The earliest known nudist club was set up in 1891 in Thane by a judge. It didn’t last long. It had only three members and it shut down after the judge died a year later.
Of course, India has a much older unofficial naturist tradition – the Digambar Jains and the Naga sadhus.
Nudists might have a long and rich tradition here but it’s the Internet that’s given naturists a real boost says an article in Outlook Magazine. Now you can actually find other like-minded souls online.
But when it comes to letting it all hang out, Indians are much more comfortable talking about it online than stripping down in real life says Arpita Basu in the article.
A nudist weekend at a resort is a flop because almost everyone backs out. Women will rarely take part despite the no-sex rule just because it’s uncomfortable being the only woman around. And even though all you might want to do is stand around in the nude and watch the sun set, you could find yourself in violation of Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.
“It is no wonder that India’s experiment with being at one with nature is mostly conducted indoors,” writes Basu.
Nakedness, for most of us, needs a reason. Otherwise we have been schooled to think of it as unnatural. The idea of a group of people being naked immediately conjures up visions of orgies. In matter of fact, naturists might meet up in a hotel room, strip down and enjoy a very civilized cup of tea together. (Though handling hot beverages in the buff sounds a little risky.)
Basu’s writing and reporting stresses the very everyday-ness of it all. These are doctors, insurance professionals, retired people, even a housewife or two. Repeat after me. This is not about sex. This is not about sex. This is not about sex. This is not even about sexy. I mean Benjamin Franklin was a nudist. How sexy can that be? Do not picture that.
This is about just being comfortable in your skin – love handles and all.
But what is most interesting about talking about nudism in India is not the chhee chhee factor. Unlike the West which has its nudist colonies, with nude volleyball games and barbecue, and even a nude disco, being a nudist in good old India comes with a lot more strings.
Pradip, the founder of the Bengalee Nudist Group has to hang up the phone when his teenage son walks into the room.
On the other hand why is there a Bengalee Nudist Group? One thought the whole purpose of shedding your clothes was because clothes get in the way “of realizing that underneath the designer labels, everyone is the same.”
Read the Outlook story about naturism here.