Unravelling Ecologies of Hate: Virality and Stardom
H-POP: THE SECRETIVE WORLD OF HINDUTVA POP STARS by By Kunal Purohit HarperCollins, 2023, 306 pp., INR 499.00
July 2024, volume 48, No 7

In the first few pages of Kunal Purohit’s H-Pop: The Secretive World of Hindutva Pop Stars, Ramkesh, the father of one of the three protagonists shares a piece of information that locates the central concern of the book: ‘The song had gone viral on WhatsApp ji…Within hours the song spread so far and wide that we started getting videos of people lip-syncing to the song.’ A day before, Ramkesh, a Haryanvi musician, songwriter and popstar, had got his daughter Kavi Singh to sing the lyrics of a ‘nationalist’ number that channelled majoritarian hate and anger days after the Pulwama attack. It was an informal recording—Ramkesh’s friend (another Haryanvi singer) had written the lyrics in anger after the attack, and Ramkesh had set it to music. The audio recording was shared with a few friends.

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