Village Khuraja. A few kilometers from Jhabua. Time : 7 am. Unrest is growing among villagers. Reason? Their favourite community radio programme is not on air. Jhabua Public Relations Officer’s phone starts ringing repeatedly. She informs the callers that the broadcast time of the programme has been changed to 8 am now.
Shri Mahendra Goel, a teacher of Bhabhra Higher Secondary School is quite impressed by “Baat Patey Ki” programmed broadcast from this radio station. School student Nehal Jain is for incorporation of education-related information in the broadcast. After hearing the broadcast, Kalawati became so much overwhelmed by it that she brought a radio set from the market. Sales of radio dealer Mustafa have increased manifold. Abdul Razzaq’s happiness knew no bounds when he came to know of the life history of Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad through this radio.
The community radio started by Vanya, an undertaking of Tribal Welfare Department, was launched in the year 2011 at Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad’s birthplace Bhabhra on his birth anniversary. This is the first community radio station in Bhili dialect run and broadcast by the local tribal community. A community radio station was also launched at Khalwa in Khandwa district on the occasion of Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day in November. Broadcasts from this radio station are made in Korku dialect. There is a plan to set up a total of 110 community radio stations in tribal-dominant development blocks of the state.
One thing is common among the above-mentioned radio listeners that all of them are in favour of increasing the broadcast duration. At present, it is from 8 to 10 am and 6 to 8 pm.
Everyone is attached to their language or dialect. Howsoever educated one becomes or learns various languages, their mother tongue or dialect remains in the core of their heart. The biggest reason behind popularity is that its programmes are in their own and dialect and imbued in local culture. Besides, adequate footage is also given in such programmes to heroes of local communities like Tantya Bhil, Bhima Nayak, Shankar Shah, Raghunath Shah who are cult figures of tribals. At the same time, these programmes are also connected with local people’s oge-old traditions, rituals, festivals, fairs and their multi-hued folk life.
Under “Badhate Kadam” programme broadcast from this centre, radio serials and radio dramas prepared by local artistes are aired. Brief public-interest message are broadcast in Bhili and Hindi in “Baat Patey Ki” programme. Dialogue is made with farmers in Bhili dialect and useful information is given to them in “Kheti-Kisani” programme. “Dharohar Apney Pradesh Ki” programme disseminates information about state’s historical heroes, places and tourism. In “Katha-Kahani” programme traditional and inspirational tales are broadcast. Broadcast of career guidance and sports activities is also on cards.
Indeed, community radio culture is catching on very fast in Madhya Pradesh. The State Government has started community radio services at many places in tribal-dominated districts including Baiga-dominated Chanda (Dindori district), Gond-dominated Chincholi (Betul district), Bhil-dominated Nalchha (Dhar district), Meghnagar (Jhabua) and Umri in Guna district. Community radio centres will also be started in Sahariya-dominated Sesahpur and Bhariya-dominated Bijjori in Chhindwara district.