Masculinity: A semiotic and cultural exploration in India

Satyam Viswanathan
The Third Eye, India

Background and scope definition

A semiotic and cultural exploration necessitates the use of multiple lens in order to identify the diverse and often overlapping dimensions that lead to notions of masculinity in any culture – even more so in a culture as heterogeneous and ancient as India's.

This paper will tap into knowledge and expertise from a variety of fields ranging from history, to sociology, to popular culture, and religion (among others) to explain the evolution, over millennia, of notions of masculinity in India. The narrative flow of this paper has been designed to move chronologically through history, starting from antiquity, through to the Mughal and British periods of Indian history, right up to the socio-cultural context of post-independence-India and the present day, explaining at each stage how the mainstream definitions of masculinity in each era came to be, how their impact can be seen in the India of today, and concluding with clear implications for marketers today.