Ascetic Games: Sadhus, Akharas and the Making of the Hindu Vote
The world of the naga sadhus is collapsing. Some might say it has been reduced to a spectacle. Dhirendra K. Jha spent over a decade tunnelling his way into the highly secretive world of the sadhus. What he finds is explosive: the story of how political groups have infiltrated the community, and of how akharas across northern India have been repurposed for inflaming the Babri masjid–Ram Janmabhoomi issue. He finds fraud and murder, money and power games, and a shrinking of the space for spiritual asceticism. Hearteningly, he also finds that a section among the sadhus is now pushing back. Deeply researched and finely nuanced, this is investigative reporting at its best. It is also a human story, told with empathy.