Doordarshan turns 58: Down memory lane and the way forward
Happy birthday to our national broadcaster Doordarshan. On September 15 every year Doordarshan celebrates its anniversary. Doordarshan, a division of the Prasar Bharati was started in Delhi on September 15 1959 with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio.
The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The first news bulletin was five minutes long and was started in 1965 with Pratima Puri being the first news reader.
The iconic logo
The iconic logo of Doordarshan was designed by Devashis Bhattacharyya. He is a former National Institute of Design student. Devashis scribbled the human eye first. Then he drew two curves around it depicting as he says, "the yin and the yang." There were 14 designs submitted by 8 students and this was the one picked by Indira Gandhi.
Until 1975, there were only seven cities in India which had television service and Doordarshan was the sole provider.
The iconic tune
The conic tune of DD was composed by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and the symbol and the tune appeared for the first time on television screens on April 1, 1976.
On Jan 26, 1967, Krishi Darshan was the first programme telecast; it is one of India's longest running programmes. The first TV serial to be telecast was Ladoosingh Taxiwala. In the 1980s, Doordarshan started with a colour broadcast of the Asian Games and serial Hum Log.
The other iconic serials in this era were, Buniyaad, Nukkad and Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi. Later came the other iconic serials such as Ramayan, Mahabharat, Shaktiman, Fauji and everyones favourite Wednesday 8 pm telecast Chitrahaar.
DD has 33 channels, 67 studios, 1,400 transmitters and 15,500 staffers. From 180 TV sets in 1959 to 25 million in 1977, DD reached 153 million TV homes in 2016.
The way forward
Shashi Shekhar Vempati, Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharti tells OneIndia that the way forward is to engage with the youth better. We need to focus on content quality and make public interest programming more engaging. We will need to understand the audience. We will also need to utilise create talent better. On the change in logo, Vempati says that the process is still on. We have got over 10,000 entries, he also adds.