Wonderful Blood Donation: Devotion and Asceticism in the Indian Blood Donation Encounter

Jacob Copeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The banning of paid donation in India in 1998 has required innovative strategies on the part of blood banks and other health institutions in order to radically increase levels of voluntary blood donation. Thus far the campaigns have not been particularly successful. However, there is one significant success story: over recent years religious movements, in particular those led by gurus, have become important providers of voluntarily donated blood throughout India. Blood bank doctors have astutely recognised the power and intensity of the relationship that exists between gurus and their devotees and enlisted it for their own collection ends. At the same time, devotees employ blood donation as a means to enrich and transform the experiential basis of their religious lives. This article draws attention to devotional and ascetic aspects of Indian blood donation practices, demonstrating how blood donation has developed into a site of striking religious creativity and dynamism. Adapted from the source document.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106 - 119
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2011


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