AIR, the Heartthrob of Millions, in Need of a Hearing
Decades back, most people shared their moments of solitude with a faithful radio. Grey haired listeners can tell myriad tales of how the most dismal days and darkest nights were made bearable by the presence of a radio. So also, how many a rainbow evening and moonlit night were given an ethereal halo by the radio’s sprawling bouquets of love ballads and melodies. Kindling a million images in listeners, the radio gave wings to people’s tranquil thoughts, enhancing the happiness quotient of life even in the most mundane corners of existence.
 
Unlike television, radio was always an unobtrusive companion that never craved for attention but made the heart sing while drenching the sub-conscious with droplets of poetic wisdom. Apart from never curbing one’s freedom of movement, what made the radio a perfect companion of privacy was, that like fragrant air, it filled your constitution with a joie-de-vivre through its elaborate servings of aural delicacies! Its portability ensured it never forsook you in either an arid desert or a gigantic forest, providing an endearing and humane touch everywhere from a rural countryside to an urban metropolis and ocean beaches to sylvan mountains. In short, radio was a dependable partner that calmed the nerves while living within a person’s crafted imagination. 
 
 
There are millions like me who still prefer the radio to television for the simple reason that it is non-intrusive and does not hinder life’s numerous functions. Dissimilar to “big brother” television that kills curiosity and desire with its “factual presentations”, radio does not aid stagnation or exhaustion but rather improves the output of creative faculties and logical reasoning with its subtle stirrings of the sub-conscious. 
 
To most, radio is a cherished object of entertainment as it interacts with life without distracting from the strategic actions of day to day life. Though garrulous, motor mouth anchors and radio jockeys of FM Radio channels have certainly increased the cacophony of the air waves and added to the present day pollution, yet radio does not dwarf human senses like streaming platforms nowadays do. While television makes you immobile and dumb with its onslaught and surfeit of images and sounds, radio transacts its “business of entertainment” with remarkable ease without restricting or disturbing the equilibrium or life.  
 
 
 After the advent of television, internet and mobile streaming services, many had been predicting the death of radio. But astonishingly, it grew with greater vigour through the introduction of FM technology. Apart from improved clarity of signal, what has furthered the popularity of FM channels is not just its availability in transport vehicles but also on portable platforms like mobile and computers. The young age of high spending consumers, aided by a new generational change in language and presentation, has allowed the radio to make a dramatic impact on the national scenario. However, despite its immense popularity and coverage of Indian population, it is depressing that all our administrative dispensations have given a step-motherly treatment to All India Radio (AIR). 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have milked AIR’s reach for his “Mann Ki Baat” program, yet the systems and infrastructure of the government radio stations remain in such a pathetic state of despair and deprivation that they cannot compare with any national radio services of western nations. 
 
 
The PM understands the penetrative reach of the government’s radio service but does not understand how, like the telecom sector, government apathy is leading our national radio’s revenue and structure to doom. According to available information, AIR’s 470 broadcasting stations cover nearly 92% of the country’s geographical area whereby almost 99.19 percent of India’s population tunes in to AIR programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects. 
 
But what is diabolical is that despite huge amounts of mandatory advertising spend granted to AIR by the government institutions, AIR garnered a meagre Rs455 crore in FY 2016-17 (last available results in the public domain) whereas in contrast, Entertainment Network (India) Ltd, the operator of India’s No.1 FM radio channel Radio Mirchi has ended March  2019 with a gross revenue earning of Rs620.5 crore (with EBITDA of Rs139 crore) from just 38 stations!
 
 
This lone comparison is enough to prove that that decision making in the hands of the bureaucracy is leading to mismanagement of technical issues. Lethargy and lack of innovation are key factors for the dismal state and a small pointer is the fragmented manner in which AIR’s much loved service as well as chief cash cow Vividh Bharati (VBS) is being broadcast on different FM Channels in various regions, thus damaging its identity, credibility and retention in public memory. 
 
 
Instead of providing it a unique brand identity with a single recognisable frequency in the entire country that it deserved in view of its exalted and reverend status, VBS has been pilloried even though its presentation and programming are far superior to any private radio station in the country. 
 
AIR's efficiency is being compromised with low range transmitters in most regions, lack of latest technology as well as placing huge restrictions on deployment of talented and skilled people. This leads to sloppy programming as well as rotting of huge invaluable archives of historical recordings.
 
 
Recently, government announced plans to spend around Rs 850 crore to improve the infrastructure and programming content of Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR). While this is a welcome step, if the national radio service is to compete with private radio stations, the quantum is to be used with diligence. 
 
Unless there is a concerted effort to improve by the government as well as AIR employees, such expenses would lead nowhere. It may well be mentioned that according to the 2018 FICCI-EY report on media and entertainment, around 60% of the radio segment revenues are generated only by the Top Ten Indian Cities. 
 
If policy planners do not take corrective actions immediately, not just an immense unchartered territory may also go the private way but it may cart another important public sector institution to the funeral pyre.
 
(Deepak Mahaan is a well-known Documentary Film Maker, Writer and Commentator)
 
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    COMMENTS

    kashyap joshipura

    2 months ago

    Very good article by Mr.Deepak Mahaan on AIR DDK.I am regular user of AIR since almost 50 years. The observations described by Mr.Mahaan in article are very correct. I understand that AIR is having deputation staff from BSNL.What telecommunications officials will contribute at AIR? I can give some examples of AIR Ahmedabad(. (1) Almost everyday 1700 hrs Hindi news overlapped…due to non-availability of proper cloak in duty room!!!!(2)AIR Vividh Bharati always broadcast outdated advertisements ,instead removing that CD from the AIR they play that OUTDATED CD(3)Announcer play previous days recorded programme of Ujale Unki Yodoun …….(June 7 2019) half programme of Noorjahan and half programme of Shyana……..No Link even for half an hr programme??????AIR is not having its proper link with its HQ on news,Hindi news gives different version and Gujarati News provide entirely different translations????Government should investigate the working of AIR staff with the recorded version available in the studios.

    Vydehi

    3 months ago

    I agree with you Deepak Sir. Radio is better than TV anytime. The only private radio station that comes closest to Vividh Bharathi is Shripad Radio, Pune. Though I was born and brought up in Chennai, after my marriage I had to spend a few years in the North. Since I had Hindi as a 3rd language in school, I could easily relate to Hindi films. After my marriage, radio was my constant companion when my husband Ramamirtham often returned home late due to work pressure. The joy of listening to old Hindi songs in the night lying on your couch and a cold breeze from the windows soothing your nerves cannot be described in words. We live in a palatial flat in Chennai and so I have my own space. When my children are busy doing their home work, I enjoy listening to music after a hard day's work in the household.

    Revisiting MMKR (1990) - A Comedy That Continues to be Hailed as a Classic
    Crazy Mohan’s writing for Michael Madana Kama Rajan (MMKR) is still talked about even though it is 29 years since the film was released. The film had an ensemble cast and was a super duper hit at the box office.  As expected, Kamal Haasan cocked a snook at Tamil Brahmins (Tam Brahm) showing an elderly Brahmin woman stealing things. This is one reason why Haasan lost his popularity among Tam Brahms.
     
    Haasan’s multiple marriages and many affairs apart, his strained relations with his brothers and his behaviour may have distanced him from Tam Brahm audiences.
     
    Heroines were scared of acting with Kamal Haasan because of his penchant for planting kisses on his heroine’s lips. The only actress who successfully managed to evade Haasan’s manic kiss-on-the-lips overtures was veteran actress Revathi Nair. How she managed this feat continues to be a mystery even now.  
     
    Haasan would proudly call himself an atheist but portray characters in films who were pious and visited temples (a case in point, Mahanadhi, 1994). After Nayagan (1989), Haasan never acted again with Mani Rathnam due to ego problems.  Kamal may have gelled with Crazy Mohan because Mohan was forgiving of his creative interferences.
     
    MMKR is about a series of accidental encounters that reunite quadruplets who are separated at birth. A killer hired by their father’s evil brother takes pity on the new-borns and drops them here and there.
     
    Michael is a crook. Madan returns to his own father becoming the scion of a huge empire. Kameshwaran is adopted by a cook and becomes a cook. Raju becomes a fire fighter. Kamal Haasan played all the four roles with aplomb. Some of the jokes did not go down well with a section of the audience. Creating caricatures of Tamil Brahmins was a favourite pastime of K Balachander, K Bhagyaraj and Kamal Haasan.  In MMKR, Kamal Haasan as Kameshwaran spoke in the Palghat Tamil dialect, drawing a few laughs.
     
    A buxom Khushboo, an even more buxom Komal Mahuvakar and a plump Urvashi added to the glamour quotient in MMKR. Malayalam actress Jayabharati made a comeback to Tamil films and played Kamal’s mother.  Of course, one cannot imagine MMKR without Haasan and Crazy Mohan. Praveen Kumar who played “Bheem” in Mahabharata had a cameo in MMKR and the scenes where Kamal Haasan keeps calling him “Bheem Boy” are outrageously hilarious. Nagesh, Delhi Ganesh, Manorama and Naasar lent good support to MMKR.
     
    MMKR was directed by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao who also directed the Kamal Haasan – Amala – Tinnu Anand starrer Pushpak that was an experimental film without any dialogues. In MMKR, Kamal Haasan sang the erotic “Sundari Neeyum” along with Urvashi with singer S Janaki doing the playback for the latter.
     
    The climax scene that had a house hanging from the cliff was copied from the 1925 American film The Gold Rush. Eighteen years later, this climax was copied in the Bollywood super hit Welcome that starred Akshay Kumar, Mallika Sherawat, Katrina Kaif, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor and Paresh Rawal with a memorable cameo by Feroze Khan. 
     
    The exterior portion was shot in Coonoor and the interior of the house was shot in studio, in a hydraulic set.
     
    All of 29 years after its first theatrical release MMKR still remains a delectable watch.
     
    (After working in the corporate world for close to two decades, Bhagyalakshmi Seshachalam started her second career innings as a head-hunter. She is passionate about Hindi movies and loves retro music. When her family shifted to Chennai in the 80s, Bhagya had a taste of Tamil cinema too. In the long term, she plans a book on two of her favourite directors – Guru Dutt and K Balachander. She travels across the country on work and is based in Mysore.)
     
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    COMMENTS

    Harinee Mosur

    4 weeks ago

    Frankly the Tambram comedy was spot on and I was not offended.Its more annoying when in the name of comedy ,comedians dole out advise to communities (Vivek in Saamy) or dont do even basic research like a Iyer will never wear a namam(Aruvi and many others) its insulting. And going out of the way to cast the villian as a Tambram just to vent your bias and prejudice(Viswaroopam 2) should be discouraged.

    Vydehi

    3 months ago

    The one reason why people like Balachander and Kamal Haasan took advantage of Brahmins is because they felt that Brahmins were spineless creatures. Bhagyaraj showed a Brahmin girl marrying the son of a barber. Ironically, Balachander's last days were miserable and his house was auctioned. Bhagyaraj's life is not great either - money ran out after his last films flopped; his wife has to work now; his daughter attempted suicide and till now remains unmarried. So retribution has to happen somewhere.
    The film was just an average success. I recall I watched it in Krishnaveni theatre. I had just finished my graduation and was preparing for BEd. After living all my life in Chennai, I am fed up with the way Brahmanas are treated in Tamil Nadu. Today if Chennai is suffering from water crisis, it is because of all the sins committed by people.

    Should You Have a Living Will Made? Here’s how
    In a landmark judgement in March last year, the Supreme Court had recognised that a terminally ill patient or a person in a persistent vegetative state has the right to die with dignity. But in order to do so, the person will have to execute what is known as a ‘Living Will’.
     
    Despite the name, a ‘living will’ is not at all like the wills that people use to bequeath property after their death. In fact, quite in contrast to a normal will, a Living Will has no power after death. It is essentially a document that sets out a patient’s wishes on how they want to be treated if they are seriously ill and become unable to communicate their decisions. 
     
    Doctors often refer to a Living Will as an ‘advance directive’. Such a document becomes important to a person when their life reaches a point at which attempts to unnecessarily prolong it may only compromise dignity and quality of life. 
     
    A Living Will respects the patient’s human rights and in particular their right to reject medical treatment. Even medical professionals benefit from having a Living Will, as it assists them in making difficult decisions with regards to their patient’s healthcare. Such a document also helps to take away the burden of making difficult decisions from family, friends and loved ones.
     
    Although not officially categorised as such, there are six different types of Living Wills to consider. A document that instructs the concerned physician and family members that life prolonging treatments should not be used, thus allowing the person to die naturally, is known as a ‘Living Will Declaration’. 
     
    In contrast a document that is the complete opposite of a Living Will, such that it allows the concerned person to ensure that all life-prolonging medical treatments are used to extend life, is called a ‘Life-Prolonging Procedures Declaration’. 
     
    There is also a ‘Psychiatric Advance Directive’ that is written to direct the doctors in the treatment of incapacitating mental illness. 
     
    Furthermore, patients can also direct healthcare providers not to resuscitate in case of cardiac arrest, with a ‘Do Not Resuscitate Declaration and Order’. 
     
    The doctor can also issue an advance directive to indicate the regimen to be followed for a chronically ill patient, so that wherever the patient goes their treatment is not interrupted or changed; this is known as a ‘Physician Order for Scope of Treatment (POST)’. 
     
    A document registering a person for organ and tissue donation, is also another type of Living Will. 
     
    In all the above cases and wherever a Living Will is used, there has to be a medical power of attorney. This is to ensure that an individual is nominated by the patient to make certain that their wishes about health are carried out as per directions. The legal term for such an individual is ‘Attorney-in-Fact’. 
     
    The attorney-in-fact does not have to be a lawyer and it can be any adult the patient trusts. Such an individual is granted the power to act for the person only in the ways clearly listed out in the document. More importantly, the person given the medical power of attorney is not required to accept the responsibility of the outcome. 
     
    The document registering the attorney-in-fact should contain the name of the adult chosen, a list of situations in which the attorney-in-fact needs the power to act, a list of the powers granted and a list of powers that are not granted. 
     
    A Living Will is an important legal document that has to be prepared in the right way. Although the use of a Living Will is a new concept in India, there are forms available at some hospitals that help you in drafting such a will. If such a form is not readily available, you can still draft a similar directive yourself. (At the bottom of this article is a sample form that you can use and modify as per your requirements.) 
     
    Ensure that there are two eyewitnesses, who shall be required to sign the living will document. A doctor’s certificate is also required to ensure the authenticity of a Living Will, as it would help testify to the fact that the concerned person was of sound mind and capable of making their own decisions at the time of drafting the document. In order to make the Living Will a legally binding document, it should be prepared in the presence of a lawyer and all documents should be appropriately notarised. 
     
    Once a Living Will document has been officially prepared, it can only be cancelled orally, in writing or by destruction of the declaration by the concerned patient themselves. The cancellation takes effect only when the concerned physician or hospital is informed of the same. 
     
    But as the concept is fairly new in India, it still remains to be seen how effective it shall be. Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction to end the pain and suffering of terminally ill patients. 
     
    (Dr Rekha Bhatkhande is a noted gastroenterologist and former Dean of Sushrusha Hospital, Mumbai)
     
    A Sample of a Living Will (we can draw up our own wills as per our requirement or wishes)
     
    Advance Medical Directive (LIVING WILL) and Medical Power of Attorney
    This declaration is made by me:
     
    Name:
    Date of Birth:
    Aadhaar no.
    Full Address:
    Date:
    At (place):
     
    I am an adult of sound mind and am making the Declaration of my own free will, voluntarily and after careful consideration.
    If the time comes that I can no longer take part in the decision making about my medical treatment, this Declaration will comprise the final expression of my wishes. It is requested that all concerned should take these wishes into account before taking any medical decision regarding my life. If at any time:
     
    • I reach the stage of terminal illness and I lapse into a coma with no reasonable expectation of regaining consciousness or

     

    • I have a diseased state from which I have no reasonable chances of recovering with any acceptable quality of life or

     

    • I reach a persistent vegetative state from which I have no reasonable expectation of regaining any significant cognitive functioning
     
    Then the following steps must be taken.
     
    I request a panel of three very senior doctors not related to my medical treatment be appointed by the hospital to check out if my case falls in any one/all of the above states, once this is confirmed then I should be deemed to have declined any of the chosen life-sustaining measures listed below, and if any such treatment has been started it may be withdrawn:
         
    •  Multiple Blood Transfusions
    •  Artificial feeding by intravenous route or nasogastric tube, gastrostomy, or nasojejunal tube.
    •  Dialysis
    •  Artificial Respiration (tracheotomy, ventilator support)
    •  Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (DC shock, Cardiac Pacemaker, Ventilator)
    •  Chemotherapy
    •   Very high risk, last ditch surgical procedures
     
    Other wishes: (written by hand)
     
    I request that this Declaration be honoured by my family members and the hospital administration and doctors as a final expression of my legal right to refuse medical and surgical treatment accepting the consequences of such a refusal.
     
    This document may be informed to my regular physician, Dr.______________________________
     
    And to the Hospital_______________________________________________________________
     
    A Medical Power of Attorney
     
    This should be given to my Surrogate Decision Maker or Attorney in Fact to implement my Declaration from time to time on my behalf.
     
    He/ she/they have consented to take this responsibility. My Attorney in Fact should be allowed access to all my medical files and treatment options to be able to take decisions on my behalf even if contrary views are expressed by others.
     
    Name:
    Date of Birth:
    Aadhaar no.
    Full Address:
    Tel no:
    Email address:
     
    If the above mentioned person is not available then next two persons may be approached in the same order as listed
     
    Name:
    Date of Birth:
    Aadhaar no.
    Full Address:
    Tel. No.
    Email address
     
    Name:
    Date of Birth:
    Aadhaar no.
    Full Address:
    Tel.no.
    Email address
     
    In the absence of all of the above authorized attorneys-in-fact, a member of my family or the hospital itself will have the authority to express the wishes on my behalf regarding my current treatment.
     
    I submit that this Declaration and the Medical Power of Attorney shall remain in force during my lifetime and unless I revoke it at any time and until the notice of its revocation has been received by my Attorneys, and the Hospital.
     
    I am fully competent to understand the Declaration and Medical Power of Attorney I have made, and I understand the importance of it.
     
    SIGNATURE:
    NAME OF SIGNATORY:
     
    DATE:
    PLACE:
      
    Eye-Witnesses
     
    I have signed this document in front of Witnesses who are required by law to validate this document containing the Declaration and the Medical Power of Attorney. I believe them to be competent enough to witness this procedure and sign on the document.
     
    WITNESS SIGNATURE:
    NAME:
    AADHAR NO:
    ADDRESS:
     
    DATE:
    PLACE
     
     
    WITNESS SIGNATURE:
    NAME:
    AADHAR NO:
    ADDRESS:
     
    DATE
    PLACE
     
     
    SIGNED IN MY PRESENCE
     
     
    APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY 
    (Lawyer, Notary)
     
     
     STAMP
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