Constructing Masculinity (Discussion in Contemporary by Maurice Berger

By Maurice Berger

This anthology takes us past the prestige of masculinity itself, wondering society's and the media's normative techniques of the masculine, and contemplating the level to which women and men can go beyond those stereotypes and prescriptions.

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The state may turn to entertainment culture as follower rather than initiator, on the heels of a growing entrepreneur’s market. State-owned media may then be used as a way of seeking control over a growing popular culture serving an influential sector of the public, and potentially threatening in its autonomy. Broadcasting, unlike other public utilities, needs to create varied rather than unvarying products to fulfil its function. Being highly rule-bound and structured, however, statecontrolled media are often unable to generate the innovative capacity required to attract audiences.

Led by Rajiv Gandhi—now the prime minister of the nation—a younger, more urban, Anglophile, and technophile generation took charge of producing a new, more cosmopolitan image for Indian television. In this changing scenario, as Ananda Mitra points out, the noneducational programming genres in Indian television began to diversify “from the earlier dependence on feature-film based programs into television plays . . ”26 For instance, in the “What’s on TV” section of the March 1987 issue of TV and Video World, Mitra finds eleven different serials in Hindi and English in the national programming schedule of Doordarshan.

I argue that by representing Yudhistra’s willingness to lose everything, including himself and his own family, as an uncharacteristic weakness for gambling, the television series Mahabharat seeks to repress archaic traditions of the game of dice by recasting the dharmic epic in terms of modern ideologies of nationalism that value notions of productivity and accumulation of wealth as the nationalist duty and the moral obligation of every citizen. indd 40 10/18/05 11:32:39 AM From Doordarshan to Prasar Bharati 41 of dharma in terms of the modern virtues of nationalism is not to suggest that productivity and accumulation of wealth are not desirable traits in a community.

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