India, touted as a land of mysticism and spirituality, boasts a large number of TV channels devoted to religion and faith. But for self-avowed Hindu reformist Swami Agnivesh, a former member of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare’s core team, the limelight of primetime reality TV was just too tempting.
Agnivesh, who controversially split from Hazare’s cadre of anti-graft warriors that mobilised millions against India’s corruption-smeared government, will on Tuesday appear on reality show Bigg Boss, India’s version of primetime hit Big Brother, in which contestants are under house arrest for three months with round-the-clock camera surveillance.
“People fight on the show but no worse than how MPs sometimes behave. It’s possible to bring about change with Bigg Boss. I’ve fought for forty-five years against exploitation in society, dowry, bride-burning, casteism, female foeticide,” the saffron-clad social activist said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“It’s been a mission of my life to strive for gender equality, I think I can teach these youngsters a thing or two,” the 72-year-old said, also denying that his participation in the show, which has a reputation of being crass and voyeuristic, will mar his virtuous image.