Bangladesh TV, Radio Programmes Famous in India

While the people of India and listeners around the world eagerly enjoy tuning into Indian Television serials and radio programmes, the inhabitants of India-Bangladesh International Border areas enjoy Bangladeshi programmes, because the Bangladeshi television and radio transmission system is very powerful and easy to tune in. Indian villagers became addicted to Bangladeshi programmes between 1980 and 1991.

This is a kind of attack. An attack is not oriented by any military force, air force or naval force, but through the air, through television channels and radio stations. It is done very cleverly and very cautiously to mould the mind and win the hearts of the international bordering viewers, especially the Religious Muslim minority.

People in the boundary areas eagerly watch world-cup-matches through this Bangladeshi channel rather than Indian channels (including Indian Door Darshan Kendra, commonly known as : DDK), especially, matches between India and Pakistan or Bangladesh.

They do this with the help of high power antennas and boosters. Upon enquiry, one viewer said, “We are happy for the opportunity to enjoy international games and sports, famous television serials, songs, cinemas, programmes, et cetera through this Bangladeshi channel in our remote villages, which we can’t dream of with our Indian television and radio channels.”

The IBV viewer further said, “Bangladesh Television (BTV), which started black-and-white transmission on 25th December, 1964, as a pilot project in former East Bengal (popularly known as : Purbo Banga or Purbo Bangla, formerly East Pakistan), exhibits pictures of all kinds very clearly and vividly. In some villages, the people purchased new TV and Radio sets for the community hall, to enjoy various national and international programmes through BTV.

All of these are enjoyed free of cost. But, if we do it in our villages with the help of cable connection, we have to pay huge sum of money, while our International Border Village (IBV) peoples earn minimum Rs. 20 to maximum Rs. 60, per day, in this 21st century. Moreover, we can’t witness them as clearly as we do through Bangladesh channel. But, it has evil effect too,” revealed Mohor Ali, a villager of IBV at Vogdohar village, adjacent to the Indo-Bangla international boundary of Dhubri District of Northeast Indian state, Assam.

The most interesting fact is that the children and immature young generation, who often enjoy BTV, get acquainted with Bangladeshi order of life. As a result, they can easily and in some cases spontaneously tell the names of political heads of Bangladesh, when asked. But, in case of their own country, they can’t don’t know the leaders. Thus, BTV is indirectly creating a new class of citizens in Indian territory.

Further, the television serials, cinemas and programmes related to games and sports are staged and exhibited in a so simple manner and language that even, an illiterate village farmer can understand all their actors and actresses, what they say or want to say. They can more easily recite and recollect the names of the writers, actors and actresses of the serials, shows and programmes than they could of their own country.

This became clear, when I met Mr. Anwar Hussain, Saheb Ali, Muhammad Nurjamal Sheikh, Muhammad Aminul Islam and octogenarian Muhammad Abul Hussein Mian, who live adjacent to the India Bangladesh International Border. They’re almost illiterate, but can vividly illustrate all they see and enjoy from BTV.

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“We’re happy for we have opportunity to enjoy all sorts of attractive serials and sports and programmes through the BTV channel in our own ethnic dialect (Bangla or Bengali),” claimed one of the septuagenarian viewers, near the Bagmara-Garo Hills of Meghalaya, Northeast India.

Noorjahan Bibi, a peasant’s wife in her sixties, who lives in the West Bengal village of Purbadighatari, said laughing, “We’re still enjoying everything on BTV, and during the years, 1980-1990, we saw serials like Ei Shab Din Ratri, Dhakay Thaki, Nakkhotrer Raat, Ami Tumi Se, Shakal Sandhya and children’s programme – Esho Gaan Sikhi (famous BTV mega serials), and they offer us immense thrill and helped do away with monotony, when the Indian TV channel DDK and other cable tv was not launched.”

Supporting these facts, other viewers in the small border towns said, “Although DDK programmes and cable tv programmes are now available through Dish Tele Vision (DTV), it is not affordable for us except the rich people in our areas, but we and our children enjoyed at that period the serials like Cartoon Network – Spiderman, Batman and famous English TV mega serials, like Dallas, The A Team, Fall Guy, Invisible Man, Knight Rider, Ghost Story, Murder She Wrote, Tarzan, et cetera.”

“This happens due to the negligence of the Government of India and as a result, these IBV populaces living in the remote international border areas show their attachment to Bangladeshi way of life more than Indian mainland peoples. Lack of infrastructure facilities, good monitoring system, educational and cultural assimilation, et cetera are at the root of this detachment. Sometimes, ill feelings and ill dealings of Indian peoples help the Bangladeshi culture to turn them into renegades,” claimed observers of the India Bangladesh International Border areas.

The news and the secret information regarding the high powered transmission system of Bangladesh, which have set into motion to mould the minds of the India inhabitants now attracted towards their system of life, the Central Government of India takes an emergent step to set up new high powered television transmission systems in the international border areas, which touch the Eastern Indian States, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, West Bengal and Mizoram, in order to divert their attention to the Indian side. This is clear from the speech of the Indian Central minister tabled in Indian Parliamentary meetings.

Not only that, but recently, the Indian Prasar Bharati of DDK is planning to develop the infrastructure of both All India Radio (AIR) and Door Darshan (DD) to reach most of the areas of the India Bangladesh international border areas to counter anti-India Propaganda from across the international boundary.

The senior official, who was interacting with the media before formal launch of Hindi-English daily regional bulletins from AIR on 27th August, 2009, said, “Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Chinese Television Channels, with their strong transmission powers are available on the Indian side of the international border, while on the other hand, the Indian television channels, particularly DD, riding on weak and ageing infrastructure, are not available even within India in parts of those regions. The Government of India seems to have woken up to this lacunae at last and decided to spend hundreds of crores of rupees to augment the hardware in the high-power, medium-power and low-power transmitters along the Indian borders with the three countries, especially. Channels from across the international border often beam propagandist and anti India programming into Indian areas, while in many areas along the international border, public broadcaster DD’s signals are so weak that they are not available even within Indian areas to counter the same.”

“It is high time, to take the initiative in this regard, before the Indian peoples are motivated towards the foreign countries and the situation gets out of hand,” warned socio-political observers.

Shib Shankar Chatterjee is a former BBC, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Statesman & The Telegraph Contributor-cum-Correspondent from Northeast India, who specializes in investigations of important issues affecting the people of South Asia, specially, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan & Myanmar.