waala hai…woh baant ne waalon ka sargana hai (Owaisi wants to divide the nation…he is the kingpin of people who want to divide the nation).”
Ramdev then likens Owaisi to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Osama bin Laden — just as they headed terror organisations, Owaisi apparently heads those who want to divide the nation. What exactly did Owaisi do to be at the receiving end of this diatribe? He had views on Ayodhya that didn’t align with the “nationalist” views of Arnab and Ramdev.
Both Arnab and Ramdev then go full mohalle-waali-aunty and launch a tirade against Owaisi. Ramdev says: “Kaunsa durbhagya ka woh waqt tha jab yeh paida ho gaya…aise log dharti pe bojh hain (He was born at an inauspicious time…he’s a burden on the planet).”
Arnab wonders if they’re getting a bit personal, to which Ramdev says he actually loves Owaisi because he loves his inner soul before equating him to Ravan. “Main unki izzat karta hun kyunki usme bhi aatma hai…main unke pure soul ki respect karta hun. Lekin uski zubaan kharab hai, uski soch kaharab hai, uske karam kharab hain…isliye humaare mahapurshon ne Ravan ko mara nahin…Kans ko mara nahin Krishn ji ne…unko Moksh diya…uski aatma pure hai…lekin uska dimaag kharab ho rakha hai…” (I respect his soul but his words, thinking and deeds are all wrong. That’s why our great men didn’t kill Ravan or Kans. They gave them Moksh.)
The duo then shifts their attention to other assorted enemies of the nation: the Indian National Congress, National Herald, Kavita Krishnan, pseudo-secularists, you get the drift.
In typical Radio Rwanda style, Arnab attacks people who talk about Hindutva or Hindu terrorism and critique India in op-eds for western publications. “Humaare desh main baithe hue kai Mir Jafar hain…jo idhar baithe rehte hain..dollar main paisa milta hai…videshi akhbaaron main likhte hain…idhar baith ke keede makodon ki tarah apne desh ko gaali dete hain (Like insects they sit in India, write for foreign newspapers and abuse India).”
Ramdev helpfully calls such people “narak ke keede (insects from hell)”.
At one point, Ramdev comes up with his interpretation of the Rakhigarhi DNA study; according to him, the study proves that those who call themselves Aryans, Dravidians, Moolvasi, Brahmins and Kshatriyas all have one DNA.
“Rakhgari ke ander DNA mila 5500 saal purana, aur uske saath sab ka DNA match kiya system se, phir pata laga…jo apne aap ko arya kehte hain, dravid kehte hain, jo apne aap ko moolniwasi keh rahe hain, apne aap ko alag alag brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya keh rahe hain…sab ka dna ek hai.”
After a bit, he launched into a song on national unity.
At this point, we decided it’s best to skip the unhinged rant for some comic relief towards the end. Ramdev casually states he should have got a Nobel Prize for his service to the health industry. Arnab then asks Ramdev to perform some poses: “Aap inspire kariye na logon ko…maine suna hai aapki body flexible hai…idhar se ghoom sakte hain…yeh kar sakte hain (I have heard your body is flexible…please inspire us).”
What follows next is this.
And then the grand finale.
There have been enough jokes on Godi media and so on, so we will just leave you with a reminder of the time when Arnab still pretended to be a journalist.