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Gandhi Meets Primetime

Globalization and Nationalism in Indian Television

Shanti Kumar

Publication Year: 2005

Shanti Kumar's Ghandi Meets Primetime examines how cultural imaginations of national identity have been transformed by the rapid growth of satellite and cable television in postcolonial India. To evaluate the growing influence of foreign and domestic satellite and cable channels since 1991, the book considers a wide range of materials including contemporary television programming, historical archives, legal documents, policy statements, academic writings and journalistic accounts._x000B_Kumar argues that India's hybrid national identity is manifested in the discourses found in this variety of empirical sources. He deconstructs representations of Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the Nation on the state-sponsored network Doordarshan and those found on Rupert Murdoch's STAR TV network. The book closely analyzes print advertisements to trace the changing status of the television set as a cultural commodity in postcolonial India and examines publicity brochures, promotional materials and programming schedules of Indian-language networks to outline the role of vernacular media in the discourse of electronic capitalism. The empirical evidence is illuminated by theoretical analyses that combine diverse approaches such as cultural studies, poststructuralism and postcolonial criticism. _x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Front cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

I am deeply grateful to my colleagues in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for their unmatched collegiality and steadfast support. I cannot express my heartfelt appreciation to all of them individually here, but I want to especially thank Tino Balio,...

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Introduction: Unimaginable Communities

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pp. 1-22

We live in a dynamic world of electronic capitalism where traditional definitions of nationality, community, and identity are always in flux. We are only beginning to understand the significance of transnational networks such as CNN, MTV, and STAR TV, which can bypass national governments...

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1. From Doordarshan to Prasar Bharati: The Search for Autonomy in Indian Television

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pp. 23-54

Around 3:00 p.m. on November 12, 2001, the viewers of Doordarshan and the listeners of All India Radio were treated to a rare address that had been broadcast to the nation by Mahatma Gandhi on the same day in 1947. The historic event was recreated to commemorate the fifty-fourth anniversary of...

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2. At Home, In the World: The Viiewing Practices of Indian Television

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pp. 55-92

In provincializing europe, Dipesh Chakrabarty argues that Benedict Anderson’s influential notion of nations as imagined communities is a useful reminder that imagination is a very real and productive phenomenon in everyday life, and therefore should not be understood as something that is false...

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3. Between Tradition and Modernity: The Development of an "Indian" Community of Television

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pp. 93-118

in this chapter, I address the question “Is there an Indian community of television?” by critically evaluating the utopian vision of using satellite communications for national development in the postcolonial world. In the first section, I outline the utopian theory of “development” and discuss how its...

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4. "Gandhi Meet Pepsi": Nationalism and Electronic Capitalism in Indian Television

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pp. 119-154

“Gandhi meet pepsi,” declared the headline for an article written by the noted feminist scholar Urvashi Butalia (1994) in the Independent on Sunday.1 The headline is heady, the contrast clever, and the significance stunning. The superstar of Indian nationalism forced to face the rising star of transnational...

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5. Nikki Tonight, Gandhi Today: Television, Glocalization, and National Identity

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pp. 155-186

In 1927, at the peak of India’s freedom struggle against British colonialism, Catherine Mayo published her blatantly imperialist book Mother India.1 Mayo’s prejudiced view of Indian culture and traditions generated considerable controversy among the Indian literati, who called on the British government...

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Conclusion: Is There an Indian Community of Television?

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pp. 187-201

in 1991, just as the explosion of foreign and domestic satellite television channels began to transform the political, cultural, and economic landscape in India, Seminar, an influential academic journal, devoted an entire issue to the problematic of status of the nation as a unified community in relation to...


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pp. 203-218


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pp. 219-230


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pp. 231-240

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252091667
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252030017

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2005