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Dhital, Pragya (2019) 'Media satyagraha in the broadcast age: underground literature and populist politics during the Indian internal emergency of 1975–1977.' Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 21 (7). pp. 942-958.

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This essay considers the role of media in a major instance of populist mobilization in post-Independence India: resistance to the internal Emergency of 1975–1977. It engages with sender–message–receiver models of communication by looking at how news of an event in Bangladesh, the assassination of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920–1975), was disseminated via radio broadcasts and written about in the prison writings of two political leaders arrested in connection with the Emergency in India: Jayaprakash Narayan (1902–1979), leader of the anti-Congress movement for Total Revolution, and L. K. Advani (1927–), Jana Sangh and later Bharatiya Janata Party politician. News of Mujib’s murder was initially censored in India, occurring as it did at the inopportune moment of Indian Independence Day, when Indira Gandhi was due to make her first public address since the proclamation of emergency. But attempts to withhold news of the killing were rendered futile by unimpeded foreign radio broadcasts. In describing how prison writers refuse official accounts of this event, I outline a particular type of media satyagraha (truth force or non-violent resistance): knowledge created through the spatiotemporal disordering induced by technical mediation rather than the linear model of state censorship, and made possible by the very media formats criticized by Gandhi for having “macadamized” the human mind.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Censorship, Indian politics, media, populism, prison literature
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISSN: 1369801X
Copyright Statement: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies on 21 March 2019, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 May 2019 12:31

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