Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 25, 2001 - Performing Arts - 393 pages
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Winner of the 2003 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize In January 1987, the Indian state-run television began broadcasting a Hindu epic in serial form, the Ramayan, to nationwide audiences, violating a decades-old taboo on religious partisanship. What resulted was the largest political campaign in post-independence times, around the symbol of Lord Ram, led by Hindu nationalists. The complexion of Indian politics was irrevocably changed thereafter. In this book, Arvind Rajagopal analyses this extraordinary series of events. While audiences may have thought they were harking back to an epic golden age, Hindu nationalist leaders were embracing the prospects of neoliberalism and globalisation. Television was the device that hinged these movements together, symbolising the new possibilities of politics, at once more inclusive and authoritarian. Simultaneously, this study examines how the larger historical context was woven into and changed the character of Hindu nationalism.
 

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Contents

Hindu nationalism and the cultural forms of Indian politics
30
In the throes of economic crisis liberalizationHinduization
35
Passive revolution and the unraveling of a fragile consensus
43
The Hindu nationalist combine
51
The noncommitted voter and the retailing of Hindu identity
63
Prime time religion
72
State sponsorship in the commerce of images
75
Situating contemporary uses of an epic tradition
86
The Ram Janmabhumi campaign as a managed event
187
Languagedivided print media as a strategic resource
208
Organization performance and symbol
212
Performing the movement
216
Yoking symbols and propaganda
224
Hindutva goes global
237
The figure of the NRI
239
crafting identity across diversity
244

ancient science benign oppression and a protomodern state
99
Old symbols in a new language of politics
117
The communicating thing and its public
121
Television and the restructuring of popular and domestic space
123
Television and the transformation of the context of politics
135
The effects of going public
147
A split public in the making and unmaking of the Ram Janmabhumi movement
151
government language and politics
156
the BJPs print media strategy
171
Selfmaking and immigrant cultures in the US
254
Expatriate nostalgia and Hindu nationalism
263
Conclusion
271
How has television changed the context of politics in India?
277
Background to the Babri Masjid dispute
284
Notes
292
Select bibliography
372
Index
390
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