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All India Radio: 415 Stations, 23 Languages, 146 Dialects and counting

In 1936, the name All India Radio was coined and earlier it used to be referred as the Indian State Broadcasting Service

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Akashvani Bhavan, Kolkata. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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August 24, 2016: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday, August 23 launched the “Akashvani Maitree” Channel at a function organised at Raj Bhawan in Kolkata. The channel that was launched is a unique venture of All India Radio and is aimed at strengthening ties between India and Bangladesh.

Whole of Bangladesh and most of South East Asia will be covered through this channel. Apart from that, All India Radio has also come up with a multimedia website in Bangla airworldservice.org/bangla and it can be easily accessible through live streaming, text, and video. Apart from listeners in Bangladesh, it will also cater to Bengali Diaspora across the globe, reported IANS.

The progress of AIR reminds us of Walter Kaufmann, the man who composed the signature AIR tune in 1936. Walter was a Jewish refugee who found haven in India against the torture inflicted by Nazis on Jews. 1936 was also the year in which the name All India Radio coined, it used to be earlier referred as the Indian State Broadcasting Service. Since then the name was changed one more time to ‘Aakashwani’, which has been AIR’s official name since from 1956.

When India became Independent, it was in a dire need of a new language, a language that integrated the dialect of the people speaking different mother tongues. After all, India was a diverse nation that housed people of different communities speaking different languages. Ameen Sayani son of Kulsum Sayani, an 84-year-old woman who once played a significant role in the freedom movement, talks about the conversation she had with Mahatma Gandhi. “He said he wanted Hindustani — a blend of Hindi and Urdu, with no difficult words — to become the lingua franca of India. After Independence, it was a matter of pride to speak in Hindustani. More so, if you did it on AIR,” hence Hindustani was the language chosen.

Sayani was a veteran radio broadcaster and she joined in 1951. During her tenure, she tried popularizing songs from popular movies over Indian classical. This kind of music termed as ‘erotic and vulgar’ by then I&B minister who went ahead and put a ban on film music. It was then that Aruna Asaf Aliji came up to Sayani and said that she needed to do popular shows on AIR. When Sayani exclaimed that her hands were tied, Aruna spoke to Pt Nehru about this. Vividh Bharti, the commercial broadcast service of AIR, began in 1957 and Hindi film music returned to AIR.

All India Radio played a significant hand in promoting numerous arenas post-Indian Independence-

  • Most of the AIR audiences were people who were called the agrarian or the farmers. AIR was their only medium to promote agriculture since most of them were uneducated and lacked the skills to read or write. “We were talking directly to the farmers about modernisation, hybrid seeds etc. There were special agricultural advisory committees set up for the farmers. Which is why AIR played a big role in Green Revolution,” says F Sheheryar, director-general, All India Radio.
  • The chosen language, Hindustani was popularized through the radio. It had a definite influence on the language. This was the first mass medium and the nation began speaking like AIR. But also, there was some resistance from Tamil Nadu, who rejected Hindi in their schools and on radio,” says lyricist Swanand Kirkire.
  • Cricket owes its major chunk of popularity in India to AIR. Radio is where the cricket commentary started. “Initially, we wondered about the translation of cricket terms in Hindi. But the ball became ‘gend’ while googly remained, well, googly,” says BN Goel, former director of programme personnel, AIR.

Apart from that, PM Narendra Modi also appreciates the reach and importance of AIR. His periodic talk on the radio speaks volumes about his belief on how important is radio broadcasting as a medium.

– prepared by NewsGram team

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All You Need to Know About Jagadish Chandra Bose

Polymath, physicist, biologist, biophysicist, botanist, archaeologist and one of the most early writers of science fiction- yes, this is one man

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Bose is considered the father of Bengali science fiction. Wikimedia commons
Bose is considered the father of Bengali science fiction. Wikimedia Commons
  • Jagadish Chandra Bose developed instruments like Coherer and Crescograph.
  • He is the father of Bengali Science Fiction.
  • A crater on the moon has been named in his honour.

Polymath, physicist, biologist, biophysicist, botanist, archaeologist and one of the earliest writers of science fiction- yes, this is one man. A man, who, according to Sir Nevill Mott, was 60 years ahead of his time. He did not believe in commercializing his work, he used to make it public. When he could have earned lifetimes for his generations, Jagadish Chandra Bose chose a way which led to further research.

He is the man who pioneered radio research and also, made some of the most significant contributions to the field of plant science. Bose is credited for laying down the foundation of experimental science in India.

You may also like: Mangalyaan Mission: A huge leap into space

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose lived in British India’s Bengal Presidency. His father was Deputy Magistrate in Faridpur. Even though from a rich family, he attended vernacular schooling because his father believed that children should know their mother-tongue before any other language.

The father of Bengali science fiction. Wikimedia commons
The father of Bengali science fiction. Wikimedia Commons

Background

It was a time when sending children to English schools was an aristocratic status symbol, that Bose studied in a vernacular school. He used to sit with the Muslim son of his father’s attendant and the son of a fisherman. Even though his mother was an orthodox lady, she never practised discrimination. Bose never knew there existed a ‘problem’ (at that time) between Hindu and Muslim communities.

While speaking at the Bikrampur Conference in 1915, Bose said:

“They were my playmates. I listened spellbound to their stories of birds, animals and aquatic creatures. Perhaps these stories created in my mind a keen interest in investigating the workings of Nature.” 

He wanted to compete for the Indian Civil Services but his father told him “My son would rule nobody but himself.” Bose also attended the University of London where he studied medicine, though he had to come back due to illness.

Later, he graduated with a BA from Kolkata University. While he taught physics at Presidency College, he was simultaneously pursuing his own research in electricity and electromagnetic waves.

Work and research

Bose gave a demonstration of microwaves at Kolkata Town Hall, for the first time, in November 1984. He ignited gunpowder and rang a bell at a distance using microwaves.

Also read: How wheat production could increase three-fold

His instruments are still on display. Wikimedia commons
His instruments are still on display. Wikimedia Commons

‘Coherer’

He developed a device which could detect radio waves, it was called a ‘coherer’. The Englishman (18 January 1896) quoted from the Electrician and commented as follows:

“Should Professor Bose succeed in perfecting and patenting his ‘Coherer’, we may in time see the whole system of coast lighting throughout the navigable world revolutionised by a Bengali scientist working single handed in our Presidency College Laboratory.”

Bose was unwilling to patent the device as he believed that science should be for the benefits of all, and should not be used for money-making. Later he did submit a patent application, under pressure from his friends, to the US patent office. He became the first Indian to get a patent.

Radio waves made him believe that physics is far beyond what the naked eye can see. Bose was curious about the world of plants. Hence, he switched to investigating how plants respond to stimuli.

Crescograph

A crescograph is an oscillating recorder using clockwork gears and a smoked glass plate to measure the growth and movements of plants in increments as small as 1/100,000 of an inch. The plate caught the reflection of the plant and it was marked according to the movement of the plant. 

An image of a crescograph. Wikimedia commons
An image of a crescograph. Wikimedia Commons

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose had a strong belief that plants have a sensitive nervous system. This belief was strengthened by his experiments. He was also astounded when he discovered that an electric death spasm occurs in plants when they die, this could be resourceful in accurately calculating the time the time of their death.

He revealed the wonders of the world of plants when he described his experiments and their results in his paper “Responses in Living and Non-Living”.

The paper revealed that plants could feel pleasure and even pain.

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose’s place in history is prominent as ever. His work on microwaves has a major contribution to the development of radio communication. Instruments developed by him are on display and still can be used, after a century. A crater on the moon has been named after him.