I got a chance to attend Baba Ramdev's yoga camp from 4th Aug. to 9th Aug. 2010. I reached PYP Phase II on 3rd Aug. at 10 PM and after checking in an air-conditioned room (a free privilege for being Life Member, otherwise it costs one Rs. 7000 for duration of camp including food), I had food at Prasadam. I got a room partner, a man age 32 from a village near Bhiwani, Hariyana, who is a yoga teacher and diehard fan of Baba Ramdev.
I enjoyed the morning session till 8 am on 4th Aug. taken by Baba Ramdev himself and training all of us around 400 attendees in Pranayam and Yoga - asans. These attendees included around 200 members, 100 paid attendees and some full timers who have decided to devote life for Baba Ramdev's mission, including Bharat Swabhiman, aimed at changing the political system and improve governace in India. Baba thinks that if we are able to reduce corruption, the country will progress very fast.
In the evening from 3 PM to 7 PM, there was a birthday celebration of Baba's closest ally, his right hand, Acharya Balkrishna. It was a big show followed by cultural programme even though no minister from state or central government was there. It was followed by dinner for public at basement below the hall and for camp attendees at Prasadam. The food was served with sweets and different curries. The service for public was chaos. It was unbelievable to watch the way people were struggling to get their food and was disgusting to see such treatment to invitees from various ashrams in Kankhal or family members of workers of PYP. The cultural programmes consist of classical music, dance and some folk songs in praise of Baba Ramdev and yoga show by Baba's Gurukul students. Some Saints from Haridwar also participated.
Next day, 5th Aug., also started with morning session of Yoga by Swami Ramdev. Next session was at 4 PM by some lady doctor at PYP. I found it difficult to sitting idle for the full day, so decided to leave and returned to Jaipur at 10 Am. There was a big rush on the road due to kawaria's mela and I could reach Jaipur by 3 AM on 6th Aug.
Kawaria is an interesting term used for people who go to Haridwar during first fortnight of hindu month Shravana (during July or Aug.) to fill Ganges water in pots and put them on their shoulders tied with a stick. It looks like a balance and called 'kawar'. These people to reach to their home town which is sometimes as far as 500 kms and offer this Ganges water to Lord Shiva at home town. During the whole route, there were big arrangements by local people at each village/town/Metro city like Delhi for rest and food for these kawarias. I must accept that I felt great respect ('shraddha') for faith ('astha') of these people. If somebody asks me that should he walk 500kms with Ganges water and offer it Lord Shiva, I would definitely say No to him. But when I saw them tired but walking and smiling faces full of devotion, I got filled with respect for their courage and strong faith. I had the same feeling when I visited Kumbh Mela at Haridwar during April 2010.
Now I know how India could survive all these attacks and still save its culture. The reason is this faith of people, 'aastha' in 'dharma' and common man's devotion to traditions. Survival needs roots and roots are held by these traditions and customs spread all over common man's thoughts and practices. The nation doesn't survive with few literate people copying ruler's fashion and style, The nation in the heart of common man.