Baba Ramdev has walked a long distance from being a Yoga Guru to establishing brand ‘Patanjali’. The latest offering from Baba is University of Patanjali (UOP). Yes! you heard it right, Baba Ramdev started a university in Haridwar, Uttar Pradesh. The objective of UOP is "To innovate An Integral Education System including all spectrums of scientific knowledge and ancient wisdom," as describe in the official website of the university.
The university of Patanjali is now offering different courses for graduate and post-graduate levels. A recent advertisement says: “Golden opportunity for young learners aspiring to pursue higher education at graduate and post-graduate levels.”
Our country which is on the verge of massification of higher education . While in other countries the massification of higher education has come through public money, in India private enterprise has mostly opened new universities.
The current need is to offer higher education to as many, for-college age group as possible and most importantly offering it at an affordable cost.
Yoga practitioner turned FMCG mogul Ramdev’s now became the chancellor of his own university.
Professor N.V. Varghese, the Director of the Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE) said, “Unlike the matured market economies (developed countries), where public institutions facilitated universalization of higher education, massification of university education in India is a market-mediated process facilitated mostly through private institutions and financed by households”.
For students coming from rural India, more importantly for first-generation college-goer, that is, I am the first in my family to aspire to go to college the meaning of "sanskaari" or nationalist or have an opinion on AFSPA or have any desire to embrace or eschew foreign MNCs who take our wealth away is just insignificant. For them, education means a job, a better life than one room, adequate food a day.
People go to swamis and Baba's and spend lakhs in the hope of getting their blessings, buy products blessed by them, attend their yoga camps so that they can become influential, gain political clout. They will now probably also join universities opened by such babas. Is this the emerging India?