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The Rising Mass Media and India’s “Politics of Change”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Photo by Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty

Raza Rumi writes a review of the book, Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change, a collection of essays about how the Indian mass media, centered on the rising Indian middle class, controls and shapes the narrative of a rising capitalist India.

Fernandes makes an unpopular (and increasingly ‘unpatriotic’) conclusion: that despite the shining India narratives, India remains a poor, developing country with myriad problems. Using the stories of a reputed journalist P Sainath, this essay looks at the ‘other’ India which the ‘hyperreal’ media has rendered invisible to provide a more palatable vision for its key corporate target – the middle classes. The conclusion of the essay is haunting as it cites the infamous TV commercial where the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan indirectly blames the poor for “preventing India from realizing its true potential”. Pohjonen’s introduction also cites this memorable line from Sainath: “Evading reality helps no one…a society that does not know itself cannot cope.”

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