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The Wrestler's BodyIdentity and Ideology in North India$
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Joseph Alter

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076976

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076976.001.0001

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The Sannyasi and the Wrestler

The Sannyasi and the Wrestler

(p.214) Chapter 9 The Sannyasi and the Wrestler
The Wrestler's Body

Joseph S. Alter

University of California Press

There are many formal parallels between the life of a wrestler and the life of a world-renouncing sannyasi. Both are concerned with a disciplinary regimentation of the body, although in different ways; both seek a goal of self-realization, although for slightly different reasons; and both avoid many of the trappings of a social life, although, again, to different degrees and with different implications. In any case, wrestlers make an explicit comparison between their chosen life path and the life path of world renunciation. This chapter explores the nature of this comparison. It begins with a general theoretical discussion of world renunciation so as to define the framework within which a comparison of the wrestler and the sannyasi becomes significant. The chapter also discusses the implications of the comparison with regard to larger questions of identity.

Keywords:   wrestler, sannyasi, social life, world, renunciation, identity

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