Nationalism and the Construction of Muslim Identity:a Study of Print Media in North India

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Arun KUSHWAHA, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India




Religion is one of the significant criteria of defining identity. It not only reflects differences but also forges cultural and political boundaries between followers of different faiths. In India’s political history, religion emerged as one of the critical ways in defining nationalism. The religious component of identity construction is based on a hegemonic idea that rests on the creation of majoritarian self and minority others. India is largely a Hindu dominated country where an expansive Hindu identity (include Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs) has been celebrated whereas some religions particularly Islam and Christian face the tag of outsider. The Hindu majoritarian discourse has stigmatized these supposedly ‘Non-Indic’ minority religions as problem communities whose nationhood claims are suspected.

 The ‘otherisation’ of largest minority population, Muslims due to the certain psychic notions have not only marginalised and ghettoized themselves from larger society as well as by themselves. The larger role of state in the institutionalisation of stereotypes has sanctioned the other institutions to do the same. In between them.one of the major institution is media, especially print media which imparts not only biased knowledge, but also establish it with their daily ritualistic practices. It can be proved through the analysis of media coverage of either Ayodhya, Gujarat or Mujjafarnagar.

The basic idea of the whole work is to focus upon the historical construction of the concept of nationalism in colonial period as well as its continuation in contemporary India. It will also focus on the role of religion as a means of identity construction and its application in Indian context on Muslim religion. It would analyse the role of Print media in the construction of Muslim identity in India. This study will take Ayodhya as a case study to study print media.