representation of Indian identity in ethnic media abroad.
Cultural Representations: Race, Class,
Gender and Caste
“Representation of Indian Diasporic
Identity Among Ethnic Media Abroad”-
Presented By: Mou Mukherjee Das
What is Diaspora.
What constitutes Indian Diaspora-
The High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora , under the
Chairmanship of Dr. L. M. Singhvi, M.P. defines diaspora as
“communities of migrants living or settled permanently in
other countries, aware of its origins and identity and
maintaining varying degrees of linkages with mother
In the report of this committee, Indian Diaspora refers to
“the people who migrated from territories that are
currently within the borders of the Republic of India. It
also refers to their descendants”
The Diaspora is currently estimated to number over
twenty million composed of “NRIs” (Indian citizens not
residing in India) and “PIOs” (Persons of Indian
Origin who have acquired the citizenship of some other
Diaspora Indians establish and sustain their identity
through ethnic Indian media.
What is then ethnic Indian media?
Ethnic media are primarily regarded as media by and for
ethnics in a host country with content in ethnic language
(Hayes, 2006; Ojo, 2006). This assumption is that ethnic
media are produced by ethnic communities in the host
country to serve ethnic cultural, political, economic, and
everyday needs (Shi, 2009).
They also serve as a focal point for the development of a
local consensus and a means of expression of the
community’s demands on the wider host community
(Gandy, 2000, p. 45).
Several of these ethnic media outlets were established in
response to the misrepresentation, underrepresentation,
and invisibility of ethnic groups in the mainstream media
(Ojo, 2006, p. 351).
Media is a practice of representation that uses image, text,
symbol and sound. It involves the production, consumption,
reception, and circulation of meanings (Silverstone, 1999) at
various levels (individuals, groups, institutions, nations, etc)
in different contexts or situations.
Roger Silverstone and Myria Georgiou's (2005) says that the
media contributes to the creation of symbolic communicative
spaces in which identities can be constructed
How can representation happen through media
• Can be produced in the country of origin or the country of
settlement, or in both
• Might be commercial, community, public, municipal or
other organizations' initiatives
• Might address an audience in local, national or
•Can adapt a role as the mouthpiece of a community or
identify as independent and commercial institutions
•Their output can be in the ethnic language(s), in the
language(s) of the country of settlement or in a combination
•Their output can be information-centred or entertainment-
centred though usually it is a combination
•Their output might relate to the country of origin, the local ,
the national, the diasporic context or to all
•They might adapt a segregation, ethno-centric perspective or
identify as institutions of a multicultural society
• They might address the migrant generation, the new
generations or different generations across the community
A detailed exploratory study was conducted to get a view of
the role played by the ethnic Indian media. Most of the
research participants were recruited through referrals by
friends and participants themselves, from America, United
Kingdom, Canada, and Middle East. The informants
belonged to middle and upper middle class households, with
occupations ranging from a student, social worker to an
information technology professional. In terms of ethnic
background, there were Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Gujratis
What identity do the ethnic Indian media either consciously
or subconsciously represent about diasporic Indians?
Do ethnic media help or hinder in the promotion of the
Indian identity and culture?
The presence of ethnic Indian media in different countries-
United States of America India abroad-the largest selling newspapers for ethnic Indians.
India tribune , India abroad, Indian reporter, India post, Gujarat
samachar, Gujarat mitra, Malayalee Sabdam, Punjab times, and Awaz
in Hindi. Chitrahar broadcasting, Ektara TV, Sikh TV, and Sohna
Punjab, and radio channels like Jhankar, Geet Gurjari, Rang Tarang,
Raunak Mela, Voice of Asian minorities etc
Canada Publications-hamdard, Punjab de Mehek, Pragati, Namaste Canada,
Sikh Press, Gujarat Vartaman, India roots.
Broadcast- eye on Asia, Asian TV network, Gaunda Punjab, TV Asia
U.K Des pardes-punjabi wkly. followed by Punjab mail and Punjab times
sunrise radio-oldest radio. Lashkara in Punjabi, Gurjari in Gujarat,
CEE in Tamil, Bangla in Bengali , Anjuman in Urdu and Channel East
by reminiscent TV.( RTV).
Australia Indian down under, Indian voice, the Indian link, Hindi Samachar
Spain Aina, Muskan, Sitara and Hindi Valencia Samachar
Surinam Trishul and Rashonic Broadcasting Networks , Radio Radika and
Saudi Arabia Urdu news and the Malayalam news
Oman Oman daily observer and the times of Oman
Kenya East 106 and sound Asia
Tanzania dare s salaam television
Gulf radio Asia and hum
South Africa Radio lotus, east coast radio and radio Hindvani
The representation of the Indian identity
Three major agents-
Ethnic Indian media in foreign countries
The Indian film industry,
Business networking with global and local businesses
The representation of the Indian identity In the ethnic
Follows a multifactor and mixed approach.
Drawn from various categories, such as history, literature,
languages, religions, folk and cultural beliefs, combined
with verbal and visual images to create a 'mosaic
portrayal' of pan Indian identity.
Keeps contact with the free and vibrant press of India
Acquaints their readers and enriches their perspectives with
a different point of view on major international
Focuses on the various developmental projects in India,
Opinions on politics and various policies of the Indian
Highlights the religious and cultural sentiments of the
different communities of India, in the foreign country.
Focuses highly on the Bollywood quotient .The
Bollywood phenomenon has bonded the diasporic
Indians and had provided them with an identity which
resonates with respect with the natives in that country
Knowledge and command over English language have also
given Indians a head start from other immigrant groups in
America and Europe.
Indian films and increasingly Indian TV serials are getting
popular in many countries in Europe, Africa, Middle East
The images of super-heroes, historic events, sacred
marriage rituals, classical and traditional art forms,
gayatri mantra, namaskar, touching feet of the elders
carries an aura of nostalgia.
Impact of the representation
Through this they become more powerful , when they
produce their own media against the mainstream media and
Exerts a certain influence on the host government and on
the wider Diaspora.
persuades and even creates pressure on the host
government on certain policy issues in favour of their