Media Narratives and Construction of Identity in Riots

By: Harsh Vardhan Yadav  

This paper explores the relationship between media narratives and cultures of representation of identities in the 2002 Godhra Riots of Gujarat, India. It looks at how the reportage in the everyday constructs ‘incidents’ and ‘episodes’ that bring obscurity to the moral scenes of a riot. The attempt is to focus on the slippages that tend to efface rather than explore the stories of the victims and participants at the site of extreme violence. Using the reports of two widely circulated English national dailies of India, The Hindu and the Times of India, the paper aims to understand how selection and weaving of facts, sources and witness accounts into a newsworthy written story creates a political discourse that is marked by heightened social production of hate. Through discourse analysis, the paper examines how generalized and under-investigated narratives create polarised views, ideologies and emotions for years to come. The aim is to locate the several junctures at which riots become the site of ‘individualized events of violence’ that paves the way for incomplete narratives to assert fearmongering scenes, silencing the diverse and critical voices that attempt to fit or challenge obscure puzzles among chaotic conditions.

Media, Narratives, Riots, Identity, Representation, Construction, Sentiments
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Harsh Vardhan Yadav

Officer - Research & Trainings, LEARN, MASS CLIMB, India
Delhi, India