This thesis explores the politics of representation in Indian media with special focus on news television’s portrayal of issues concerning Christian community.
The portrayal of communities is studied in relation to the dynamics of engagement between India’s rapidly expanding news television and the growing
Hindutva (Hinduness) movement which espouses an exclusivist and majoritarian ideology, demanding a Hindu nation for Hindus. In its endeavor to understand this complex issue it focuses on India’s two national news networks – Aaj Tak in Hindi, the country’s most popular news broadcaster, and Headlines Today, a leading English-language network – locating their ways of engagement with the Hindutva movement. The thesis, which looks at the nationalist movement’s involvement with the print media and cinema in India, claims that
the socio-political situation in the country helped the Hindutva groups to realign the threads of nationalism with that of Hindu nationalism by re-organizing and
redefining their ideology to suggest a particular version of national identity and citizenship.
The news television, while passing through various stages of evolution, has been engaging with a number of dominant ideologies. In recent decades, the right-wing Hindu ideology has been a powerful force in Indian politics and its engagement with news television, particularly Hindi language television, has
been visible in the media narratives on various socio-political and cultural issues. The thesis claims that news television’s treatment of communal issues
has helped the creation of a Hindutva public sphere. In the process, the thesis argues, India’s minority communities have been threatened, having to bear the
brunt of this new alignment, undermining the secular tradition of India and contributing to anti-minority rhetoric. Drawing on a range of methods –
including focus groups of news consumers, face-to-face, in-depth interviews with media personnel, as well as detailed content analysis of news reports, the
thesis argues that Hindi news television, driven by market values, created new avenues and vistas for the Hindu nationalists to engage with the public. News
television’s association with the Hindutva groups, it is suggested, helped construct a new national identity and a new Indian-ness, conforming to