ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

‘Kuch to kiya hoga’: Political Emotion, Justice and the Making of a Hindu Rashtra


Shabnam Shaoni - St Xavier's College Autonomous Kolkata, Sociology, Kolkata, India


04- Pathways from Injury: Legal Narratives of Prejudice and the Politics of Hate in South Asia


 In a letter published in The Wire on September 13, 2022 Umar Khalid, a student-activist, imprisoned under the UAPA Act, writes on the issue of justice and distortion of truth under the current Hindu majoritarian, right-wing regime in India: how the media is distorting facts and the public is accepting these as ‘truth’: “Kuch to kiya hoga. Poora jhooth thode likh denge”(‘He must have done something. Surely they wouldn’t publish only lies’).

This paper will critically look at the role of the media and the judiciary to understand the relationship between political emotions and justice in the making of the Hindu rashtra in India. While Nussbaum (2013) makes a case for the role of positive emotions, such as love and compassion, for ensuring justice in a liberal democracy, in the context of the current BJP-ruled authoritarian regime in India, mobilization of emotions of hate and fear against the minorities/Muslims plays a crucial role in evoking Hindu nationalism.  Belief in unchecked facts, and emotions backing up such belief, are working as fundamental political tools in drawing mass support and legitimacy. Using framing analysis of media-texts and analysis of in-depth interviews of relevant people, the proposed paper will seek to understand how disinformation has become a site for normalizing ‘organized lying’, the abuse of Rule of Law through construction of false evidence and to develop a framework to understand relationship between emotions, belief, truth and justice.