Projects


‘Culture of Downloading’ in Khandesh region and the Story of Transfer of Media – An Auto-Ethnographic Study


In this auto-ethnographic study, I am a data source, along with other ‘downloading workers’. I have already contacted a few of them. I will be looking at five places: Khandesh-Shirpur which is a tehsil in Dhule district, Dhule, the headquarter, Boradi – a village, Jalgaon town Jalgaon district, and Malegaon in Nashik district. Of these, Malegaon came into focus for various reasons including Malegaon Ka Chintu[6] (2010) a Television serial and Supermen of Malegaon[7] (2009), a documentary. I have selected these places because of the diversity they present vis-a-vis the ‘downloading culture’. All these places have a variety of communities, religions, castes and creed that have their own choices for ‘downloading or transferring the media’…

Media and Mobilization: Digital Media and the Shia Public Sphere in West Bengal


For the past 20 years, globalization and new media have been influential in shaping the religious landscape of South Asia. The Shia imagination, even in the remotest villages of Bengal, was first fired by the era of anolog technology via cassettes and then caught in the web of digital media. This is a phenomenon more apparent in the traditions of Muharram, as the Shia religious morality enacted through mourning over the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD re-creates the community’s historical-narrative basis. Within 200 years of the historical event, the story/history seeped into the domain of the community’s narrative imagination…

Digital Identities: The Online Circulation of Bodo VCD films and Music Videos


The demand for Bodoland, a separate state from Assam, has garnered national attention in the last few decades because of the violence and insurgency that has ensued in its wake. In recent times, the Bodo agitation has become an important component in the political discourse of Assam, and remains a complex and emotive issue.[1] There has been considerable focus within the Bodo community on this issue that is linked with questions of identity, culture and language. Additionally in the last two decades, there has been an emergence of locally made low-budget productions due to the availability of affordable digital technology…

The Returned: The Rise of B-movie Cinephilia


Picture first, in the murky blue of the sylvan night, one of the vampire’s minions in white satin with exaggerated face paint, false teeth and styrofoam wings flickers in front of you. She struggles to maintain her balance and as she is wheeled towards the camera her wings keep disappearing from shot to shot. Strangely though the disappearing wings seem to have little effect on the vampire’s flying skills. This haunting image is from Harinam Singh’s Shaitani Dracula (2003) which has become iconic in “B” cinephile circles…

Broadcast to Broadband: Televisual Experiences in the Age of the Digital


Netflix, the world’s most popular online streaming service launched in India this January elicited mixed reactions. While avid viewers of American and British TV series are thrilled by the move, cable operators and online service providers like HOOQ and Ogle anticipate tough competition. Factoring in low internet bandwidth and monthly subscription fees, the success of Netflix in India is still a fuzzy picture at the moment. In an industry that is gradually moving towards digitization, this launch is clearly a game-changer for both television broadcasters and their audiences…

10 Rs Recharge: Incrementality in Digital Consumption within Informal Urban Settlements


Though bereft of basic facilities such as sewage system or water supply, informal settlements in Indian cities have been rapidly permeated by networks of digital technology and media infrastructures. The highest internet usage here is through mobile phones – enabled by the rapid penetration of low-cost smartphones and low tariffs.[1] The digital consumption in terms of data recharge or offline media purchases is largely incremental with daily recharges of Rs 10 – 30 instead of larger amounts over longer periods. This incremental nature of digital consumption is inherent to informality…

A Practice Perspective on Technologies Used in Transportation Studies: Introduction


In this post, Onkar Hoysala, one of the researchers who received the Social Media Research grant for 2016, introduces his proposed work. The significance of the transport sector in increasing productivity, reducing poverty and help achieve sustainable development goals, especially in rapidly urbanising areas, is well recognised (Asian Development Bank, n.d.; World Bank, 2014). Globally, there has been a push towards using computational methods and tools to help address issues in transportation, with international bodies such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank pushing towards the use of technology and data management in helping…

Short Term Research Projects in Social Media: Selected Proposals 2016


The Sarai Programme is committed to developing a public architecture for creating knowledge and creative communities. In keeping with this commitment, we seek to develop a community of scholars, writers and practitioners who are motivated to make the materials and outcome of research available for public access and circulation, with the understanding that an imaginative… Read More

Call for Proposals: Short Term Research Projects in Social and Digital Media 2016


The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, invites proposals from individuals for research projects on contemporary social and digital media, its ecologies and histories. Selected research proposals will be supported with a short-term grant for six months, and the researchers will present their studies in a workshop at Sarai-CSDS at the… Read More

Item Numbers in the Digital Age: From Cinema to a Landscape of Techno-Tactile Sensations


This is the fourth and final research note from Silpa Mukherjee, one of the short-term social media research fellows at The Sarai Programme. In my introductory post I referred to the new phenomenon of online citation culture built around item numbers as the item number effect.[1] Amateur digital culture spawned by social networking and micro-blogging platforms, and online platforms that encourage user generated content build an archive of virtual signage associated with the item number that now bleeds out of cinema and becomes more than music. Here I signpost the registers of a new fan identity which often curiously blends with the star’s…