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Headlines from the Heartland: Reinventing the Hindi Public Sphere

Summary:
I came across this gem of a book titled – Headlines from the Heartland: Reinventing the Hindi Public Sphere. The book is written by eminent journalist Sevanti Ninan.  The book takes one through evolution of Hindi newspapers in the Hindi Heartland and how they shaped the public sphere . In the 1990s a newspaper revolution began blowing across northern and central India. In these Hindi-speaking states, when literacy levels rose, communications expanded, and purchasing power climbed, Hindi newspapers followed-picking up readers in small towns and villages. Even while these newspapers surged to the top of national readership charts, they localised furiously in the race for readers. But in this universe of local news, questions arose about what localisation was doing to regional identity

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I came across this gem of a book titled – Headlines from the Heartland: Reinventing the Hindi Public Sphere. The book is written by eminent journalist Sevanti Ninan

The book takes one through evolution of Hindi newspapers in the Hindi Heartland and how they shaped the public sphere .

In the 1990s a newspaper revolution began blowing across northern and central India. In these Hindi-speaking states, when literacy levels rose, communications expanded, and purchasing power climbed, Hindi newspapers followed-picking up readers in small towns and villages. Even while these newspapers surged to the top of national readership charts, they localised furiously in the race for readers. But in this universe of local news, questions arose about what localisation was doing to regional identity and consciousness.

Using notes from her pioneering field-study in eight states, Sevanti Ninan brings alive India’s ongoing rural newspaper revolution, and its impact on politics, administration and society. Set against the socio-economic and political changes in the countryside, it is a remarkable story of how journalism flowered in unexpected and unorthodox ways, and colourful media marketing unfurled in the Hindi heartland.

The book is highly interdisciplinary. One sees a mix of microeconomics, marketing, entrepreneurship, journalism, society and so on in the book.

The book was published by Sage Publications and is highly overpriced as of now. The publishing group could reconsider reprinting the book. Editor Ninan could also consider releasing an update of the book. Hindi heartland is again rising and becoming dominant in political sphere. Thus, it is really important to read and understand the Hindi media which has played and will play a major role in the public sphere and politics.

Amol Agrawal
I am currently pursuing my PhD in economics. I have work-ex of nearly 10 years with most of those years spent figuring economic research in Mumbai’s financial sector.

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