Falling literary standards in radio and television in India

The Tribune Chandigar 4 July 2010

Letter to Editor

The article on All India Radio makes interesting reading (Perspective, June 27). There is a need to arrest a recent negative trend, especially in Hindi and Punjabi programmes. A significant fraction of radio audience does not know English. And yet, the announcers (or radio jockeys) have become so insular, insensitive and illiterate that they cannot speak a single sentence in Hindi without bringing in English words and phrases.

RJs of today cannot describe the contribution of popular music directors of yesteryears without resorting to snatches of English (trance, versatility, smoothness of voice, range). This is ironical because in his time the music director probably himself did not know English nor did the countless filmgoers who enjoyed his music then nor do his admirers today who have kept his memory alive.

Introduction of FM and DTH service has made listening to music on radio a pleasure, but must advances in technology be accompanied by fall in literary standards? An essential feature of Hindi and other languages is the assignation of gender to every noun which, in turn, determines the construction of the sentence. (Divali manayi gayi, but Divali ka tyohar manaya gaya.) And yet, AIR obviously does not test its RJs for their knowledge of the language. Nowhere in the world will you find radio and television announcers so ignorant of the language which is giving them employment, money and high profile.


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