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History of The Development of Television in India

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India saw major changes within the Colonial Rule and after, western education and ideas brought about various perspectives to look at the society in a newer light. The Indians were guided by the Western ideas which were a far-fetched result of the Enlightenment, which forked the liberation of the society from a theocentric one to an anthropocentric one. Humankind was given much more importance in comparison to the earlier belief that God was the central focus. People started thinking in a rational and sensible manner, which made the people much more interested in Reason. The Colonizers affected the minds of the Indians; they made the Indians aware of the material conditions of living. New ideas were thrown into the Indian society which changed it fundamentally; these ideas were the building blocks of the society and the theme behind these ideas were mostly Capitalism. How to understand this change has till now been one of the biggest questions. A society thereafter is characterized by economy and culture; all the debates sum down to these two characteristics of any society.

The eventual growth of the printing press gave rise to a new consciousness among the modern Indian people. It opened newer avenues of communication all throughout India. Newspapers were the first to emerge as a vehicle of modernization; slowly newspapers were being printed in regional languages of India. These newspapers were strictly monitored by the British, so that the news of their impropriety could not be revealed under any circumstances. In the latter half of the century writers openly started stating their nationalistic views and sentiments which made people much more concerned about the whole issue. But slowly people started to understand the ills of the British Rule and revolted against them, eventually driving them away from the country. Slowly and steadily thereafter modernization took its shape and India became what it is in the present time. The whole idea of mobilizing the Indian masses through writings roughly sketches the scheme of Popular Culture.

Some scholars also relate the rise of popular culture with the newly created Middle Class, and thereafter the meaning of popular culture got clubbed with mass culture, consumer culture, image culture and culture for mass consumption. According to Adorno and Horkheimer, culture industry is the main phenomenon of late Capitalism which encompasses all products of entertainment including Hollywood music to elevator music. Adorno specifically notes that the term “culture industry” was chosen over “mass culture” in order to make sure that it is not understood as something which spontaneously stems from the masses themselves. With its accessibility, art was no longer autonomous, rather a commodified product of the economic relations of production.

Television, since its inception has been one of the most significant media platforms in regard to all the other forms of media. Television set its foot in the 1950’s in India but gained momentum during the 1980’s it was then that Indian Television was brought under national jurisdiction. Indian television began as an experiment in education. “On 15 September 1959, the state-owned All India Radio (AIR) inaugurated a pilot TV station with the help of a UNESCO grant. This humble experiment, based in the capital city of New Delhi, was run with a 500-watt transmitter that had a diffusion rate of 25 kilometres. Thanks to this transmitter (obtained from Philips, the electronic giant, at a concessional rate)” (Karlekar, 1998), “AIR began broadcasting 45-minute programs on Tuesdays and Fridays to a small number of state-run schools in the Delhi administrative region. The aim was to mobilize the technology of television to supplement classroom-based instruction, particularly in the field of science (physics and chemistry) at middle and high school levels”.

The shows broadcasted then were educational provided lessons to the people on various issues starting from agriculture to middle school science to family planning. Since television was accessible to the general masses, the government used it to broadcast informal messages to the general people. Slowly cities like Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai had their own television centers. Doordarshan is a public broadcast channel which is run by Prasar Bharati, a board formed by the Indian Government. Doordarshan is now one of the biggest broadcasting networks in terms of infrastructure.

Initially all the content was all the more Government controlled and the audience had no choice but to see what they were made to see. The political and cultural elites were afraid about how the Indians would react to the Western content (since there were no mass production indigenous soaps). They were worried about the fact whether the purity of the Indians could be kept intact. But later on with the ultimate step of private television sets, brought TV sets to their homes or at least one in each locality.

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History Of The Development Of Television In India. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from
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