Mediating Religious Literacy among Primary School children in Gujarat: Classroom as a Liminal Space
Journal of Media Literacy Education
Articulation of religious guidelines in the political milieu never takes place in a disembodied form; rather politically inscribed religious discourses are embedded within and conveyed through specific institutional channels, including media organizations and education institutions. My experiences of working as a media educator in villages in Gujarat have helped me understand how the learning of such discriminatory practices begin early as students use various linguistic and socio-cultural cues
... socio-cultural cues in order to make sense of the society. In this paper, I use critical media literacy as a way to redefine classroom as a liminal space and create conditions for emergence of an alterity. Critical media literacy (CML) can provide young students with the skills required to upend the dominant discourse of religious violence, to create new narratives from the interstices-from the in-between, and pendulate between the fixed identities subsumed in binaries such as self-other, victim-perpetrator, us-them, and most importantly Hindus-Muslims. In this paper, I attempt to answer two research questions. First, how is this dominant rationality of religious hatred perpetuated through media texts and the socialization process in schools? How does it influence the everyday experiences of young students in two villages in the Sanand tehsil of Ahmedabad district in Gujarat? Second, how can the classrooms be designed as spatial sites to encourage young students to counter their feelings of individualized prejudice and enact resistance? I illustrate how media educators can use CML to design classrooms as a liminal space and help students operate from the margins of the socialization they receive and thus be more open to different regimes of truth practiced in different religious communities.