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Locating the “Internet Hindu”: Political Speech and Performance in Indian Cyberspace

TitleLocating the “Internet Hindu”: Political Speech and Performance in Indian Cyberspace
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMohan, S
JournalTelevision & New Media
Keywordsdigital politics, Hindu nationalism, Hindutva, Internet Hindu, political speech, social media

The article seeks to offer an understanding of the politics and presence of this increasingly visible, informal online political formation in India, whose members are referred to as the Internet Hindus. Used to describe young, often urban, middle-class/upper-middle-class followers of Hinduism residing in India (and abroad), the term has come to be associated almost entirely with those who aggressively voice their right-wing political views and support for Narendra Modi on social media platforms. The article explores the politics espoused by some of these “Internet Hindus” and frames them vis-à-vis the larger themes foregrounded by the electoral victory of the Hindu nationalist political outfit, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In doing so, the article attempts to locate “Internet Hindus” in a democracy, which has the third largest Internet user base in the world, and seeks to deconstruct their ethno-nationalistic online posturing, while reflecting on what this may mean for the online collective itself.