Indian television

Should anybody who isn’t a fan of yoga guru Ramdev care about the TV show on his life? Not yet

At least in its early stages, Discovery Jeet’s ‘Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh’ is a paean to the guru, made with his blessings.

Ramdev wants the world to know that his meteoric rise from a yoga practitioner to billionaire businessman has been riddled with obstacles. Many, many obstacles.

So much so that his entire life can be called a sangharsh, a struggle, according to a new television show about the Patanjali Group founder.

Discovery Jeet, the general entertainment channel from Discovery Communications, entered India’s crowded television space on February 12, its hopes riding on Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh. The 85-episode biopic on the titular guru has been co-produced by Ajay Devgn and made on an alleged budget of Rs 80 crore . The show purports to offer viewers an objective and tell-all account of Ramdev’s life.

The show opens in 1965 in Haryana’s Said Alipur, where a child is born with a curse on his head in a bitterly divided society. After a poor Yadav family draws the wrath of the head priest Gowardhan Maharaj (Tej Sapru) by accidentally transgressing the watertight divisions between the upper and lower castes in the village, the mother is given a curse: the child in her womb will be the undoing of the entire hamlet. Ramkishan (the young Ramdev, played by Naman Jain) comes to be hated by his village even before he is born, setting the stage for an endless chain of difficulties.

The first week of the show chronicles, in painstaking and painful detail, how unfair society has been to the protagonist for daring to challenge the status quo. In every episode, he or his family are the target of vicious verbal and physical attacks over minor offences on the boy’s part, such as daring to sneak into a school by night to educate himself, or touch an idol of Krishna on Janmashtami.

If oppression and discrimination are shared experiences for those considered low-caste in this community, it is not shown. The narrative is singularly focused on the junior Ramdev. Thus the high production values and above-average performances may do little to change the fact that this show is unlikely to engage anybody who isn’t in awe of its central character – enough to overlook the predictability of all that transpires.

Much of the source material comes from Ramdev himself, with whom a Discovery Jeet team spent long hours gleaning details of his life, which was then ostensibly verified and supplemented through independent research. Indeed, there isn’t much information about the yoga guru and entrepreneur in the public domain. A book that attempted to shed light on lesser known aspects of his life was shut down last year, after Ramdev moved court against it.

Perhaps because of this, the show is built on polarities. Gowardhan Maharaj is evil incarnate, while Ramdev and his mother are unequivocally good. If there was any opportunity to explore nuanced characters and complex social realities, that is not evident so far.

Despite this, the televised Ramkishan is a likable character, in part because of Jain’s depiction of him as a child wise beyond his years who is unassailable in the face of all the abuse.

Undoubtedly, the coming episodes will show him rising from his flood of troubles as he leaves his village, dedicates himself to spiritual learning in a gurukul and eventually goes on to become a successful entrepreneur who poses upside down on magazine covers one minute and manages a sprawling herbal products empire the next.

And what of all the controversy he has generated along the way? Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh has only just started, but hopes are slim that the series will be anything but a paean to the spiritual leader, made with his blessings.

Swami Ramdev Ek Sangharsh.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Some of the most significant innovations in automotive history made their debut in this iconic automobile

The latest version features India's first BS VI norms-compliant engine and a host of 'intelligent' features.

The S-Class, also known as Sonderklasse or special class, represents Mercedes Benz’ top-of-the-line sedan line up. Over the decades, this line of luxury vehicles has brought significant automotive technologies to the mainstream, with several firsts to its credit and has often been called the best car in the world. It’s in the S-Class that the first electronic ESP and ABS anti-lock braking system made their debut in the 20th century.

Twenty first-century driver assistance technologies which predict driver-behaviour and the vehicle’s course in order to take preventive safety measures are also now a staple of the S-Class. In the latest 2018 S-Class, the S 350 d, a 360-degree network of cameras, radars and other sensors communicate with each other for an ‘intelligent’ driving experience.

The new S-Class systems are built on Mercedes Benz’s cutting-edge radar-based driving assistance features, and also make use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. In cities and on other crowded roads, the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps maintain the distance between car and the vehicle in front during speeds of up to 210 kmph. In the same speed range, Active Steering Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane on stretches of straight road and on slight bends. Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, makes up for human limitations by indicating vehicles present in the blind spot during a lane change. The new S-Class also communicates with other cars equipped with the Car-to-X communication system about dicey road conditions and low visibility due to fog, rain, accidents etc. en route.

The new S-Class can even automatically engage the emergency system when the driver is unable to raise an alarm. Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a stop if it detects sustained periods of inactivity from the driver when Active Steering Assist is switched on. If the driver doesn’t respond to repeated visual and audible prompts, it automatically activates the emergency call system and unlocks the car to provide access to first responders.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 350 d in India features another notable innovation – the country’s first BS VI norms-compliant car engine, in accordance with government regulations to control vehicular pollution. Debuting two years before the BS VI deadline of 2020, the S 350 d engine also remains compatible with the current BS IV fuels.

The S 350 d is an intelligent car made in India, for Indian roads - in the Mercedes Benz S-Class tradition. See the video below to know what drives the S-Class series by Mercedes Benz.

To know more about the 2018 S-Class, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.