Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Diaspora, Globalization, Hindu nationalism, India's Middle Class, Internet
India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) created the first political website in India during the year 1998 and continues to maintain an active online presence. The two most popular places for computer and Internet usage are college campuses and offices--places frequented by members of India’s growing middle class. As the BJP’s supporters have traditionally come from middle-class, upper-caste social backgrounds, this group has particular importance to the BJP’s political success, thus the BJP’s online publications may establish hegemony of the middle class and its ideals. For these reasons, studying the BJP’s online group-identity and political message has salience.
May 2004 to May 2009 marks the first point in the 21st century that the BJP did not form the national government. Research shows that when a political group lacks the power it seeks to attain it will work harder to expose its opponents’ weaknesses and gain political support, which may involve an enhanced communications campaign and use of mass media. Thus, this thesis textually analyzed 62 documents published between May 2004 and May 2009 related to how the BJP constructs its group identity and its political message from the “About Us” and “Speeches” section of www.bjp.org.
From conducting this research, this author found that the BJP constructs their political opponents as inherently bad for India because of their poor national security, development, and social policies. Meanwhile, the BJP constructs themselves as the political party best able to help India reach success through nurturing an “integrated” society that cares for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, development initiatives, and a strong national security policy.
The Internet enables the BJP to control the content, distribution and discussion around their ideas in the construction of their own version of social reality that has the potential to reach those living in India and those Indians living abroad. This is a troubling idea in as far as the ground-reality of life in India differs from the messages presented by the BJP and the Internet serves as a silencing device for those who lack the material means to speak out against the BJP’s messages.
Atterberry, Adrienne Lee, "Nationalism on the Net: Exploring the ideology of India's Bharatiya Janata Party" (2012). Media Studies - Theses. 11.