#gurumedia is a blog and virtual exhibition showcasing the research of the project Gurus, Anti-gurus and Media in North India supported by the Leverhulme Trust (2019-2022). It is an interdisciplinary project which deploys a range of religious studies, media studies and anthropological skills in order to understand the unrecognised ways that visual media have become a site of intense interaction between gurus and the anti-superstition movement in India. Its central objective is to understand how these frequent antagonists employ audio-visual techniques to both extend their influence and counter one another, and to produce new insights that can enhance existing interpretations of the relationship between religion and media.
The images in the exhibition are gathered from diverse media sources – printed calendars, booklets, periodicals, social media sites and WhatsApp groups. The mass popularity of gurus in contemporary religiosity is reflected in the everyday practices of devotees, from exchanging good morning messages on WhatsApp to online interactions in other social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. Similarly, Indian gurus are innovatively engaging with both ‘new’ and ‘old’ forms of media as a means of extending their auras and attracting new devotees. This blog and the images in the exhibition represent gurus within media and how they present themselves through various channels of mediations.