Minorities in Indian Urdu News: Ahmadis, Journalistic Practice and Mediated Muslim Identity


  • Arshad Amanullah Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi




Urdu News, Field Theory, Journalistic Practices, Ahmadis, Indian Muslims, Mediated Religion


A case study of a protest campaign against the Ahmadiyya community in Punjab and its coverage in Urdu language news media of India, this paper locates its narrative at the intersection of media, politics and religion. It seeks to advance the field theory project beyond western media systems by applying it to Indian Urdu news. It demonstrates that the religious field is a neighbouring field of Urdu news and the former wields powerful influence over the latter. Moreover, the religious field with the help of news media uses politics to have its voice heard. The paper specifically reads into the manner in which Urdu dailies covered Majlis Ahrar-e Islam Hind’s (a Muslim interest group) protest campaign to cancel Pranab Mukherjee’s (then Finance Minister of India) visit to Qadian, Punjab in 2009. He was set to participate in an annual function of the Ahmadis who are a persecuted minority group among Muslims. The protest campaign, with an active support of Urdu dailies, got transformed into a media campaign against the Ahmadis and was successful in getting the Minister’s visit cancelled.   The paper investigates the dynamics of collaboration between Urdu news and the ulama that made possible transformation of anti-Ahmadi campaign into a media campaign. It attempts to elucidate the uncritical support that Majlis Ahrar-e Islam Hind received from Urdu dailies. For this purpose, it delves into normative structure of Urdu news field and its journalistic practices. It draws attention to their implications for Indian Muslim identity.

Author Biography

Arshad Amanullah, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Researcher-Project Manager

Centre for Culture, Media & Governance



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How to Cite

Amanullah, A. (2019) “Minorities in Indian Urdu News: Ahmadis, Journalistic Practice and Mediated Muslim Identity”, Culture Unbound, 10(3), pp. 367–387. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.2018103367.



Critical Explorations of Media Modernity in India