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Can a song trigger a murder? Can a poem spark a riot? Can a book divide a people?
From catchy songs with acerbic lyrics to poetry recited in kavi sammelans to social media influencers shaping opinions with their brand of ‘breaking news’ to books rescripting historical events, ‘Hindutva Pop’ or H-Pop is steadily creating societal acceptability for Hindutva’s core beliefs. What makes H-Pop so popular? Who are its stars and its audience? Who is pouring in the money, the effort and the resources to produce and broadcast it? What is the political economy of H-Pop?
These are some of the questions that award-winning independent journalist Kunal Purohit explores in his riveting investigative book, H-Pop: The Secretive World Of Hindutva Pop Stars, as he travels through India profiling some of H-Pop’s most prolific and popular creators—its stars and celebrities. In the process, he interrogates whether the creators are driven by ideology or commerce, and what motivates the audience to consume their daily dose of bigotry.
This panel will discuss the key issues raised in the book and explore the effects of the the Political Influencer Economy. A Q&A with the audience will follow.
Kunal Purohit has been a journalist for nearly two decades, writing on issues of development, politics, inequality, gender and the intersections between them. He is an independent journalist and has, in the recent past, reported closely on the rise of Hindu nationalism across the country. Kunal is an award-winning non-fiction podcaster and a documentary film-maker. He has worked in the newsrooms of Hindustan Times and The Free Press Journal in Mumbai.
He is an alumnus of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from where, as a Felix Scholar, he earned an MSc in Development Studies with distinction in 2017. Kunal has received the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism, the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting and the UNFPA-Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitive Reporting in 2014 and 2019. He has also received various fellowships and journalism grants.
His work can be found in Al Jazeera, ProPublica, The Times of India, Foreign Policy, Hindustan Times, South China Morning Post, Deutsche Welle and The Wire, among others.
A stand-up comic and entrepreneur based out of Bangalore, Namit has been doing comedy for 4+ years and has done over 500 ticketed and private events.
He currently runs the ‘Just BLR Comedy Club’ on Brigade Road, which is Bangalore’s premier comedy club where shows happen every single day. The club attracts more footfalls than any other comedy club in South India.
Arundhati Ghosh is a poet, writer and cultural practitioner. With three decades of experience, she was the Executive Director of the India Foundation for the Arts till May 2023. Her awards include Chevening Clore Leadership Award (2015-2016), Chevening Gurukul Scholarship at the London School of Economics (2005-2006), and Salzburg Global Seminar Fellowship.
She sits on the advisory panel for The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bangalore and is a Board Member of Sangama. She writes for publications such as Scroll, The Wire, The Hindu, The Deccan Herald, News 9, Himal, Business Standard, etc. Her first collection of Bangla poetry Oshomoye phire esho nodi hoye was published in January 2023 by Lastrada Prakashan in Kolkata.