ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ramdev and Somatic Nationalism

Guru Ramdev's defence of his fitness/health programme on moral, anti-western and anti-capitalist grounds, while reminiscent of orientalist and Gandhian discourse, now appears in consonance with his claims to legitimacy based on the degree of penetration of such "tradition" into the global market.

Ramdev and Somatic Nationalism

Embodying the Nation, Desiring the Global

Guru Ramdev’s defence of his fitness/health programme on moral, anti-western and anti-capitalist grounds, while reminiscent of orientalist and Gandhian discourse, now appears in consonance with his claims to legitimacy based on the degree of penetration of such “tradition” into the global market.

CHANDRIMA CHAKRABORTY

 

T
he popularity of Guru Ramdev’s fitness programme broadcast daily on the Aastha television channel is a demonstration of how Hindu “ascetics” in contemporary India are dipping into a new era of the fitness consumer. The rising spending and purchasing power, an increasing exposure to international markets, as well as the growing consciousness of urban consumers have resulted in spending on fitness goods and services like never before. The expanding middle class forms a lucrative market and cable television programmes are increasingly geared to meet their social and lifestyle aspirations. Thus, advertisements for fitness clubs and products along with programmes promoting yoga, aerobics, pilates, and tai chi are increasing on Indian television. A proliferation of spiritual channels (Aastha, Sanskar, Sadhana, God and Q TV) where ascetics give spiritual, religious and fitness lessons has also taken place. Hindu ascetics seem to have recognised both the recent boom in the fitness industry in India and the global market for yoga and Hindu spirituality. They are trying to carve a niche for themselves in the fitness industry by packaging yoga for the educated, professional classes and promoting it as a means of empowerment through which people can take control of their bodies and their health.

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