What would a saffron-clad, social activist, Arya Samaj leader do in the big, bad world of 'Bigg Boss'? "Relax," says Swami Agnivesh, who wants to reach out to India's youth with issues like casteism, alcoholism and corruption through his entry into the controversial reality show Tuesday (November 9).
The 72-year-old is "excited" about entering the secluded Karjat house, where 11 young, celebrity contestants are already fighting it out for survival. The inhabitants have no connect with the outside world and are under 24x7 camera surveillance.
"I have seen three to four episodes of the show, and it is quite exciting. There are a lot of young people in it. My supporters told me if I have a message for the youth, I must go to the show, maintain my integrity and spread the social messages I want to through the show," Agnivesh sais in a telephone interview from Mumbai, sounding upbeat.
Agnivesh promises viewers will get to see his "lighter" side.
Far from his fight against bonded labour, alcoholism, female foeticide and child labour, Agnivesh will be amid celebrities like model Shraddha Sharma, former Miss Afghanistan Vida Samadzai, VJ Pooja Missra, Pooja Bedi, Juhi Parmar, Shonali Nagrani, Mahek Chahal, transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Amar Upadhyay, Akashdeep Saigal and Siddharth Bharadwaj - who have been calling each other names lately.
Wouldn't he be a misfit on the show?
"I will try to spread some peace. But it won't be just that. I will try and bring them closer to the social realities of the country and challenge them to think about them. I want to be able to bring about positive thinking and motivate powerful thinking about country's issues.
"For me it's not about the dozen people who are in the 'Bigg Boss' house. I want to send my message across to the millions of viewers who watch the show everyday," he said.
Three pertinent issues that Agnivesh wants to talk about during his stay are casteism, alcoholism and corruption.
"Casteism is a deep-rooted problem in India and the youth needs to understand the importance of eradicating it from the society. Also, today's youth is quite into alcoholism and tobacco chewing, which are not good for the health. And of course, corruption is a big issue," said the activist, who was in the news recently for his statements against Team Anna Hazare.
"I want the young people to dream of a corruption-free India. The Lokpal bill is just one little aspect of itthe problem is much bigger. I hope for peaceful times in this country, which is not free from corruption even after over 60 years of its independence," he added.
That's not all! Agnivesh also plans to tell viewers that he isn't a strict disciplinarian after all.
"I will be in a relaxed mood in the show and treat all contestants like my friends. People will see a lighter side of me," he said, and remaining secretive about the duration of his stay in 'Bigg Boss 5'.
According to the grapevine, Agnivesh will enter the show only as a guest, and not as a permanent contestant. When asked, he said: "I can't say anything right now. Let me start the show at least."