Nov 23, 2014

The Bodybuilding Villages of India

In West Hollywood, everyone went to the gym.  The dating game was very competitive, and if you had a partner, there were lots of guys eager to break you up.  So you had to be in shape.  We joked that you could always tell the sexual orientation of guys in their 40s: the gay men looked 30, and the heterosexuals looked 60.

But there's a village in India where nearly the entire adult male population, gay and straight alike,  is into bodybuilding.

Actually two adjoining suburbs, Asola and Fatehpur-Beri, about 10 miles south of New Delhi, near the airport.

They belong to the Gurjar, a Scheduled Tribe (historically disadvantaged) from Rajasthan, previously nomadic, relocated to Delhi to work in farming and low-paying government jobs.  But mostly unemployed until they discovered bodybuilding.

The bodybuilding craze began 15 years ago, by accident.  A wealthy businessman, driving past, saw some of the village men wrestling, and offered them 2,000 rupees apiece (about $32 U.S.) to be the security guards at a wedding he was hosting.
This was big money!  They jumped at the opportunity.



Soon professional bouncer agencies were placing the other muscular young men of the village.  The more massive, the better.

You can make a living through your physique?

 Everyone started hitting the gym.

Kids growing up looked to bodybuilders as role models.

Now over 200 villagers are employed as "hired muscle": bouncers at New Delhi's trendy nightclubs, private security guards, and bodyguards.


The jobs are temporary: once you reach your 30s, your attractiveness to potential employers declines.  But by then, most of the  men have used their connections to pursue other careers.  Some have become wealthy businessmen.

I assume that the standard proportion are gay; the gay dating services list a number of men from Asola and Fatehpur.

See also: A Bodybuilding Contest in India; and The Erotic Temple Carvings of Khajuraho