Natives, Subjects, Consumers: Notes on Continuities and Transformations in Indian Masculine Cultures
This article explores recent histories of masculine cultures in India. The discussion proceeds through outlining the most significant sites of the making of masculinity discourses during the colonial, the immediate post-colonial as well as the contemporary period. The immediate present is explored through an investigation of the the media persona of India's current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Through constructing a narrative of Indian modernity that draws upon diverse contexts -- such as colonial discourses about natives, anti-colonial nationalism, and post-colonial discourses of economic planning, 'liberalization' and consumerism -- the article illustrates the multiple locations of masculinity politics. Further, the exploration of relationships between economic, political and social contexts also seeks to blur the boundaries between them, thereby initiating a methodological dialogue regarding the study of masculinities. The article also seeks to point out that while there are continuities between the (colonial) past and the (post-colonial) present, the manner in which the past is utilised for the purposes of the present relates to performances and contexts in the present. Finally, the article suggests there is no linear history of masculinity, rather that the uses of the past in the present allow us to understand the prolix and circular ways in which the present is constituted.