30th Jan 2016 9:00am-6:00pm
Prof. Daya Thussu (Co-Director of India Media Centre, University of Westminster; author of Communicating India's Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood, Palgrave Macmillan)
Dr E. Dawson Varughese (author of Reading New India, Bloomsbury)
Further details of Cultures of New India programme and conference abstracts.
The twenty-first century has been full of predictions of Indian success. Declarations of ‘India Rising’, ‘India Shining’, a new ‘Indian Century’ occur regularly. While the economies of Europe and the Americas have stagnated, the economies of Asia appear to be booming and a new generation of Indians now see themselves as the agents of globalization. Many aspects of Indian society appear transformed by this new prosperity with a new class of young, wealthy, urban Indians challenging the stereotypes of life in their country. Yet, commentators on this phenomenon are keen to point out that India’s move from Nehruvian values to liberalizing consumerism has produced a peculiarly Indian version of neoliberalism, one that responds to Indian values of the family and of the state just as much as to any, seemingly, universal ideas about wealth and freedom. At the same time, many of the inequalities of caste, class, gender and region persist. India’s rural poor remains beset by the challenges of the last century and appears immune to the supposed benefits of consumer citizenship that are enjoyed by an urban elite. Corruption, so often associated with India’s state infrastructure, remains the celebrity cause of the self-appointed representatives of Young India. Alongside the anxieties about women workers in the new service- sector industries, India has recently been confronted with a high-profile rape-crisis and a deeply embedded culture of misogyny.
How then has culture, both from within and outwith India, responded to India’s new identity? What do literature, film and popular culture have to tell us about the nature of India’s modernity? How do the official and un-official versions of India’s self-presentation compare? How do international impressions of India sit with the nations self image?