‘Nagas can’t sit lotus style’: Baba Ramdev, Patanjali, and Neo-Hindutva

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Abstract

This article is a preliminary attempt to understand the dynamics of how Patanjali and Baba Ramdev represent ‘Hindu nationalism’, or Hindutva (Hinduness) in Nagaland, India. One can read Baba Ramdev’s foray into the region through the promotion of yoga, Ayurveda, and national health, as a form of ‘neo-Hindutva’ that is increasingly diffuse and moves away from a more militant pathway of established Hindutva designs. If one considers the work of Patanjali in Nagaland as an attempt to homogenise and unify a set of practices surrounding food and health practices, then, one can read this as an attempt to assert a singular somatic imagination, increasingly influenced by Hindutva ideas about the body, ‘the health of the nation’, and the promotion of swadeshi (indigenous goods) as patriotic duty. This article highlights the way Ramdev and Patanjali’s business empire is trying to move beyond the ‘cow belt’ of north India, comprising mainly of ‘Hindu-Hindi’ into regions that are more diverse linguistically and historically, and culturally viewed as 'un-Indian'.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary South Asia
Early online date20 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Patanjali
  • Baba Ramdev
  • Neo-Hindutva
  • Nagaland
  • Yoga
  • Christianity
  • Nagas

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