by Aman Sharma
Positivity has started to rule, and the earlier inhibitions, the negative clouds of doubts, and justification of my move toward this fellowship are becoming clear. A few days back I had an opportunity to understand and begin the main work of my fellowship. A studio in a radio station at the foothills of the Aravallis in Haryana, housed in a community center in village Ghaghas, is a place where people talk and let the community talk, make others listen to their voice through community radio and try hard to bring a change within the community. And there I was, about to take my first step inside and trying to understand the focus of this fellowship. Many questions crossed my mind; will I be the one who might inspire a few? Or will I be able to bring some change? I went ahead to find answers to those questions.
People handling the studio were very respectful and welcoming, looking at such warmth to a stranger; then a part of me started to doubt their intent. To put aside the anxiety and stress, I gulped down several mugs of water and sought relief.
Later on, my mentor introduced me to all the studio members and therefore, past the introduction, I achieved one of the crucial experiences of my life, which made me a little confused about my destiny, but surely brought me a step closer to discovering it.
Some Studio Experiences
First time LIVE: Till now, I had done two live programs. The first one was on the occasion of International Youth Day in which we discussed various problems faced by the youth of Mewat related to education, employment, drug addiction, etc. We also took some phone calls from the community in which citizens shared their views about how the youth of Mewat is attracted toward crime because of their unemployment. They asked some interesting questions like the importance of education, and if parents are uneducated then how they can inspire or provide good education to their children? And why don’t today’s youth want to pursue the agriculture sector, their traditional occupation? Through the medium of radio, we heard some of the most critical issues faced by the youth of the nation.
The second program was kind of fun activity in which “हिन्दी दिवस” was celebrated in order to promote the Hindi language. We played a telephonic quiz with the listeners and asked the Hindi meanings of some very common words such as cycle, cricket, matchbox, etc. We took it upon ourselves to speak in Hindi only, and if anyone violated the rule, that person was penalized by singing a song or poem. We had a huge response from the community that I enjoyed a lot. It was a very different experience from the previous one.
- Post Production: This is one of the most important and sensitive parts of the whole process of broadcasting pre-recorded programs. We have to be very conscious about the pre-recorded content and additional content, like background music, must not harm the sentiments of listeners or their language. We also had to keep in mind the rules and regulations from the government regarding the content as it is expected to produce at least 50 percent of programs locally, and as much as possible in the local language or dialect. News programs are banned on community radio in India, however advertisements for more than five minutes per hour are allowed, and there are some time-related rules.
- Research: Most of the primary research is done within the community but here we mainly focus on secondary research. Just before taking up any new program, I first tried to understand the culture of content development, how earlier programs were made with the community, the format of the programs, etc., and the team’s working style.
I am excited to work on a new radio program focused on the cultural heritage of Mewat. Mewat has a very interesting and a unique history. The historical structures have been damaged due to simple ignorance of the value of ancient remains. The community wants their history and heritage to have its rightful place and recognition. I am hopeful that the program will be able to achieve this vision.
(This blog has been written by Aman Sharma, an Ideosync UNESCO India fellow hosted with S M Sehgal Foundation in 2016-17.)