Attacks on students, mob lynching, and escalation in hate speeches and hate crimes are driven by mainstream hard-line Hindu nationalists. The rising fascism is creating waves all over India. The Society of India has dense interwoven social fabric from different cultural and religious popularity which is under threat. The biggest force that has instigated these narratives has obviously been print and digital media. The media is like a conveyer belt, linking the government and their ideas with the public. The role that media has played since last two years is phenomenal. And how the social media was used for the “Hindutva” movement and the entertainment industry of India has tremendously participated in the ideological push on behalf of right-wing fascist Modi authoritarianism. It started by cross border propaganda that turned into Muslim bigotry which seems to escalate even further in coming days of the Modi administration withstanding the backlash it has begin to experience from certain groups and industries of the country.
In assistance with research journals and articles that are being published lately on political and religious issues – making India one of the top ten in political, ethnical and IT research- the entertainment industry has become the new normal as pro Modi authoritarianism. The involvement of Bollywood has been there in producing patriotic movies, but how Bollywood and music industry has responded to the call of duty to Modi fascism doesn’t only portrays patriotism but a support for religious bigotry which shouldn’t be on the list of a secular state. It has not only affected the Muslims which are the obvious target but also the minorities, which are having rising sense of insecurity now, as Muslims just seem a stepping stone.
The new genre has been introduced and is on the rise, patriotism pop, which is gaining grounds in India, has become the most applicable right-wing tool. Patriotism pop which gained popularity through YouTube, as there are 250 million YouTube users in India, has affectively been used to misinform the public about recent events by portraying them into desired scenarios. It encompasses songs and movies which promote everything except patriotism, with high percentage of sectarianism and demonizing of Muslim in India which is the lifeline of BJP politics. The patriotic songs are mostly shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the fast-growing app TikTok, which in June had about 120 million active users in India. Despite their low production costs, poorly-matched lip-synching and repetitive techno beat, many of these soundtracks have gotten millions of hits on YouTube. The songs are a hit among youthful followers in northern and eastern parts of India, and their creators do not seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Songs on Pulwama and Article 370 immediately hit the market and went up to viewership of 1.7 million and 1.9 million within a couple of days from the events. Singers like Kavi Singh and Kitesh Singh Nirmal spared no time and opportunity to thank the government over those ordinances and went overboard using lyrics which had connotations of anti-Muslim sentiments. The songs were related to Kashmir and there is a Muslim majority in Kashmir who is labelled as traitors and terrorists. Muslims in other parts of India are also being associated with them and accused as the core problem to Kashmir and national instability in India.
These songs are not only having a religious biasness but also using content for Muslim Kashmiri Women which is sexist in nature. The songs have encouraged the Indian men to marry Kashmiri women to settle and reclaim the region. Political anthropologist Ather Zia terms this as “fetishisation in the Indian imagination”.
Such songs are a “culmination of a toxic misogynistic nationalist thinking that draws validation from humiliating Kashmiri women,” Zia said. Google Trends has shown an increase in Indians using search terms like “marry Kashmiri girl” and “buy land in Kashmir”.
The Indian media is not leaving any stone unturned portraying Kashmiri women in a racist trope of fair skinned ones but has also portrayed them as endangered and insecure with their own men and families and they should be saved and brought out of the misery while demonizing the Kashmiri men.
It would be bias to label whole of the Indian film industry in reins of Modi administration. There are some, despite their huge names, just a voice in the wilderness. Personalities like Mahesh Bhatt and Javed Akhter have condemned the ideology that is being brought forward through media by the BJP. They were reported saying that it is the darkest time that India is going through in regards to the social issue which are being artificially surfaced. Javed Akhter a poet and a senator said there is no Islamophobia in India and media is just trying to craft one, which will harm India on a largerer whole. He called BJP as fascist and not a representation of Indian ideology. Mahesh Bhatt told that if the actors and actresses would want to take the stand they would be outcasted and demonized putting their careers on stake, it could be possible as a group, nevertheless there’s a fear that is being spread is making it difficult for people with different views to be expressive. Mahesh Bhatt said “They feel very vulnerable, but the explosive silence speaks for itself, that these people are frightened to speak their minds, even if they feel completely different to what they are posturing privately,”