The Politics of Muslim Identity and the Nature of Public Imagination in India: Media and Films as Potential Determinants

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Abstract (2. Language): 
The fundamental epistemic question that this paper seeks to examine is how the Hindutva discourse is increasingly getting mainstreamlined within India’s socio -cultural milieu, buttressed by the economic transitions in the country. Due to the advent of globalisation, India has witnessed the twin phenomena of Hindutva and economic liberalisation, moving centre stage. In this connection, the paper seeks to argue that the place of Islam in the Indian ethos and the very identity of Muslims as citizens, has gained negative connotations in the current scenario which is propelled by the process of globalization. The central claim of the paper is that as left liberal policy in the economic sphere, the Nehruvian consensus in the political sphere and a sense of a composite tradition or shared heritage adored as the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb began to crumble in front of the juggernaut of a mythical Hindu nation, the public imagination got increasingly reified into the sense of majoritarianism and ‘hate- the- other’ impulse. Media and films, benefited by the virtues of globalisation, appear to have emerged as crucial factors in nurturing this majoritarian logic, largely among the expanding Hindu middle class by projecting the minority Muslims as a distinct ‘other’ and as potential threats to the security of Hindus. In this regard, the paper aims at underst anding the ways in which they have demonised Islamic culture and projected the identity of Muslims pejoratively. It thus contends that such an approach is primarily geared to validate the hegemonic designs embedded in Hindutva majoritarianism.



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