Window Seat: The Good Old Doordarshan

13/09/2020 at 7:00 AM

It began on 15 September 1959 from a makeshift studio in Delhi as an experiment in public service telecasting. Within two and half decades Doordarshan (DD) – literally, a glimpse of all afar, grew as the National Broadcaster of India.

The growth story is fascinating.

The experiment conducted in 1959 with twice weekly programme, became a service  The experiment became a service in 1965, when Doordarshan began beaming signals to reach television sets in living rooms in and around the country’s capital, New Delhi. By 1972, services were extended to Mumbai and Amritsar and then on, to seven other cities by 1975.

All this time, it was part of the national broadcaster, All India Radio. On April 1, 1976, it transited to become a separate Department in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, though still serviced by All India Radio, especially for its news.

Eighties was a turning point. Colour transmission started in 1982. Coverage of Delhi Asiadcatapaulted DD to the big league.

Since then, the organisation has grown to cover the length and breadth of the country, painstakingly caring for the interest of all linguistic, geographical and cultural groups and promoting social, cultural and educational development of the country though an array of transmitter networks equipped with studios and facilities to produce programmes even in regional languages.

In doing so, the country’s prime television service provider has also become the engine for celebration of its diversity and the iteration of its unity.

Over the years Doordarshan has grown into a network operating 34 satellite channels besides providing free-to-air DTH service having 104 in its bookings. Indeed, that single studio from its small departmental home in All India Radio has grown into 66 studio centers all over the country, including 17 major studio centers at State capitals and 49 other studio centers located in various cities.

Bharatendu Harishchandra at 170

Hindi literature lovers celebrated 170th birthday of BharatenduHarishchandra on 9 September.

Born in 1850 in Varanashi, Bharatendu (it was anhonourific bestowed on him by the Pundits of Kashi on 1880) is known as the father of Hindi literature as well as Hindi theatre. He is considered one of the greatest Hindi writers of modern India. He was also a journalist. He published “KavivachanSudha” in 1868. Bhartendu published another monthly magazine “HarishChandra Magazine” in 1873. It was quite popular.

Besides Hindi, contributions in Sanskrit and English were also published in it. Later on its name was changed from Harishchandra magazine to “Harish Chandra Chandrika” and then into “Nivedita”.Articles covering different subjects including history and science were also published in this magazine.

Bharatendu had an Odisha and Bengal connection at a young age. He went to the Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa with his family in 1865, when he was merely 15 years of age. During this trip he was influenced by the Bengal Renaissance and decided to bring the genres of social, historical, and Puranic plays and novels into Hindi.

This influence reflected in his Hindi translation of the Bengali drama Vidyasundar, three years later, in 1868. He started writing plays in Khadiboli, which became very popular and started a new genre in Hindi theatre.

He died young at an age of 34.


The current population of Earth is more than 7 Billion. Someone has produced this set of statistical report condensing the 7 billion in the world into 100 persons, and then into various percentage statistics. The resulting analysis is relatively much easier to comprehend.

Out of 100, 11 are in Europe, 5 are in North America, 9 are in South America, 15 are in Africa and 60 are in Asia.

49 live in the countryside and 51 live in cities. More people are living in cities than even before. In India too the number of people living in cities is steadily increasing.

Out of 100, 77 have their own houses and 23 have no place to live.

21 are over-nourished. 63 can eat full. 15 are under-nourished. One  ate the last meal, but did not make it to the next meal.

87 have clean drinking water. 13 either lack clean drinking water or have access to a water source that is polluted.

75 have mobile phones, 25 do not.30 have internet access.  70 do not have conditions to go online.

83 can read, 17 are illiterate.7 received university education, 93 did not attend college.

26 live less than 14 years. 66 died between 15 – 64 years of age

8 are over 65 years old.

If you have your own home, eat full meals and drink clean water, have a mobile phone, can surf the internet, and have gone to college, you have little reason to complain.

Amongst 100 persons in the world, only 8 can live or exceed the age of 65.

If you are over 65 years old, literate and are living in your own house, be content and grateful.  Cherish life, grasp the moment.

You did not leave this world before the age of 64 years like the 92 persons who have gone before you. You are already the blessed amongst mankind.

Tailpiece: Karma

Parents who bunked classes decades ago… now attending their kids’ online classes with (and in some cases, for) them.

Tailpiece 2: Me

I’ve become quite shapely during the lockdown- round in the middle, long in the face and obtuse in the head!!

(Part of a forwarded whatsapp joke; but fits me.)


Journalist turned media academician MrinalChatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, a Central Odisha town, writes fiction and translates Urdu and Hindi poetry into Odia.

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