This essay investigates competing visibilities within a cultural practice that India has promoted as a privileged image of national identity: yoga. These competing perceptions, in which yoga can be seen as at once iconically and yet not uniquely Indian, pose a challenge for the Indian state in its management of yoga’s symbolic value. Analysing rhetoric from India’s nation-branding pursuits in the context of Western popular culture, I argue that the state manipulates visual regimes of yoga in ways that turn this spectre of Indian invisibility into a testament to Indian ubiquity. Invisibility as a problem is thus transformed into invisibility as a privilege, revealing how the potential fluidity across two different regimes of identity and power can render state fantasies more resilient.
|Journal||South Asia-Journal of South Asia Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|