Baba Ramdev, the renowned yoga guru and founder of Patanjali, has become a household name in India, known not only for his yoga teachings but also for building a multi-billion-dollar empire. However, not many know about the humble beginnings of Patanjali and the crucial role played by a generous couple, Sunita and Sarwan Sam Poddar, in its early years.
- The Loan that Started it All:
In 2006, when Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna were aspiring to establish Patanjali Ayurved, they faced financial challenges. Struggling to secure a loan and lacking even a bank account, they found support in the form of Sunita and Sarwan Sam Poddar, their devoted followers. The Poddars extended a personal loan to the duo, setting the stage for the remarkable journey of Patanjali.
- The Gift of an Island:
The Poddars’ generosity didn’t stop at providing financial assistance. In 2009, Sunita and Sarwan Sam Poddar purchased Little Cumbrae, an island in Scotland, for two million pounds and gifted it to Baba Ramdev. This extraordinary gesture not only showcased their unwavering faith in Ramdev’s vision but also positioned them as integral contributors to the success of Patanjali.
- Stakeholders in Patanjali Ayurved:
By 2011, the Poddars had become significant stakeholders in Patanjali Ayurved, holding 12.46 lakh shares each with a 7.2% stake in the company. This made them the second-largest shareholders after Acharya Balkrishna, who retained over 92% of the shares. Their financial support and belief in Ramdev’s mission played a pivotal role in the company’s growth.
- The Inspirational Journey of Sunita Poddar:
Sunita Poddar, born in Mumbai and raised in Kathmandu, found inspiration in Baba Ramdev’s teachings, particularly in weight loss through yoga. Impressed by Ramdev’s impact on her life, Sunita convinced her husband to contribute significantly to his cause. Today, she is one of the wealthiest women in Glasgow, offering yoga classes and training yoga teachers while serving as the trustee of Patanjali Yog Peeth Trust in the UK.
- Sam Poddar’s Professional Journey:
Sam Poddar, originally from Bihar, moved to Glasgow at the age of 4, and eventually became an engineer. He purchased a home-care business in the 1980s and later, with Sunita’s involvement, turned it into a successful venture. Sam resigned from his engineering career in 1982, contributing his business acumen to the couple’s joint success.
- Patanjali’s Expansion with Poddars’ Support:
When Baba Ramdev decided to expand Patanjali, the Poddars provided substantial loans, facilitating the company’s growth. Their belief in Ramdev’s vision and commitment to promoting yoga and Ayurveda played a vital role in Patanjali’s evolution into a major player in the FMCG sector.
- Current Endeavors:
As of now, Sunita Poddar serves as the CEO and founder of Oakminster Healthcare, a leading home care and rehabilitation services provider in Scotland. The Poddars’ philanthropy and business acumen have left an indelible mark on Patanjali’s success story, contributing to its revenue exceeding Rs 40,000 crore.
The story of Sunita and Sarwan Sam Poddar is a testament to the transformative power of belief and generosity. Their unwavering support not only helped Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna realize their vision for Patanjali but also contributed to the resurgence of yoga and Ayurveda on a global scale. The Poddars’ journey exemplifies how individuals, driven by conviction and compassion, can play a crucial role in shaping the success of endeavors that have far-reaching impacts.