It’s nothing quite like the buyout of Anglo firms by the Tatas, but iconic yoga guru Ramdev has acquired a Scottish isle for about £2 million to set up a wellness retreat.
The Little Cumbrae Island, off the fishing town of Largs in Scotland, will also serve as the guru’s base overseas, where his teachings of yoga as a means to cleanse the body and mind are gaining popularity.
The acquisition itself was carried out by a Scottish couple of Indian origin, Sam and Sunita Poddar, who saw recession and the resultant fall in property prices as an opportunity to expand the base of Patanjali Yogpeeth — the institution founded by Ramdev for scientific research and treatment in yog, spiritualism and ayurveda.
The island property inaugurated on Sunday with a ‘hawan’ will be administered by the Patanjali Yogpeeth (UK) Trust.
“The island base is not about property as much as it is about spreading Indian values,” Ramdev said to a question if he saw any likeness between his acquisition and those carried out by the Tata Group, which has lapped up British brands Tetley, Corus and Jaguar-Land Rover over the last few years.
“My aim is to turn this island into a peace haven,” said Ramdev, who joins a handful of gurus to have set up international bases. One of them was the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who shot to fame because of his association with The Beatles. He had shifted from Rishikesh to Vlodrop in Netherlands. Ramdev will not move in here just yet.
The conch-shaped island, spread over 1.25 sq km and home to a 13th century castle, was put on the block, according to a source familiar with the deal, by its previous owner due to developments related to the credit crunch. Local media reports on the buyout were rife with taunts on Ramdev’s move to set up the health retreat and rechristen it as ‘peace island’.