Political Corruption And The Unhealthy Body

A book called The Wrestlers Body is a sociological examination of the attitude of wrestlers in India. One such attitude is the source of political corruption.

Wrestlers regard an unhealthy body as making one inclined to engage in political corruption. The following is an excerpt.

The Body and Civic Duty

The wrestler’s somatic critique of hedonistic everyday life is not restricted to the “skin-deep” level of fashion. It is also directed toward larger issues of public, civic life. Wrestlers feel that physical health and fitness are directly related to one’s duty and ethical responsibility as a citizen. Consequently, it is argued, the weak, debauched everyman is not only undermining his own integrity but is, in effect, shirking his responsibility as a modern Indian.

Wrestlers, like many others, express cynical frustration with the hazards and alienation of modern life.

While corruption is regarded as a public scourge that has penetrated almost every rung of public administration, state bureaucracy, and private enterprise, wrestlers are equally critical of a less administrative form of corruption: the practice of adulteration. Wrestlers are very suspicious of the quality of all commercial goods. Like many others, they doubt if the sugar they buy is in fact pure sugar.

The inchoate world of suspicion, public distrust, and corruption shadows the parallel world of seductive self-indulgence. Thus, in the wrestler’s view, it is the young man who primps, preens, drinks tea, and watches films or television who is also most likely to take bribes and adulterate products.

Immorality extends directly out from the unhealthy body to influence the ethics of public life.

It is significant that power, morality, and fitness are linked so closely in this logic. In a very real sense an individual is thought to be more susceptible to vice if his body is not fortified through exercise and disciplined training.


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