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Hughes, Stephen (2009) 'Tamil mythological cinema and the politics of secular modernism.' In: Meyer, Birgit, (ed.), Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 93-116. (Religion/culture/critique)

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Since the 1990s the relationship among religion, media, and politics in South Asia has attracted considerable attention from a wide range of scholars. This is to a large extent due to convergence of the highly successful Indian television serialization of Hindu epic stories and the rise of Hindu nationalism during the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time the only TV available in India was offered by the state-run television broadcaster, known as Doordarshan. They broadcast 78 weekly episodes of the Ramayana between 1987 and 1989 and then followed it up with a serialization of the other great Hindu epic story, Mahabharatha, during the early 1990s. The popular success of these Hindu epic TV serials coincided with the first large-scale expansion of television and the watching of their weekly telecasts became something like a collective national ritual, which marked the moment when television first became a mass medium in India. Suddenly, the newly emergent medium of television appeared to be the privileged means for constituting a national Hindu community, which would also be invoked politically as part of the mass mobilization that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid (mosque), widespread communal violence, and the eventual electoral victories of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISBN: 9780230605558
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 01 May 2009 09:18

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