At 45, he has millions of followers. Largely a television and video Yoga icon, he has popularized yoga among a huge population of Indians and is also known to have propagated medicines for diseases like Blood Pressure and Diabetes and many more. He is out for a fight against corruption, going to the extent of a fasting till death. 

Born to a peasant family in a village in Haryana called Alipur, he was originally named Ramkishan Yadav. Various biographies say Ramkishan attended school till eighth grade and then joined a gurukul where he had learnt Sanskrit and Yoga. 

He later became a Sanyasi, (one who renounces the world), took the name Baba Ramdev and began teaching yoga. He later moved to Haridwar, where he continued to offer free yoga lessons. His followers believe and claim that Baba Ramdev has studied the Hindu scriptures deeply and even taught them in various gurukuls.

There are various trusts set up by Ramdev along with gurukuls and foundations that conduct yoga camps and classes throughout the world. He is known for his focus on pranayama, the ancient breathing exercises that are a fundamental part of yoga.

Baba Ramdev gained popularity when his mass yoga sessions started being televised in 1995. In his classes, along with teaching Yoga, he also preaches against corruption in the system, and occasionally promotes a swadeshi ideology that is supported and welcomed by saffron groups.

Now thousands of people turn up at his camps to do mass yoga with him.  

With his humble looks, a lean man with a full flowing black beard, hair tied back, in red robes, Ramdev is the icon for a million people in India and abroad.

After his more than a decade old popularity as a yogi, Ramdev also has a political ambition. A year ago he had announced the launch of a new political party - the Bharat Swabhiman - to cleanse the system. Ramdev said that he would not contest elections but his party would address black money and corruption as the key issues.

According to the Web site of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust (Indian Self-Pride Trust), a civic organization founded by Baba Ramdev, the guru's two goals are the propagation of yoga and reforming the social, political and economic system of India.

And those are the issues that Ramdev has brought out and is fighting for, now. In a change of plans, he said he would launch a Satyagraha (passive resistance), instead of a party in the national capital.

The yoga guru claims to have cured many ailments through yoga and Ayurveda including the deadliest of all diseases and cancer. His claims to cure AIDS turned controversial but he amended it later saying that yoga can help provide relief for those suffering with AIDS.

On Saturday he started the hunger strike, which has gained international coverage, to call on the government to take steps against black money or tax evasion and siphoning off illicit funds overseas. 

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan singh has pleaded the yogi to cease, arguing that all Indians are on the same side when it comes to fighting corruption. In the run-up to the hunger strike, the Indian government has announced the creation of a committee to estimate how much money has been unlawfully sent overseas, while the tax department set up a unit to track such funds.

Another yogi with similar name and global reputation is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of living which is a non-religious, not-for-profit, educational and humanitarian NGO, engaged in stress management and service initiatives, based in Bangalore.