Imagining Vidarbha : Analysis of Discourse on Social Networking Sites of Vidarbha As a Region

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:10
Oral Presentation
Pralay NAGRALE, Shri Narayan Guru College, India
Vidarbha is a region in Eastern part of the Indian state of Maharashtra which comprises of Nagpur and Amravati Division. The region includes 11 districts of the state. This region is home to 31% of area and 21 % of population of Maharashtra (Census 2011). From many years people of Vidarbha had been demanding for a separate state. This is conspicuous among other things on the Social networking sites. Significantly the region also has seen a major inflow of capital and infrastructural transformation. This paper will analyze the discourses circulating on the social networking sites in relation with socio-political developments since January 2014.

This paper is located in the era when the demand for newer and smaller states is gaining ground with mixed successes. This paper will identify the role of the sites in producing the stakes for those professing both the region and leadership of the issue. Using a framework set by Amit Rai’s idea of digitality as well as Gopal Guru’s idea of photosynthesis and the location of social movement and ideology within the new grounds of digital spaces, I look at the paper from a discursive point of view.

Data for this paper is drawn from a purposive selection of pages and accounts which profess a clear bias for the region and its issues. The sample is vetted also on the basis of its popularity and the trends it exhibited since their creation during the chosen period. A second sample with the discussion of the issue of Vidarbha on accounts and pages not overtly siding with the issue will be used to contrast the first sample to highlight the socio cultural contestations, discourses and resistances.

The paper would also entail the usage of social networking sites as an alternative space for mobilisation and organisation of the movement.