Innovations in Indian Television: Connecting Lives across the Border
by Ravi Nitesh
A well known and most accepted fact is that art, music and culture are beyond boundaries. It is true in all the cases, even in the case of India and Pakistan where inspite of so much visa restrictions and other restrictions on communications with each other, the fact survived.
It is true that people of both countries are eager to know about each other and are very much interested in culture and arts. Still Indian sarees in Pakistan and Pakistani suits in India are a common choice. When we talk about music and arts, there are so many names in Indian film industry as well as in Pakistan who are popular in both places. There is a big market of Indian films and songs in Pakistan and people there are so fascinated with this. Similarly in India, every music lover likes Rahat Fateh Ali, Nusrat Sahab and others. In other forms of arts, there are theatre groups as well who frequently travel each other country as a part of cultural exchange.
In spite of all these things, sadly, the Governments of both India and Pakistan did not provide free access and broadcast permission to each other’s TV channels. It was still a setback for people of these two countries. Many in Pakistan enjoyed Indian TV channels until it was officially restricted. With this permission and restriction game, they have tried to restrict the information and knowledge sharing of culture. Free access and broadcast of TV channels of each other countries can lead to a very positive effect by providing an opportunity to know each other’s culture.
TV is a strong medium of communication in these days. It is available in most of the houses of India and Pakistan. I can say, based on my observation in India, that even the permanent migratory laborers carry their own TV and dish and slum areas of Delhi have TV in their jhuggis. This shows the importance that people attach to the television. It is seen as a tool of both entertainment and information. As we know, television has a capacity to transform minds through its audio visual impression.
It is also a fact that it is our natural curiosity to know and communicate beyond our society and other boundaries. For this, we have developed several means of communication. Media is one of the tools through which we can feed this thirst of mind.
With the availability of big market in India and curiosity of people, an Indian television group has launched a new television channel. The specialty of this channel is that it caters Indian audience with Pakistani content. This channel is presenting handpicked stories from Pakistani writers. These stories revolve around the everyday life of people in Pakistan.
In prima view, it may look as simple, but when we think about the above-mentioned facts, we find that how it is an innovative step to match media and technology with the desired goal of peace. It is a step to prove the fact that arts, music and culture must survive in all conditions and must be taken beyond boundaries.
Regarding business advancement, it will certainly increase profit to the group in view of the ‘different’ content for Indian audience, but this is something more important than business. It is because, by bringing these stories from Pakistan, it will be helpful in breaking stereotyping of minds. It will become a medium for people to understand that everyday life, emotions, values are similar across the border. By bringing this channel, it will be a new experiment in Indian television industry that may be followed by others and it may pave a base of new era of entertainment. Hopefully this new channel named ‘Zindagi’ will connect the ‘lives’ of people and will contribute to a culture of mutual love and understanding.
Ravi Nitesh is from Delhi. He is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti