New Delhi, Sep 13 : Voice of America (VoA) is switching off its Hindi service 54 years after it started broadcasting.
VoA Hindi will broadcast its final programme on September 30, following which its six-member team - at the centre of over 1,200 fan clubs and catering to nearly 8 million listeners - will fall silent.
VoA Hindi started on July 1, 1954 when the war hero Dwight D Eisenhower was President of America, and Jawaharlal Nehru's India was on the verge of presenting to the world its philosophy of non-alignment.
Now, in a radically transformed world, the US Broadcasting Board of Governors has struck Hindi off the list of 45 languages that America uses to speak to the world.
The decision is part of VoA's "language service reduction" and, expectedly, budgetary cuts.
"From September 30 we will be ending our seven-hour long Hindi language services at VoA. This is a policy decision conveyed by our Washington-based headquarters and is in keeping with the new world order that the USA faces after 9/11," a leading national daily quoted a VoA official, as saying.
"The focus is increasingly on languages like Pashto and Urdu now even though VoA Hindi has a good listenership across South Asia. It will surely be missed by many," the official added.