NEW DELHI — In the middle of a raging controversy over the name of an infertility medicine his pharmacy markets, self-styled ascetic Ramdev on Friday said the Ayuvedic 'Putrajeevak Beej' does not help in selecting the gender of a child but he will add a disclaimer anyway with the new lot.
"The botanical name of this medicine is 'Putranjiva roxburghi'. It's called 'Putrajeevak' in Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Bengali and other languages. What do I do when it's very name is Putrajeevak?" Ramdev said at a press conference.
"If it creates any confusion, we will add a line to the product saying it has nothing to do with the birth of a male or a female child," a report in India Today quoted Ramdev as saying.
Ramdev also advised the opposition lawmakers to "do their homework".
He claimed the opposition was trying to malign Prime Minister Narendra Modi through him, a 'fakir' (ascetic). He said they were raking up unnecessary controversies in Parliament.
The Congress Party criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its 'hypocrisy' in making the yoga guru Haryana's brand ambassador and at the same time letting him sell medicines that they claimed guaranteed a son.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi ironically pointed out that the NDA regime's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative in Haryana was being contradicted by its own brand ambassador.
"We need to understand that Baba Ramdev is the brand ambassador of Haryana, which is also the starting point for the Prime Minister's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'campaign. So, this goes on to show the entire hypocrisy of the government, that while you hail a person as a brand ambassador of a particular state, that same person is involved in promoting the boy child as compared to a girl child," said Chaturvedi.
Janata Dal (United) leader K.C. Tyagi raised the issue in Rajya Sabha on Thursday and said he bought a packet of the medicine and the name clearly suggests that it is used to determine the sex of a baby.
Amid protests during Zero Hour, political leaders said Ramdev’s companies need to be probed and the opposition trooped into the Well of the house.
Tyagi on Friday said he would not have had a problem had Ramdev said that he had a drug to produce children of any gender.
"I praise the Prime Minister's efforts, but on the other hand, this medicine by Baba Ramdev is called 'Putrajeevak Beej' and I have a problem with that."
"Had the medicine been called 'santaanjeevak beej' I would have had no problem," he added.
Samajwadi Party member Jaya Bachchan said,"I completely agree with Tyagiji on the issue that he raised. The license of this company should be cancelled. Immediate action should be taken to ensure that all medicines are removed from the market."
The opposition called the medicine 'illegal' and 'unconstitutional'.
Ramdev’s organisations — Patanjali Yogapeeth and the Divya Yog Mandir — had earlier said in a statement that the medicine had nothing to do with sex determination.
The website of Divya Pharmacy prices the product at $10.99 and the description says it is a "unique herbal product of putrajeevak which is aphrodisiac, controls habitual abortion and helps in sterility".
The dosage instruction says: "Make a fine powder of both Putrajevak and Shivlingi seed, take an hour before breakfast & dinner with milk of cow having calf". (With inputs from agencies)