Viral video: Mobile media, riot and religious politics

Udupa, Sahana

This chapter carefully examines the protest scene on the Azad Maidan which turned into a "riot" on that fateful day of 2012 and its aftermath, to pry open questions of mediation that underlie religious imagining and political friction in South Asia, in times of rapid digital media growth. It draws upon ethnographic analysis of observations and interviews with police officers, cyber lawyers, Muslim organizations and rally protestors in Mumbai city in 2013 and 2014. Taking cues from Mustafa's vivid recounting and the imprints of new media that suffused the episode, the chapter explores mediation with two frames. First, the work of social media in reconfiguring trust as a feature of circulatory objects, and second, in close relation, how they enable the spread of affective energies around religious imagining and political claims beyond the national boundaries. The contextualizes the riot scene with a brief discussion on riots and religious politics in India.