Global Populism: Its Roots in Media and Religion| Populism, Religion, and the Media in India

Pradip Ninan Thomas


This article explores populism in the context of Hindu nationalism in India. It begins with a critical interrogation of the meaning of populism given that it is a multiaccentual word that is often used to describe a variety of extrademocratic tendencies in the governance of a nation. Whether populism remains a latent tendency within all forms of politics or whether it is an aberration remains contested. The article explores the specific forms of mediated populism in contemporary India that unabashedly appeals to the moral rightness of Hindu nationalism and majoritarian rights and identities. Although populism is often expressed in cultural-symbolic forms, the article makes a case for the need to recognize the real material impact of populism on the lives of minorities such as Muslims and lower castes in India. The article concludes with an interrogation of populism and argues that its use to describe the politics of Hindu nationalism could be a disservice that detracts from naming the reality of incipient expressions of fascism in India.


mediatization, Hindu nationalism, populism, social media, Narendra Modi, political economy

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