Semiotic Facet of Reconciliation: Politics of the Representation of Indo-Pak Relations in Google Ad


  • Malik Haqnawaz Danish Assistant Professor, Govt. Postgraduate College, Gojra.
  • Mehvish Riaz Associate Professor, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore



semiotics of reconciliation, Indo-Pak relations, triadic model, Ideology of hatred, politics of representation, Stereotypes


Visual representations regulate reform, construct, and subvert ideologies that affect lives, cultural images, credibility, and international relations, etc. The study diverts attention to the soft power of visual discourse in challenging stereotypes through nuanced semiotic representations of Pak-India relations, identities of Pakistani and Indian people, their willingness to reconcile, and the impact of reconciliation. The study points out that discourse has played role in promoting misconceptions, hostility, and divergence, and discourse can subvert the ideologies and promote reconciliation, stability, and convergence. Using the triadic model of sign consisting of icon, indexical, and symbol, suggested by Peirce (1931-58), combined with the Noldus software to study facial expressions, the study highlights the ‘politics of the representation’ (Hutcheon, 1989, 1991) of reconciliation and Indo-Pak relations in the Google advertisement of reunion (2013). While there is a paucity of the visual discourse of reconciliation between Pakistan and India, the Google ad semiotically represents the themes of memory, reconciliation, post-partition trauma and the wistfulness to stay together authentically, however, this representation has its politics because it conceals the bloodshed, struggle, loss, and violation of human rights spanning over 70 years in India, Pakistan, and especially Kashmir. Results of the NOLDUS Software are indicative of the national traumatic history of India and Pakistan that chronicles the debilitating past since partition. More constructive but authentic portrayals may help build bilateral relations.