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Hackernoon logoDoordarshan (DD) & its Impact on India's Collective Consciousness of 90s by@kishv

Doordarshan (DD) & its Impact on India's Collective Consciousness of 90s

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@kishvKishore V

Life long student of technology. Heads pre-sales & Product Management at an IOT Startup for a living

With the lockdown in place here in India, to prevent the community spread of COVID-19, most of us have been home bound trying to get work done and also spend some quality time with our families. In addition to this, I m sure most of them are taking this as an opportunity to pickup new skills through various online courses. My only request to my readers is to stay home to stay safe, be focused on what you do and the task at hand and not get stressed about the fact that you are not able to get out.

Prasar Bharathi (PB), India's largest public broadcasting agency, came up with an awesome idea of replaying some of their iconic shows from the like Ramayana, Shaktimaan, Mahabharata etc,. Some of these shows have so much of nostalgia associated with it that most the folks born in that era fondly remember it as "those days". One of the best part of these shows were amazing story telling though from a technical aspects of film-making these shows were pathetic. Through this article I just wanted to relive some of that nostalgia and also give a glimpse of the world before the cable tv revolution shook India in the 90s.

Some of the facts to be considered about TV in India before the cable TV revolution of 90s:

  • TV broadcasts started in India in early 60s with most of the programming in black & white for a few hours a day
  • Doordarshan, a national TV network was established in the late 70s to increase the penetration of TVs in India. "National Programme" was fed to other TV stations from New Delhi
  • Indian Govt. introduced color television broadcasts in 1982 with the Asian Games Delhi edition
  • With this came a lot shows and programmes in the 1980s which became a national favourite (some of which have done multiple re-runs)
  • The TV penetration in 1987 when Ramayana was aired for the first time was just 14 million households as against 118 million households (1981 census)

Keeping the above in mind, let now recount some of my earliest memories how TV was watched in India:

  • TV broadcasts used to start with the famous Doordarshan music
  • TV programming never used to be for 24 hours. Most of the last programming used to end by 11PM or 12AM midnight to start at 5AM next morning
  • TV watching used to be a community affair, where folks who couldn't afford to buy a TV would sit at their neighbour's house either to watch a specific programme or a cricket match when they were watching
  • Village panchayats used to have TVs and they used to play it at the village centre during specific hours for the villagers to watch certain programmes related to farming, news and current affairs etc.
  • Mythological programmes like Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. used to be blockbuster shows as the story telling was brilliant. In some semi-urban locations, people used to perform "pooja" (Vedic rituals) of the TV sets whenever the "Gods" used to appear
  • When these popular programmes or sporting events used to run on TV, the roads would become empty as most of them would be glued to their TVs either at their homes with their neighbours or would be sitting at their neighbour's

Watching TV during the 1980's used to be like festival where people used to watch these programmes together and enjoy it as against the current generation where TV programming is available everywhere on every type of device.

Hope people from my generation who are reading this blog are able to relate to some of the things that I had mentioned. Also if you remember any of those significant events do let me know.

Thanks for reading.

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