Tamil Takes Centre Stage: Tradition and Modernity in Indian Television


  • Sunitha Chitrapu Social Communications Media Dept (SCMSophia), Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai 400 026, India




modernities, India, television, oratory, Tamil, invented traditions


This paper draws attention to the role of language in mediated modernities in India through an analysis of Sirappu Pattimandram (Special Debate), a Tamil-language debate show on the politically-affiliated corporate Sun TV network in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The show provides an opportunity for the articulation of anxieties over how social and economic changes affect the private lives of Tamil speakers. These anxieties are contained through the use of Tamil-language oratory which recasts quotidian everyday problems in an ancient literary idiom that provides reassurance through imagined continuity with a glorious past.

Author Biography

Sunitha Chitrapu, Social Communications Media Dept (SCMSophia), Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai 400 026, India

Sunitha Chitrapu teaches communications research methods at the Social Communications Media Department, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai, where she is currently the Head of Department. She graduated with a PhD in Mass Communication from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2008 with a specialization in media economics. Her research interests include the economics of the international media trade, political economy and policy issues. Her work has been published in The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, the Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media, Journal of Creative Communications, Social Movement Studies Journal, Bollywood and Globalization: The Global Power of Popular Hindi Cinema and The Magic of Bollywood: At Home and Abroad.


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Critical Explorations of Media Modernity in India