Defining the political embodiment: Selfie Culture incites political propaganda in India


Technological development has made inroads in every sphere of our life. One of the most fundamental and vital aspect that has been refined and changed drastically is the visual self- representation with “Selfie”. The new so-called Selfie culture has changed the notion of visual communication across the world breaking all barriers of self-representations and propaganda. The impending selfie trend has brought in a radical change in self-branding, image management, public image and self-identity from Pope to political leaders across the world.

This paper aims to look at the impact and study the Selfie culture between two prominent leaders in the largest democratic country of the world- India. The paper compares the Prime Minister of India, who is digitally active and uses the platform for his popularity and prominence with the young Congress leader Rahul Gandhi though active and involved has not been able to strike the chord with the masses. It will examine the theoretical discussion on propaganda model and manufacturing consent and political change. Finally, the theoretical framework looks at the three dimensions that emerge from these areas Political Leadership and Society, digital leadership and use of selfie for self-representation and propaganda tool.

Key words: Selfie, political leader, propaganda, social media, India 


Social media has taken over the world; it has become an integral part of people across nations, countries and continents.  Social media has made inroads and paved way for communication and self-portrayal in every sphere with various mediums and platforms, resulting in a social -political and cultural revolution.

In a 21st political party leaders and governments to communicate with the civil society and citizens to influence them and garner support to broaden political participation and create a platform and medium for communication have used century modern democracy, social media and online platforms. Social media over the years has proved to be a useful tool of communication; hence political leaders have used it widely across the world.

Social media played a vital role in 2012 US presidential elections democratizing the elections and providing a powerful platform for political leaders and the people. It proved to be a highly interactive and effective medium bridging the gap between political leaders and the people taking the campaigning to the next level. Barack Obama used Social media effectively for winning the elections and breaking all traditional barriers of political campaigning in the USA.

Political analysts  Pasek (2006) ascribed the accomplishment of President Brack Obama to the dynamic and compelling utilization of online networking stages to connect with voters, strikingly the more youthful ages generally overlooked or given less significance by other political leaders. [[1]]

In the articles titled ‘How-obama-won-the-web-based social networking fight in-the-2012-presidential-crusade’, Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center, accentuates the way that Social media is not any more the “energizing new wilderness” for political battling. It is a typical and focal type of campaigning tools with particularly unpredicted   reach and impact in comparison to traditional media and their mediums. Hence, New media and Social media platforms should be accessed intelligently and used effectively for political campaign, government institutions, organizations and corporate. [[2]]

Social media in India

Taking a leaf from 2012 US elections, the Indian general elections 2014 witnessed a huge rise in social media. Social media became the new battleground to fight elections, it influenced and encouraged, people, political parties and leaders trying to woo youngsters on to social media to influence and draw them towards political participation.

Social media have broken the media stereotype and has become a medium for public discourse and has emerged as a new power center, knocking down the mainstream media which wielded power for more than a century in India.

‘Social Media has been the is the most outstanding technological evolution since the industrial revolution’ one of the most popular and effective  medium of mass communication, says Eric Qualman, Socialnomics. Therefore, we see the presence of the Pope to Presidents to celebrities, business tycoon to citizens all well connected on social media. Among the internet users, Social Media accounts to the maximum use that accounts nearly to 84% making around 110 million population, according to a report in Innovation India. This translates to social network users in India. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Plus are the four most popular social media platforms. [[3]]

Social media users in India are very young compared to the rest of the other nations in the world. Nearly 75% of social media users in India are under the age of below 35 years and nearly half of them are under 25 years of age. These usage patterns show that the expansion, adaptability and future prospects of the new media in India.

Looking at the popularity and widespread usage of Social media Friedman ( 2007) asserts that “Social media today has made the world a ―global village, with the quick transfer of Information overriding the challenges of time and distance as told by. It has gradually become one of the important means of influencing the society and this influence based exclusively, on its social aspects of interaction and participation. In addition to empowering people and politicians with a trendy and a powerful tool for self-representation popularly called the selfie Culture”. [[4]]

In India 2014 general elections were seen as a landmark shift from traditional conservative methods of campaigning and winning an election.

Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi emerged as technology savvy well connected leader with a powerful presence on social media began his campaigning well in advance to the elections. He smartly and intelligently applied social media in mainstream politics and explored its potential to its fullest. After his  historic victory of 2014 over the years has watchfully emerged as a strong  popular leader with a huge fan following and active on social media.

This paper examines the pattern of social media interaction in general by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and always looks at the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi’s presence online. Narendra Modi craze and fondness for technology, particularly social media. Within  a short span of time social networking sites Facebook and Twitter slowly making their mark in India, Modi, made the best of the use and within no time became a highly connected and tech savvy leader on online platform.

  1. Theoretical framework: In order to make this research viable, a theoretical explanation is necessary. Theoretical foundation only can address problems and prospects of Social media and its use in political system. The linkage of theory into practical situations is important for drawing any conclusive remarks.

2.1. Digital leadership

Every epoch has different kind of leaders and leadership, according to the demand and changing political landscape with different skills, knowledge personality and attitude and political ideology.  With social, cultural, political, and economical and off late technological changes are redefining leaders and leadership. Leaders have always had a vital role to play according to the strength, authority ability and influence. Therefore resulted in drastic change and shift their role and personality. Countries and societies are witnessing rapid change, influenced by technological development and economic changes from industrialization to globalization.

Therefore, leaders and leadership are going through a transition from the traditional and conventional method of political leadership to more aggressive digitally well connected and evolving with the times.

The 21st century revolves around technological changes, information, communication and connectivity has become the order of the day. To be and emerge and strong leader digital presence plays a vital role in reshaping and structuring political agenda and the leader. For that reason leaders today need to be more active and dynamic digitally. Innovation in politics is the day and adaptability to changing political and communication environment are critical.

Castells (2012) postulates reshaping leadership with fast and far reaching technological changes with reference to four key structural changes that are –

  1. information society;
  2. knowledge society; or networked society
  3. Information and communications technology (ICTs);
  4. accelerated globalization;

Due to these four factors, there has been a rapid shift toward information as the prime force cutting down the hierarchical barriers and structures.

Therefore, while analyzing new movements and social revolutions, Castells (2012) claims that, nowadays, the more the leaders use new technologies, the more they can extend their influence. Thus, since this characteristic is called a ‘relationship of influence’, technology has become an essential tool for strengthening and achieving this supremacy, above all when it is expected to bring different generations together Wisniewski (2010) 

Carlon (1996) formulating the characteristic of a leader empathizes that it is vital to have a vision and the quality to formulate strategies to achieve the goal and change vision into reality. [[5]]

Whereas Davenport (2007) opines that creating and formulating brilliant timely policy is excellent but the most important aspect is that executing the policy pertinently paves way for success. [[6]]

Hitt et al. (2005) put across strategic leadership “as the ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility and empower others to create strategic change as necessary.

Today’s leaders must have the ability to identify technology trends across different sectors, such as big data, cloud computing, automation, and robotics. However, first and foremost, they must possess sufficient knowledge and the vision to use these resources most effectively”. [[7]]

Lastly, Digital leadership is the ability of a leader to contribute towards a shift towards a technologically knowledgeable society with digital empowerment. As part of the global revolution digital leaders have a paramount commitment to contribute towards the ongoing global revolution.

2.2 Digital Rhetoric

Digital rhetoric today has become part of a political agenda across political leaders, parties and people in India. Technology has paved way for digital rhetoric with various social media platforms easily available and largely accessed.

Political rhetoric today has transformed into digital rhetoric, with social media there is vast and large canvas that offers, prospects for influence through modern technological resources, resulting in radical changes in mass media communication.

Burton (2013) enunciated the area of expertise of enlightening, inducing, and rousing the masses through social media. He specifies the feature of Digital Rhetoric as persuasion and effective communication through various multi-media tools and creating an impact in the minds of the masses. [[8]]

Paccagnella (2010) highlights and emphasizes while social media is a effective platform of communication and therefore the “information shared in the public environments are persistent, repeatable, scalable and searchable, unlike face-to-face interactions. A conversation on a public profile of a Social network may have a different destiny: the comments and images published are stored in the database (persistence) and recovered over time through search engines (search). Moreover, the digital data filed may be copied and forwarded (repeatability) and thus reach a large potential public (scalability) even if this is not perceived by the users”.  [[9]]

Mazzoleni  (1998) reminds us that political communication lives on rhetoric.

“Today, rhetoric, while having lost the prestigious aura of the past and being perceived negatively by public opinion (synonymous with arrogant, unnatural, emphatic, declamatory, even false), cannot be considered dead. The language of politics has been defined as the language of persuasion par excellence and as such cannot do without rhetorical models, argument, dialectics, and the figures which define it”. [[10]]

2.3 Selfie:  A new culture

Technology has provided a powerful and effective tool for sharing information with social media and social networks be it  Twitter, facebook, instragram and so on that gives an opportunity to users connect with other users and publish or receive short texts, easily accessible on a wide variety of devices, which may be accompanied by multimedia resources.

Twitter is the most widespread microblog, it embodies some of the characteristics of the new Knowledge Society: instantaneous connection, ongoing conversation, interaction between users, plurality of sources and quick diffusion of contents.

The selfie as a photograph is the object, a captured still image. ‘Selfie’ has been coined the word of the 2103 in the “Oxford Dictionary’s” henceforth ‘selfie’ continues to be everywhere and omnipresent in media and social Media.

Senft and Baym, chief of selfie research, (2015) explains that in reality  in spite of of its popularity Selfie refers to “remain fundamentally ambiguous, fraught, and caught in a stubborn and morally loaded hype cycle” (2015).

“selfie” has been traced back by Oxford Dictionaries to 2002—when smart phone cameras were grainy, fuzzy, and unable to flip to create a mirror image— but it seems that there remains a finite definition, or at least one that most scholars have agreed upon.

Oxford online dictionary (2013) term “as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

As Oxford has observed through the caveat of their definition, the selfie is most often shared, and that begins to describe the practice. Through its ubiquity and media coverage, a selfie etiquette has developed, addressing how many selfies are too many, the proper angles from which to take a selfie, the various purposes and genres of the selfie,amongst other aspects.

2.3 A Paradigm: Social media and self-representation among Political leaders 

In this research paper, we aim to find out the co-relation between the popularity of a leader and his social media presence. Self-representation with Selfie culture has refined political personalities and leaders.

To understand the phenomena better two political leaders of India Prime Minister “Narendra Modi” and opposition leader “Rahul Gandhi’s” social media presence, strategy, impact and popularity will be through selfie shall be examined.

Selfie Culture & Narendra Modi

Prasant Naidu (2014) [[11]] traces Narendra Modi’s New Found Love In Selfies take to a new level  with #SelfieWithModi Trends on Twitter –  a smart social media campaign by BJP during the 2014 elections.

Narendra Modi became the torch bearer of social media and technology in India using the latest 3D technology for his rallies held across India and winning with  thumping majority. Thus becoming become the first technology savvy Prime Minister of India. It was used as a powerful tool for mass communication, sending messages, recorded calls and public gatherings as part of political campaigning. For the first time in the history of political campaigning in India, politicians leveraged social media to reach out to their constituents like never before.

India had 164 million mobile internet users by March 2015, according to a survey by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. This rise in number has given an edge to Narendra Modi and his party.  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s has the single largest and extensive social media presence for any political leader in the world. His twitter presence is second after US President Barack Obama, it has Twitter has facilitated him to openly reach and connect  to the people. He has meticulously worked towards profile and personality and emerging as a powerful world leader. His image building exercise has been fruitful emerging as young dynamic digitally active leader in line with the ambitious young India.

Narendra modi turned into the first run through government official that brought the world 3-D multi dimensional image battling has embarked to break the Internet with his most recent development, Modi selfies for the masses. Eric Bellman, Dhanya and Thoppil (2015) report in Wall Street Journal sharing he fact that “Modi Breaks the Internet with 70,000 Selfies” [[12]]

Social Media Presence

Corinne (2016) in a Wall street Journal [[13]] report on secrets of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Social media presence, Social media minions  has led to his high presence on digital platform making him the leading leader in the world during his tenure from 2014 to 2016.

Mr. Modi even casted a shadow big and famous celebrity from the world of entertainment to sports and Spiritual leaders like Dalai Lama and Pope. It is no doubt that as a Prime Minister he has unmatched presence on social networking platform with 23.8 million on twitter and 36 Million followers on Facebook after taking over as Prime Minister on May 26, 2014 of the largest democracy in the world. Within a span of two years he was successful in having more than 400 million interactions as Facebook posts. [[14]]  [[15]][[16]].

Joyojeet Pal (2015) Assistant professor, University of Michigan’s School of Information, in his paper titled ‘Banalities Turned Viral: Narendra Modi and the Political Tweet,’  assets the fact that “Modi has used social media successfully to shape his public image as a tech savvy leader, aligning himself with the aspirations of a younger generation in India. He is smart and quick to

adopt the latest tech updates. For instance, he took advantage of the video feature on Twitter almost as soon as it was available he uses Twitter as a personal signal than for issues, per se ” [[17]].

Denial Kreiss, Observed the twitter’s “performative power is as valid in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s context as it was during the last US presidential campaign”.

The political leader who thought of using social media was able to use the internet to generate maximum popularity in the face of a very fierce political assault and media adversity. In order to understand the Social media strategy of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi three key players in these elections, Personality, leadership strategy and Political Rhetoric have delved into Bennett and Sergerberg’s argument that citizens – especially the younger generation – have decoupled from traditional forms. [[18]]

A brief history of Modi’s selfies

The cultural fondness and social affection with online networking types of self-picture, usually known as “selfies,” with a particular enthusiasm for the self-imaging methodologies by political pioneers have picked up notoriety and is on the ascent. The pervasive pattern via web-based networking media locales like Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram. The “Selfie” has turned into an intense means for self-articulation, influencing it among the masses and classes of the society from high profiled political leaders to a common person sharing the most personal and private snapshots of their lives – and also participate in a type of inventive mental self view and marking.

The first ever selfie of Modi was in Mumbai when he was to address a massive rally on April  2015 last year, he posed with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Mumbai North-West (now MP) Poonam Mahajan. The same day, author Chetan Bhagat tweeted a selfie with Modi saying, “You know a leader has the youth pulse when he can discuss job creation and is still up for a selfie! (sic).” And thus began Modi’s selfie craze, a form of communication that appeals to the younger, tech-savvy crowd, also a good part of the future electorate.[ [19]]

From holographic innovation to the utilization of online networking stages, for example, Facebook, in which Modi is currently the second most prominent political figure after Obama, or Twitter with the #SelfieWithModi slanting around the world – these battles, however themselves explained through the execution of innovation, fundamentally served to uncover and create the figure of Narendra Modi: the government official and the man.


A collage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with political leaders, sports star and celebrity 

Review of Literature

Taking a picture of you without the help of others was a big deal until selfies came into existence, it is a very recent phenomena, but gained monetum within a short span of time and the popularity spread like a wild fire.

According to Carr David (2015) “selfie” has turned into the central of impressive verbal confrontation. The wonder of urgent self-portrayal via web-based networking media locales has been composed about in real news outlets. [[20]]

Whereas Saltz (2014) expresses it as fast self-portrait made with a smartphone’s camera and immediately distributed into a social network for instant visual communication of where we are, what we are doing, who we think we are and who we think is watching.

Bennett (2014) considers the diffusion of Selfie as extremely intriguing theme for specialists to think about and look at in light of the fact that since 2012, the rate of use of selfie supposedly expanded rapidly and multiplied considerable nearly by 17,000%  [[21]].

Rutledge’s (2013) in her blog addresses the selfie as one of two extremes, “#Selfies: Narcissism or Self-Exploration?” (2013). Whereas Moreau (2014) put forward  as a trend among many across the world with web-based social networking sites turning as a valuable platform with features that caters to the need of people.

The culture and prominence of Selfie came into being in late 2012, according to “a brief history of the Selfie 2013”. Selflies today have become an effective form of self-expression, allowing political leaders to share emotions, express a state of mind like success, achievement joy or despair and enrich public image. Popularly regarded as an effective tool to capture and connect to the moment, the selfie today is both adored and reviled; yet it flourishes as one of the most effective outlets for self-definition.

As noted in a New York Times article on 19 October 2013, Wortham (2013) endeavored to exhibit a more liberal perspective of selfie culture, arranging it inside the setting of online networking and developing Internet-based innovations:

“But it’s far too simplistic to write off the selfie phenomenon. We are swiftly becoming accustomed to – and perhaps even starting to prefer – online conversations and interactions that revolve around images and photos”.  [[22]]

This paper aspires to present imminent current argument with reference to the relationship between popular political leaders and their use of technology and social media for self-representation. The popular Selfie propaganda that denotes build self-image by disseminating and share images.

Herman and Chomsky (1988) “In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” proposes “propaganda model” as a outline to evaluate and considerate the role of mainstream media in US and its functionality. [[23]]

It has been examine that the functioning of media is based on a set of dogmatic principals that to perilously is influenced by the elite class of the society, that take part in play a part largely in propaganda drives favoring only the privileged ones. In an endeavor to understand this concept, the fundamental factors clear through systematic patterns of behavior and performance of mainstream media. Because, the propaganda model challenges fundamental premises, suggesting the role of media being serve the elite and antidemocratic ends hence media bias more often than not is barred from mainstream debates. Such debates typically include conservatives, who criticize the media for immoderate liberalism and an opposed stance in the direction of government, corporate and liberals.

The avoidance of the purposeful publicity show viewpoint is significant, for one reason, since Bailey (1948) stated that the propaganda model’s exclusion of the perspective is notable, for one reason, that point of view of mainstream media is predictable with broadly stand with favoring the elite.

Walter Lippmann (1921) views the fact that the elite has always have the benefit and favoured by the mainstream media and regular influencer of well-known government.  [[24]]

Political scientist Ferguson (1996) challenges that the mainstream media, “controlled by large profit-maximizing investors do not encourage the dissemination of news and analyses that are likely to lead to popular indignation and, perhaps, government action hostile to the interests of all large investors, themselves included” [[25]].

The propaganda model clarifies the relationship of the ‘elite-mass gaps,’ and mainstream media’s hostility to its functionality. This mode of scrutiny and its denial to start a debate and open discussion are avoidable given that the gaps are thwarting. Lastly it implies that the media has its own concern and serves the interest of the elite.

Manufacturing Consent: Social Media and India Prime Minster Modi 

It is important to understand how mainstream and alternative media to follow Indian PM Narendra Modi’s propaganda agenda and going on to create and build a Global leader’s image.

Herman and Chomsky (1988) raising the issue and concern of the influence of mass media in ‘propaganda’ and ‘systemic biases’ explains how consent political, social, and economic strategies are contrived in the mind of the masses. The pursuance of advertising and media ownership promotes viable Propaganda Model (PM).

The PM offers a systematic structure that attempts to explain the performance of the media in terms of the basic institutional and operational structures. It puts forward that “business enterprising owning media houses by and large produce information and content with a purpose to serve to the interest and benefit of the elites. News agencies also serve these interests, not through direct Censorship, but through five filters (ownership, advertising, flak, sourcing and ideology) that exist within the institutional structure of private media organizations”. [[26]][[27]]

As highlighted by Zoya Hasan (2015) the media transformation is clearly evident across the media organization with changing media ownership structures turning it into big business enterprise with profit as the main objective.  Running media house by political parties, politicians and folks with political affiliations are redefining media’s role and responsibility in a big way. [[28]]

Thakurta (2016) draws the example of Indian media scenario that is subjugated business conglomerates that exercise considerable influence on media content.

“Media concentration is a serious problem across the world a specific issue in the new democracies is that a small number of companies now predominantly own the printed press. At the national level some of the press markets are highly concentrated. The Federation of European Journalists warns that with concentration comes increasing concern for the impact on media quality, pluralism and diversity”. [[29]]

Zoya (2014) elucidates the enthusiasm of the media to be influenced by the Modi propaganda without any logic and readily engorge to its depiction of his popularity and representation of his political objective.

  1. Noam Chomsky (1998) had coined the term “Manufacturing consent” with reference to media role in manufacturing organized loyal propaganda with strong intention of propaganda to train the masses to act and perceive information in a scrupulous way.  He puts forth five areas through which it is successful.
  2. Ownership by corporate;
  3. Advertising revenues;
  4. Influential  people as sources for content;
  5.  condemnation of undesirable criticism
  6. anti communism ideology [[30]]

With emergence of New Media, a part of this function of manufacturing consent has also been taken over by blogs associated with Social media. Face book blogs, Whatsapp groups, politically supported cyber media have also emerged as new centres for ‘manufacturing consent’ to serve an agenda. Political groups are increasingly using such spaces for creating consent in favour of certain ideologies, individuals and institutions. It is at this backdrop the usage of social networking platform for manufacturing consent by  PM Narendra Modi and his party needs to be examined and understood.

Madhav Dhar (2015) economic consultant is of the opinion that the “image of reality promoted on Social Media is not necessarily the true picture. Truth is not based on a hundred, or  a thousand or even ten thousand people saying something. Facebook groups and Twitter handles of political parties and the a big firms have thousands of followers. For them, pushing their agenda becomes a cake walk, as does drowning out dissident voices. Most of the times the real issues are not so simple as touted on Facebook or Twitter.” [[31]]

Again with reference to Propaganda model by Noam Chomsky’s (1998) [[32]] media possession  and influence by the corporates, stake holders decide its form, content and the nexus amidst them is a striking reality. The functional aspect of all social media reports are facilitated, maintained and updated by IT professional team or companies. Liking, trending, posting, sharing, commenting on issues and making it as an effective mass media message is a new strategy and facilitates propaganda having their own structure of filtering information and gate-keeping.

Navin (2015)  observed that after Narendra Modi took over as prime Minister a lot of Facebook blogs and websites emerged to perform the role of manufacturing consent. Some of these openly declare their allegiance to saffron ideology through Fanclubs. Such fan clubs exist in the name of the prime minister through groups such as ‘I support Narendra Modi’, ‘Narendra Modi fan club’, ‘Our PM Narendra Modi’.

Noam Chomsky’s filter can be applied and used to have a clear understanding played by Social and alternative media to create an image of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the propaganda. His selfie style and round the clock social media interaction and feedbacks have made him the most popular social media leader in the world.

Navin (2015) social media experts observation that various websites, blogs and interactive social media platforms came into existence its cadres role is to manufacture content by posting it and creating an environment favorable to the ideology of saffron brigade [[33]].

The social media is playing an active role in ‘manufacturing consent’ and creating a positive image of the political party and the leader with a biased view. The drastic flip and change in reporting and representing Prime Minister “Narendra Modi” and the opposition leader “Rahul Gandhi by media is a striking example of the shift and the ideological preference is very evident. The manufacturing consent and propaganda model is clearly evident and a reality.

The projection and criticism of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi by the mainstream media and the social media is a clear indication and a standing example of how media influences society and political party and the shift in representation and how media can manufacture consent.

In case of Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President the mainstream media and social media is totally biased and have projected him as an immature and naïve political leader. The Hindustan Times leading National daily report (2015) titled “Script goes wrong: Twitter jokes about Rahul’s speech sheet” reporting that the Congress leader became a laughing stock on social networking sites. Followed by a picture of the leader carrying a scrip and entering Indian Parliament,  in a fraction of seconds hash tag mocking at the leader went viral. [[34]]

In spite of being a technology savvy young congress leader  Rahul Gandhi does not have any much following on Social media. His facebook page only 6.7 Million likes and 28,462 People talking about this on Facebook.

Where as on official Twitter of Rahul Gandhi he has Tweets 2,333, Following 74 and Followers 1.04 Million and only 1 likes.

Kapil Verma (2014) comments on the Hilarious jokes, tweets and memes on Rahul Gandhi continue to circulate on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

Why is the Indian politician Rahul Gandhi referred to as Pappu in social media?

Pappu is common alias used for anyone dumb. Now why he’s dumb is not that difficult to explain with the leader visiting Nepal embassy during the aftermath of Nepal earthquake to express his condolences his picture with a script and note on papers went viral. Media crews with their cameras captured the picture and circulated making a mockery of hi. [[35]]

Picture courtesy: @iYashwant/Twitter)

The report criticized that Rahul Gandhi being a A Cambridge student cant writ his own condolence message in English. Rahul Gandhi is 45 ( still a “youth leader”) but his resume still blank?Other than being elected as an MP thrice from his family fiefdom and then going on to nap in the Parliament.

 Maheshwari (2015) [[36]] explains the word Pappu is a Hindi language word used to refer someone who is made up by mixing ingredients like 2 tablespoons of innocence, a full glass of dumbness, next to zero intelligence and also sometimes garnished with idiots.
And why Rahul Gandhi qualifies for the title –

  • Innocence – He doesn’t understand politics and he still joined it because may be his mother told him (“Mamma’s Boy”).
  • Dumbness – Few one liners of his – “Poverty is just a state of mind” & “Politics is in your shirts, and it is in your pants.”
  • Intelligence – RaGa has no relation with this term. His speeches show this and who can even forget his first in a famous interview on National TV with anchor Arnab Goswami where he was not able to defend himself or strike a chord with the audience. The interview made national headlines was widely watched on social media. After which the leader was highly criticized and scrutinized on Social media and proved to a silly interview, with no substance and content by the political leader. [[37]]

Chopra (2014)  [[38]] highlights the fact that there is a disconnection of the young leader on social networking platforms Social media and mentions the fact that Congress didn’t originally take to social media considering the fact that the vote bank is concentrated in rural India that did not have access to technology.

Picture collage of selfies of Rahul Gandhi during his political and public interaction 

Young Rahul Gandhi has not been able to connect to social  media because that is one space where he could directly connect with his people but he chose not to. Has Rahul Gandhi hurt himself and his image

Harini Calamur, (2014) [[39]] the digital officer at Zee Media Corporation, opines that “Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has lost an opportunity to engage to engage with the public in the new world order. If only the father of nation Mahatma Gandhi would have been living, chances are that he would have been active on social media and on Twitter”. Rahul Gandhi not only failed to take the lead from within his party, but also failed to notice the potential to develop a tactical icon as a youth leader.

Rajdeep (2013) [[40]] observation has been that normally across the world a young leader is always technologically enthusiastic and for a young leader in his 40’s like Rahul Gandhi should be the brand ambassador to new-fangled technologically empowered nation. In contrast to the fact that the Prime Minister of India in his 60’s leading the nation and the world with his efficacy that is admirable globally.


It is evident that the media manufactures and portrays the popularity of the leader. In current situation the mainstream media and Social media works in tandem complimenting each other in manufacturing consent.

The advent of new communication technologies and social networking platforms have been successfully fractured the dominance of corporate media houses to control information. A new ion. era of democratic media with interactive tools has shaped information and political communication. In case of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, all his social media activity is closely monitored and if necessary manipulated to send the message what the party, team or he wishes to. Through his propaganda he has been able to create an image of being a dynamic world leader who has a style of his own and always well connected to the media.

The hash tag and trolling on Prime Minister twitters reflect and influence opinions. For the Prime Minister and his party with his social media experts and team of supporters it is very easy to manufacture consent and curtail the any voice of dissent. The trend is seen across the mainstream media and social media.

It is duly noted and eminent that the influence of the propaganda and filters in media functions is obviously relevant mostly inside Indian content post globalization that has witnessed the corporatization of the big media houses in India.  Huge foreign investments have resulted in media houses seen as business ventures and profit making as the first objective and agenda.

The manufacturing consent and Propoganda Model are very relevant and  appropriate for explaining the phenomena and explaining the functioning and operating model of the privately owned  mainstream media and Social media to certain extend.



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[20] Carr, David. 2015. “Selfies on a Stick, and the Social-Content Challenge for the Media.” New York Times, January 4.

[21] Bennet, S (2014) A brief history of #selfie

[22]Wortham, Jenna. 2013. “My Selfie, Myself.” The New York Times, October 19.,

[23]Herman, Edward, and Chomsky, Noam (1988) Manufacturing Consent, New York: Pantheon Books.

[24] Lippmann, Walter (1921) Public Opinion, London: Allen and Unwin.


[26] Herman, Edward, “The Propaganda Model Revisited,” The Monthly Review, July 1996


[27] Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam (1998)  “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” Pantheon Books, New York


[29] European Federation of Journalists, European Media Ownership: Threats on the Landscape (Brussels 2002).

[30] Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam (1998)  “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” Pantheon Books, New York


[32] Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam (1998)  “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” Pantheon Books, New York






[38] Chopra, S. (2014) The Big Connect: Politics in the Age of Social Media, Random House, India

[39]Chopra, S. (2014) The Big Connect: Politics in the Age of Social Media, Random House, India



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