Friday, August 16, 2013

How Indian media recovered from a major miscalculation

What would become of CRICKET when INDIA gained her independence? Would the sport fade in the public's consciousness with the departure of the Imperial forces that brought it to the subcontinent.
The answer came quickly, according to RAMACHANDRA GUHA in his excellent history of cricket in India, "A CORNER OF A FOREIGN FIELD."
The arrival of India as a force in Test matches, the decentralization of the sport and the birth of interstate rivalries helped to spur "all that went to make cricket in free India: the energy, the excitement, the noise and the nationalism."
Interestingly, the free nation's voice, ALL INDIA RADIO, initially declined to participate in the growing excitement.
Guha writes:
"The Minister of Information and Broadcasting was that well-known opponent of cricket, B.V. Keskar. Initially, the Minister had decided that he would not promote film melodies or cricket broadcasts. Classical music and discourses on development were how the masses would be uplifted instead."
Ignoring BOLLYWOOD music and cricket? In India? What a major miscalculation!
Guha writes:
"Eventually, Keskar was persuaded to start a separate channel for Hindi film music and to sanction live broadcasts for the Tests. Millions then bought radios to listen to one channel or the other. During the Test matches, college students and office workers alike concealed transistors in their clothing."
Thank goodness India wouldn't be denied!


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