2001 年 2001 巻 127 号 p. 169-184,L18
Television viewing has become a part of everyday life in India since the early 1990s. The development of mass media has made new patriotism pervasive in the popular culture of India. It is quite usual that political parties appropriate popular culture for legitimizing their ideology. I especially focus on the video clip shot by G. Bharat, a commercial film producer for the album Vande Mataram (Mother, I salute you) by A. R. Rahman, a popular musician, released in 1997 to celebrate India's fifty years of independence.
Vande Mataram composed by a Bengali poet, Bankimchandra Chatterjee was first set to music and sung by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The song became a symbol of patriotism during the Swadeshi movement opposed to the partition of Bengal in 1905, though it caused the communal tension between Hindus and Muslims during the freedom struggle, as it was anti-Muslim in its content and context.
The video clip of Vande Mataram revived in a new version made patriotism the popular boom in spite of heavy criticism. Patriotism described in the video clip is love of Mother India, a country of “Unity in Diversity”, where the diverse people live happily and tradition and modernity coexist. This concept totally agrees with the program code of laws relating to broadcasting, which made the video clip possible to be broadcast widely.
Bharatiya Janata Party appropriated this boom. The Uttar Pradesh Government tried to make the singing of Vande Mataram in schools, the meetings for mourning victims of Kargil War were held all over the country, and the Millennium Vande Mataram Campaign was launched for arousing patriotism among the youth. These events reminded them of the national enthusiasm for calling for freedom though it caused communal tension and was criticized bitterly.
Those who belong to the urban middle class of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Rahman and Bharat's native city, have well accepted the new patriotism according to my survey. The result shows that the difference of social background little affects their perception. Though caste and gender difference cannnot be recognized, the elder generation, non-Hindu and non-Tamil, are somewhat more critical of the new patriotism. Tamil Hindus seem no longer to be satisfied with Tamil Nationalism propelled by regional parties but to identify themselves with the Nation of India.
This phenomenon is a reaction to globalization. Both anti-globalization and yeaning for American culture in producers' mind crystallized as a new patriotic music. Though its description of India suggests no border and enemy, anti-globalization is often expressed by the hostility to neighbors. That is why BJP can easily appropriate this boom for legitimizing their ideology and policy based on anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim themes.