Doordarshan Television in Tamilnadu

Hindi on Chennai Television

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2004 (ID. 2004-11-02)
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OUTLINE

Abbreviations

1. Unpleasant Surprises

2. Arrogance of Hindian Power

3. Cable Television and Direct-to-Home Television

4. Concluding Remarks

ABBREVIATIONS

AIADMK - All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

1. Unpleasant Surprises

Television viewers in Chennai and vicinity had a rude surprise in late 2003. When they turned on their television sets to the Indian-Government operated Chennai regional Doordarshan channel (DD1) at 8:30 PM for the day's news in Tamil, there was someone reading the news in Hindi. Lo and behold the Hindian dominated Indian Government had decided that Hindi news should be broadcast at the choice hour of 8:30 PM and Tamil news should be moved to a later time in the night when many people have already gone to sleep. This makes no sense since this regional channel is seen only in Tamil Nadu where almost everyone knows Tamil and very few know Hindi. This is yet another testimony as to who rules India. It is Hindian politicians who are determined to thrust Hindi on non-Hindi peoples. (Hindians - People whose mother tongue is Hindi.)

Chennai television viewers had yet another unpleasant surprise. When they turned on their Chennai regional channel (DD1) on Friday night to watch a Tamil movie and relax, there was a Hindi movie, although Tamil movie broadcasts are huge hits (popular) in Tamilnadu. Vast majority of  viewers could not understand Hindi. Disappointed viewers hoped that they could catch a Tamil movie at least the next day (Saturday). After dinner they turn on to the regional channel (DD1) for the usual Tamil movie broadcast. To their utter dismay there was a Hindi movie again. What happened? Hindian dominated Indian Government had instructed the regional television center in Chennai to replace the Friday night and Saturday night Tamil movies with Hindi movies, leaving only Sunday nights for Tamil movies.

2. Arrogance of Hindian Power

Remember, in addition to the few regional channels, there are over a dozen Indian-Government operated national channels (national broadcasts) seen all over India that are exclusively for Hindi or Hindi and English programmes. When regional channels were introduced (which could be seen in major cities and nearby areas only), people thought that at least in these channels local languages would dominate the programs. That was not to be. Hindian politicians made sure that Hindi programmes were also included in substantial numbers in these channels. We do not see the logic of why Hindi programmes should be included in a regional channel in Chennai which serves Tamil speakers, when there are already over a dozen national channels available in Tamil Nadu which show Hindi programs day and night, seven days a week (National channels do not have Tamil programs). This is nothing but arrogance and display of power by Hindi politicians to demonstrate it is THEIR country and Hindi will dominate in everything the Indian Government does.

One more point. Take a village in West Bengal (India) near the border of Bangladesh. If they turn on their television sets to Indian-Government operated television channels, they would not find anything in their mother tongue Bengali. However if they turn on to Bangladesh television they could watch a whole array of programs in Bengali.

3. Cable Television and Direct-to-Home Television

There are people who say that Tamil Nadu has Tamil programs in cable television channels; so why are you complaining about lack of Tamil programs on broadcast television (over-the-air television)? Cable channels cost money (monthly fees). Poorer segments of the population cannot afford the monthly cable fees. Also, cable television channels are not available in many rural areas. While Hindi speakers can get at least a dozen free Hindi programs (movies, sports, news, educational) any time of the day anywhere in India (even in remote areas), even outside the Hindi speaking states FOR FREE, why should Tamil people have to pay for cable television to watch Tamil programs in Tamil Nadu? Indian-Government operated television (Doordarshan) is subsidized by Tamil people's tax monies too.

Direct-to-Home (DTH) television through satellites will be available in India starting from 2004 or 2005. A few Tamil channels and Hindi channels will be available in Tamil Nadu through DTH. Though it does require a monthly fee, one has to buy the necessary satellite dish. Again, Tamil Nadu will receive far more Hindi programs than Tamil programs through DTH. Why? What is the reason?

4. Concluding Remarks

Our position is that there should be a variety of Tamil programs (movies, sports, news, educational) available in Tamil Nadu for FREE from Indian-Government operated television broadcasting. When we see that a Hindi speaker living in Tamil Nadu has substantially more choice of Hindi programs than Tamil; that is Hindi imperialism. If India is for everyone living in India, then Indian Government funded projects should benefit everyone equally and should not disproportionately favor on group (here, Hindi speakers). In every sphere whether it is Indian Government grants and loans to states [Reference 1, 2, 3] or Indian government employment policies [Reference 4, 5] or movie production [Reference 6] or television broadcasting, Indian Government favours Hindi speakers and the Hindi heartland over and above others. This is the state of affairs and it is unfair.

NOTE: If sufficient pressure is brought on the Indian Government, it may relent and add a few more programs in Tamil in the regional channel. But when things cool down, it will start replacing Tamil programs by Hindi programs again. We have precedent to it. In the mid-1980s, Indian Government replaced the Tamil news by Hindi news at night and moved the Tamil news to a later time in the Chennai regional channel. The then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran phoned the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and told him that it was not acceptable and there would be grave consequences. His AIADMK party and other groups talked of an anti-Hindi agitation. Consequently Tamil news was put back in its original time slot. Then a few years later the Indian Government again replaced the Tamil news by Hindi news and moved Tamil news to a later time. Number of hours of Hindi programs was also increased as if in retaliation. That is the Indian Government tactic; back off and hit back later; not only with respect to Hindi on television, but also on other discriminatory practices favoring Hindi speakers. So be ever vigilant! 

REFERENCES

1. Indian Economy and Finances: A Case Study of Economic Favouritism to Hindi States (by P. Ramamurthy and Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2002 (18 KB)

2. Tamilnadu Sugarcane Growers get a Bitter Pill from India (by C. Arunachalam), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2004 (7 KB)

3. Archived articles on Economic Discrimination of Tamil Nadu by Indian Government (OR Search the internet with the following key words: economic discrimination Tamil Nadu India )

4. How India's Official Language Policy is Hurting Non-Hindi Peoples (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2003 (21 KB)

5. Hindi in Southern Railways (by AT), TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2004 (8 KB)

6.Hindi Movies and the Indian Government (by P. Kumaresan), TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 2000

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