BABA Ramdev’s Patanjali brand of “traditional” cosmetics and processed foods may have set the cat among the pigeons of the Indian FMCG segment, but if Bloomberg, a media company, headquartered in NY City is to be believed it has also upset Indian Christians.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg put out a story on the desi FMCG company. In that, it claimed that one of the company’s advertisements issued in newspapers has upset Indian Christian organizations.
The report written by Mihir Sharma said: “With Patanjali, Ramdev and his followers have promoted a stridently nationalist line. They would claim that when you buy a Patanjali toothpaste, you aren’t just preventing cavities but also buying freedom from the West. Newspaper advertisements underscore the argument: “Though we got political freedom 70 years back, economic freedom is still a dream. … The way [the] East India Company enslaved and looted us, multinational companies are still doing the same [sic].” Some of these ads have featured a map of India overlaid with a cross to symbolize the rapacious British East India Company, which for some reason upset Indian Christian organizations. Patanjali’s messaging thus effortlessly links nationalism, Hinduism and the virtue and quality of the company’s goods—and Ramdev’s multitude of TV programs gives him plenty of scope to spread the message.”
However, the report does not say which Christian organizations in the country were supposedly upset at Patanjali’s newspaper ads carrying a cross to symbolize the East India Company. Nor does it quote any representative of the so-called Christian organizations that were miffed.
While the report may have point in arguing that Patanjali casts its competitors as ‘outsiders’, its point that the advertisements have caused unhappiness to Indian Christian organizations may not be valid.
Indian Christian organizations are a resilient lot. A newspaper advertisement promoting toothpaste, chavanprash and sundry other things need not affect it. Nor would be a representation of a cross in a corporate’ advertisement reason enough to be a matter of concern to the Indian Christian community. To read Bloomberg’s article, click here.