India Culture

India Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in India

According to A2ZGOV.COM, India is a country located in Asia. India’s media landscape has changed rapidly since 2000. The liberalization of the radio and TV monopoly, new technology in the IT sector and investments in 3G networks are some of the reasons. In addition, increased wealth and increased literacy have given media companies new opportunities to reach out with their products.

The 1950 Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, however, with a number of exceptions, including: in the case of materials considered to be offensive. With the support of the constitution, the authorities have acted against Facebook and Google and tried to force companies to censor material on the internet.

It is also common for authorities in some states to withdraw or threaten to withdraw advertising in the daily press to stop critical journalism. Because the authorities account for a large part of the daily press’s advertising revenue, this means that some newspapers practice self-censorship.

Internet and mobile telephony

India is in an extreme growth phase when it comes to internet access. What drives this development is primarily the sale of smartphones and subscriptions to the mobile Internet. In 2012, about 150 million Indians had access to the Internet, of which more than half were via mobile subscriptions.

Global sites like Google, YouTube and Facebook are the most visited. In 2012, more than 60 million Indians had Facebook accounts, making the country the second largest in the United States in terms of website users.

There are dozens of mobile operators with their own networks. The largest is Indian Airtel, followed by British Vodafone India. No one has more than 20% of the market and the great competition has meant that mobile rates are among the lowest in the world.

Radio and TV

The first radio broadcasts began in 1927 and television broadcasts began in 1959. Until 2000, TV and radio were state controlled.

Following the liberalization, over 500 private TV channels have been launched via cable, terrestrial or satellite and just over 1,000 private radio channels have been added.

All India Radio (AIR), the state-owned public service company, is one of the world’s largest media companies. AIR has about 270 radio stations with broadcasts in 23 domestic languages and 146 different dialects. Despite the deregulation, only AIR is allowed to broadcast news on the radio.

State Doordarshan India is responsible for the country’s public service television. The business is financed through state funds and through advertising. Doodarshan has about 20 channels, eleven of which are regional. The DD India channel is aimed at Indians abroad and can be viewed via satellite in 146 countries.

Daily press and magazine

The market for printed newspapers has expanded significantly in recent years and India is the country in the world where most daily newspapers are printed every day, about 110 million copies. 2012. There are just over 4,000 daily newspapers and Hindi is the most common newspaper language, but several of the largest newspapers are published in English and have their roots in the British press tradition.

The largest newspaper is the Times of India, founded in 1838, with a circulation of just over 3.1 million copies. (2012). It is owned by The Times Group and is the world’s largest daily newspaper in English. The newspaper is headquartered in Mumbai (Bombay), but is published in regional editions in about 10 different cities.

The Times Group is India’s largest media company and publishes some 30 newspapers and magazines in different languages. In 1961, The Economic Times was launched, which is the world’s second largest daily business newspaper in English, according to the American Wall Street Journal, with an edition of about 600,000 copies. (2012).

The second largest daily newspaper is Dainik Bhaskar, founded in 1958, with a circulation of about 2.5 million copies. (2012). The magazine is published in Hindi and is owned by the family company DB Corp Ltd., which also publishes six other newspapers in Hindi, English and Gujarati.

India also has a large number of magazines in different languages. One of the leading political news magazines is India Today, founded in 1975, with a circulation of 1.1 million. The magazine is published once a week in five different languages.

The dominant news agency is The Press Trust of India (PTI), founded in 1947 and jointly owned by 450 newspapers. The agency has 400 staff journalists at 70 editorial offices around the country. There is also a smaller privately owned news agency, United News of India (UNI).


According to ANIMALERTS, Indian culture has ancient roots. In classical times (400 BC – 500 AD), Hinduism gave rise to several sciences, which often reached very high standards. For example, in order to carry out a sacrificial ritual according to the Vedic tradition, one must have knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. In our day, India produces more film than any other country, both serious and more lightweight Bollywood variants.

The Indians invented our “Arabic” numbers like zero, the symbol of “nothing” which is important in Indian philosophy. The Indians also invented the decimal system, and the mathematician Aryabhata (AD 400) was able to calculate square and cubic roots and the number pi to 3.14.

Grammar, psychology and medicine were also highly developed sciences, all of which were compiled and recorded in the language of Sanskrit.

Sit and table

Music, dance and the arts of love were counted as sciences. Classical Indian dance is still governed today by the rules of the book Natya Shastra from the 20th century BC, as well as myths, legends and classical literature, but the way of performing the dance varies between different parts of the country. Classical Indian music is believed to have originated in religious poems and songs from the Vedas (1600 BC – 800 BC). Today there is a northern and a southern school within classical music, but for both, a skilled music practitioner should be able to improvise. In music and dance there is also a lively and rich folk tradition.

The string instrument sits and the double drum tabla is common. A multiple award-winning virtuoso on Indian sitar was the musician and composer Ravi Shankar (1920–2012). He gained international fame through his collaboration with, among others, the British pop group The Beatles. In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Prize.

Extensive religious literature was also written down in Sanskrit, including the great popular epic Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Nobel laureate in literature, Bengal Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1948), is usually regarded as the foremost among more modern Indian writers. Tagore was also a skilled artist. With her breakthrough novel The Midnight Children (in Swedish 1983), Salman Rushdie paved the way for a long line of English-language writers with Indian roots, often living in the West. His book Clown Shalimar (in Swedish 2006) has the conflict in Kashmir as a background.

Among those who have gained fame in Rushdie’s footsteps include Bengal Vikram Seth, who with his book An Appropriate Young Man (in Swedish 1994) gives a good picture of Indian social life. So does Arundhati Roy in his acclaimed book The God of Small Things (in Swedish 1998), which takes place in the southern state of Kerala, as well as Aravind Adiga in The White Tiger (in Swedish 2009). Jhumpa Lahiri (now residing in the US) depicts in Sankmark (in Swedish 2014) two brothers from Calcutta, where one chooses to join the Maoist Naxali movement (see Naxali uprising).

A movie-loving country

Film is by far the most popular cultural expression in India. The film industry is concentrated in Bombay (“Bollywood”), Calcutta (Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai). The films are often quite violent thrillers, or on the theme of young people’s love concerns (a supreme real problem in India with its tradition of arranged marriage) with many song and dance numbers interwoven.

It also produces more serious films: filmmakers such as Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Shekhar Kapur and Mira Nair have made themselves known in the West as well. Satyajit Ray, whose early films were heavily inspired by Italian neorealism, received a special Oscar the same year he died (1992) as a thank-you for a life-long filmmaking. At the 2009 Academy Awards, British film director Danny Boyle took home a big slam with his film Slumdog Millionaire, which is set in Bombay, with Indian actors.

The documentary film India’s Daughter (India’s Daughter), made for the British BBC, sparked great upheaval and debate in India in 2015. In it, filmmaker Leslee Udwin interviews one of the four men sentenced to death for the group rape in Delhi 2012 (see Calendar). In the film, the perpetrator shows no remorse for the crime he committed, but places the entire blame on the deceased victim. A court stopped the film from appearing in India and the government launched an investigation into how the filmmaker managed to get an interview with the doomed. The film had an international premiere on Women’s Day on March 8, 2015.

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Eight dead in new attack in Kashmir

December 31st

On the last day of the year, eight people were killed in connection with an assault on a semi-military facility outside Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Four of those killed are Indian soldiers while four are resistance men. It is unclear if the attackers belong to any particular resistance group.

Laws against immediate divorces

December 30

Parliament’s lower house adopts a law that prohibits the Muslim tradition that gives men the right to be separated from their wives by saying the word “talaq” three times. The man who is guilty of this should be able to be sentenced to prison. The law must also be approved by the upper house before it can take effect. In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the so-called “triple talaq” custom violates the Constitution. Indian activists have been running a campaign to ban the practice. A court case has been run by five Muslim women who have been left in this way. More recently, it has become increasingly common for the man to complete the divorce via a text message.

Rebel leader killed in Kashmir

December 26

Indian government forces kill Noor Mohammad Tantray, military leader of the Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, who fights India’s rule over the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. The violence in Kashmir has escalated in recent years, and the Indian army has launched an offensive to quell the uprising. 2017 was the deadliest year in a decade when 350 people, including 210 suspected rebels and 57 civilians, lost their lives in clashes with the military.

India accuses Pakistan of attack

December 23

Indian police state that three Indian soldiers were shot dead by Pakistani military at checkpoint between Pakistani and Indian Kashmir. The Pakistani authorities do not comment on the information.

Dismissed telecommunications ministers acquitted

December 21

An Indian court acquits Andimuthu Raja deposed from all criminal offenses in connection with a corruption scandal in 2008 (see November 2011). The co-inheritance was in the multi-billion class and was concerned that the Minister should have sold telecom licenses at a very low price in exchange for bribes. A dismissed Minister of Textiles is also acquitted.

Election for BJP in two states

December 18

The ruling BJP wins the state elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Thus, the Hindu Nationalist Party has power in 19 of India’s 29 states, while the largest national opposition party, the secular Congress Party, governs in 4 states. In other states, local or regional parties hold power.

Rahul Gandhi elected President of the Congress Party

December 11

As expected, the country’s largest opposition party, the Indian Congress Party, elects Vice President Rahul Gandhi as new chairman. He is the only candidate for the party leader post. 47-year-old Rahul replaces his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has been the party’s leader for 19 years. Rahul thus carries on the Gandhi family’s tradition of leading the Congress Party. In addition to his mother, Rahul’s father (Rajiv), grandmother (Indira) and grandmother’s father (Jawaharlal Nehru) have also been Congress party leaders.


Over 200 opponents killed in Kashmir so far this year

November 30

Indian authorities say that 205 opponents have been killed in Kashmir so far this year. It is the largest number of killed rebels since 2010. The violence in Kashmir has increased significantly since July 2016 when government soldiers killed rebel leader Burhan Wani. His death became the starting point for the riots against the government forces in which nearly 100 people were killed. This in turn led to the military launching an offensive against the militant groups.

Murder of a journalist is believed to have been ordered

November 23

Investigative crime reporter Sudip Dutta Bhaumik in Bengali-speaking newspaper Syandan Patrika is shot dead by a soldier during a visit to a military police station in the state of Tripura in the northeast. The police seize the perpetrator directly and later also his superior, a high-ranking army commander, whom Sudip Dutta Bhaumik was investigating for suspected fraud. The police believe the murder is an order job on the orders of the army commander. The murder of Sudip Dutta Bhaumik is the third for an Indian journalist in less than a quarter.

Changes in the new tax system

November 10

The Indian government announces that the new tax system introduced on July 1, 2017 should be changed slightly after criticism from entrepreneurs for the system to make business and entrepreneurship more difficult than to simplify, which was the purpose of the reform. Among other things, the tax is to be lowered on the goods that have the highest tax rate of 28 percent, such as chocolate, shampoo and shaving cream. India’s economy has shown signs of slowing down in the autumn.

Car restriction in Delhi due to smog

November 10

Decision makers in Delhi are reintroducing a restriction on the number of cars that may be in the city at the same time. Such a restriction was put to the test during a period in 2016. The cause of the measure is the health-threatening and thick smog that swept over the city in November. Smog occurs when the severe air pollution found in Delhi is combined with smoke from burning in the adjacent agricultural area during the fall. The level of air pollution in Delhi is 30 times higher than the threshold set by the World Health Organization WHO. Delhi’s chief minister calls the city a “gas chamber”. The car restriction applies for a few days in the middle of the month.


New trade route to Afghanistan opened

October 31st

India sends its first cargo (with wheat) along a new trade route passing through the Iranian port of Chabahar to Afghanistan. Through the new route, India can trade with Afghanistan without crossing Pakistan. An additional six shiploads of a total of 1.1 tonnes of goods will be shipped this way in the coming months.

Another journalist murdered

21 October

Rajesh Mishra, 41-year-old reporter at the Hindi-language newspaper Dainik Jagran, is shot dead in Uttar Pradesh by three motorcycle perpetrators. Dainik Jagran is one of India’s largest daily newspapers. Mishra was a member of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak), a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization that has ties to the ruling BJP party. In September, reputed journalist Gauri Lankesh was murdered in Bangalore. She had made herself known as a critical reviewer of the BJP.

The US wants to deepen its cooperation with India

October 18

The US wants to deepen its cooperation with India in light of China’s growing influence in Asia. This is stated by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a visit to the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Tillerson calls India a “partner” in a “strategic partnership”. He adds that the United States would never have a similar relationship with China, a “non-democratic society”.

Prohibition of sex with a minor wife

October 11

The Supreme Court decides that it is no longer legal for men to have sex with their underage wives. Instead, this should be defined as rape. In the past, it was allowed for men to have sex with their wife if she turned 15 years old. Now the lowest age is 18 years.

The death penalty for the train fire in 2002 is transformed into life sentences

October 9

The eleven Muslim men sentenced to death for the train fire in Gujarat in 2002 have their sentences converted to life imprisonment by a state court. In the assassination fire on a train, 59 people were killed, most of whom were Hindu pilgrims. The fire led to widespread revenge in the form of violent riots targeting the state’s Muslims. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the riots.

Several dead in attack against paramilitary in Kashmir

October 3

A post for semi-military forces outside Srinagar International Airport in Kashmir is attacked by three men with firearms. One soldier is killed and two injured in the firing. The three perpetrators are shot to death by the police. It is unclear who or who is behind the attack, but militant Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad takes on the deed.


Two men sentenced to death for bombing 1993

September 7

Two men are sentenced to death for participating in the Mumbai bombing in 1993 when 257 people were killed. The bombing was carried out shortly after many Muslims were killed in riots the same year. A third man is sentenced to ten years in prison.

Well-known journalist murdered

September 6

Reputable and controversial journalist Gauri Lankesh, 55, is shot dead on the stairs to his residence in Bangalore by unknown motorcycle perpetrators. Gauri Lankesh was known as a fearless critic of radical Hindu nationalists, including politicians within the ruling BJP. Politically, she stood to the left and openly supported the Maoist Naxali uprising. At the time of the murder, Gauri Lankesh was on leave from the prison where she served a sentence after being convicted of slander by Hindu nationalist politicians in an article. The motive for the murder is unknown, but Gauri Lankesh was one of the most high profile journalists murdered in India in recent years. Hate campaigns against female reporters in social media are said to have become more common, as well as hate campaigns against so-called secular debaters advocating that politics and religion should be kept apart.


Claws erupt when the guru is convicted of rape

August 25th

The controversial Indian guru Ram Rahim Singh is sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison for two rapes on two female followers. The verdict causes thousands of guru followers to gather outside his headquarters in the city of Sirsa in the state of Haryana in protest of the verdict and in support of the religious leader. Clashes erupt when supporters clash with police, killing 38 people. Two days later, the crowd dissolves into relatively calm forms. Also in New Delhi and Pachkula, where the verdict is pronounced, violence erupts.

India bans immediate Muslim divorces

22 August

The Supreme Court ruled that the Muslim tradition that gives men the right to be separated from their wives by saying the word “talaq” three times violates the Constitution. The verdict comes after Indian activists campaigned to ban the so-called “triple talaq” custom. The case has been run by five Muslim women who were left in this way as well as two human rights groups. More recently, it has become increasingly common for the man to complete the divorce via a text message.

Five killed at the Pakistan border

August 7th

Military shoots five people trying to cross the border from Pakistan into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. It states the Ministry of Defense that has no information about which group of attackers belong to. A total of 40 people have so far this year been killed at the so-called control line between Pakistani and Indian Kashmir.

Protests against Islamist leaders being killed in Kashmir

1 August

Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Abu Dujana is killed in Srinagar by Indian military along with an aide. The action will cause thousands of residents to protest on the streets and at least 70 people injured in clashes with the military. Separatists call for a general strike and the authorities respond by closing all schools and universities.


Dalit is elected president

July 20

The ruling party BJP’s candidate, Dalit and lawyer Ram Nath Kovind, is elected as the President of India. He has previously been governor of the state of Bihar. The BJP’s election of a dalit (formerly termed caste) for presidential candidate is seen by judges as an attempt by the Hindu Nationalist Party to reach out to minority groups. As Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu is elected from the BJP.

Prohibition on trade in cows is stopped

July 10

India’s highest court decides to suspend an order from the Modi government for three months to ban trade in cows for commercial slaughter.

Tax reform comes into force

July 1st

The government is introducing a comprehensive new tax system, which aims to transform India’s economy into a single market instead of a multitude of state economies and to curb corruption and reduce bureaucratic hassles for business owners. The idea is that trade should be made easier by having a system, the so-called GST (Goods and Services Tax), with four different tax levels applicable throughout the country. For example, basic goods such as vegetables and milk are not taxed at all, while luxury goods such as tobacco and alcohol are taxed most.


Nationwide protests against attacks on Muslims

June 29

Large demonstrations are held in ten cities in protest of the many attacks that have taken place on Muslims lately. The attackers accuse the Muslims of killing cows and eating beef. In connection with the demonstrations, Prime Minister Modi says the attacks against the Muslims are “unacceptable”.

Modi visits the White House

June 26

The mood is described as good when Prime Minister Modi meets US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Sensitive issues such as climate change and immigration policy are not officially mentioned, while trade, the economy, the fight against terrorism, defense cooperation and the war in Afghanistan are in focus. The United States faces sanctions against Syid Salahuddin, a high-ranking leader of the Kashmiri resistance group Hezb-ul-Mujahedin, and designates him as a terrorist. The sanctions are a diplomatic victory for India. Later, in August, the United States also stamped the entire Hezb-ul-Mujahedin, which prohibits US citizens from engaging with the group and freezes its possible assets in US-controlled areas.

New flight route to Afghanistan opened

June 19

A flight route will be opened between India and Afghanistan on which Afghan products will be transported to India. The route means that Pakistan is bypassed.


The price of solar energy is dropping

May 11

The price of solar energy in India has decreased by 40 percent compared to the lowest price in 2016. India is believed to be able to achieve or even exceed its renewable energy targets in the Paris 2015 climate agreement.

Military offensive in Kashmir

May 4th

Indian forces launch the largest military offensive against rebel groups in Jammu and Kashmir in several years. The background is the violent protests in recent months in the state, as well as several assaults. Thousands of soldiers block dozens of villages in the pursuit of armed resistance.


Naxalites kill 25 in ambush

April 25

The Maoist Naxalites (see Naxali uprising) kill 25 military police who act as security guards at a road construction in the state of Chhattisgarh. According to eyewitnesses, the Naxalites use villagers as human shields to prevent the military police from responding to the fire during the assault.

Boycott of elections in Kashmir

April 16

Separatist leaders call for boycott when a filling election is held for the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. According to the Election Commission, 2 per cent of voters vote. In election-related violence, eight people are killed and over 100 injured. Protesters vandalize more than 150 polling stations.

Indians sentenced to death for espionage

April 10

A Pakistani military court sentenced an Indian to death, accused of spying on the Indian intelligence service’s behalf. The Government of India condemns the decision in harsh terms.


Third largest aviation market

March 28

In 2016, India has the world’s third largest aviation market, with around 100 million passengers. Only China and the United States have more. The fourth largest aviation market is Japan.

Lifetime prison for radical Hindus

March 22

A Rajasthan court sentenced three radical Hindus to life imprisonment for their role in blasting the Muslim shrine of Ajmer in 2007, when three people were killed and a dozen injured. A third man, who was shot dead some time after the attack, is found guilty posthumously. The man who is considered to be the brain behind the explosion, Naba Kumar Sarkar (aka Swami Asimanand), is released from debt. He is a well-known, highly regarded member of the influential Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak, who has greatly contributed to shaping the ideology underlying the BJP ruling party. In India, it is unusual for radical Hindus to be convicted of similar crimes, and from the outset, the blame for the blast of Ajmer was blamed on militant Islamists.

Modi appoints controversial chief minister

March 19

Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party wins a big victory in the populous (204 million residents) and important state of Uttar Pradesh. The BJP received a total of 325 of the 403 seats in the state assembly. It attracts great attention when Modi appoints Hindu nationalist Yogi Adityanath, who is accused of calling for violence against Muslims, to be the new chief minister in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi gives economists a snap

March 3rd

Modi rebukes economists who have previously said that the Indian government’s decision to eliminate high denominations of cash would hamper the country’s economic growth. Modi points out that India’s GDP growth was 7 percent in the last quarter of 2016, when cash was taken out of circulation.


Modi is invited by Trump

January 25

Just days after taking office as US President, Donald J. Trump calls Modi and invites him to the White House in Washington later in the year. Modi promises to work closely with the new US president, and many analysts expect a boost in India-US relations.

Prohibition of election campaigns based on caste, religion or language

January 5

The Supreme Court of India states that election winners will have their results annulled if their election campaigns are based on caste, religion or language affiliation. The decision has its basis in the Constitution of India which provides that elections should be ” secular “.

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