Activist Swami Agnivesh, who has been at the forefront of many worthy causes, held a press conference this morning in Mumbai to explain what prompted his unlikely decision to join the reality show Bigg Boss season 5.
Agnivesh will enter the house today as a celebrity guest.
He said the show was a powerful medium to reach the youth with his message. "I am not entering the house to compete with anyone or evict anybody. I just want a platform to speak and make people aware of issues like hunger, poverty, distress and displacement," he said, and added, "People fight on the show but no worse than how MPs sometimes behave in Parliament."
Asked if he would be able to adjust to the kind of food that he would have to eat during the show, the swami replied smartly, "I will encourage people in the house to turn vegetarian. I follow a regimen of yoga and meditation, spirituality brings me mental balance. I could share with youngsters inside about my philosophy in a friendly way."
His motives for appearing on the show are not to make money but to bring about change in society, and no, he does not think his reputation will go for a toss if he participates.
"It is possible to bring about change in the Bigg Boss house. I have advocated against child labour. I have fought for 45 years against exploitation in society, dowry, bride-burning, female foeticide, and it has been the mission of my life to strive for gender equality. I have even stayed in the middle of Maoists in Bastar. So, I don't think this can tarnish my image," he said.
When it was pointed out that his entry into the house has no relevance to the agenda he had just chalked out, Swamiji refused to accept it. "All my life I have been working towards eradicating evil from the society. Once when I and my associates were on a mission in Haryana, the people said that they were thoroughly disappointed with liquor shops authorised by the government. When I asked them who elected the government, they said we did. So I asked them who you should be blaming then."
The crowd in the Bigg Boss house are as different from those Harayanvi villagers as chalk from cheese, but, who knows, the Swami may yet work his magic on them and the watching audience.