Thursday, March 09, 2006

Radio Bihar

Raghav Mahato

Once in way you come across a really interesting piece of news in the daily press. Like the story I read a few days ago about a young man who set up a radio station in a small town in Bihar. Bihar as everyone knows is best known for its chaos and corruption and dacoity and other terrible goings on, so something as enterprising as a guy of really modest means and modest education setting up an FM station is nothing short of a miracle.

This young man, Raghav Mahato climbs up to the third floor of a hospital building in Mansoorpur, with his box of tools and sender and antennae and other stuff he requires and gets this station going. Raghav Entertainment FM 1 is what he calls it which he runs for about ten hours a day with the help of friends. The station plays Hindi and devotional and all kinds of music and disseminates information on various happenings in the town and nearby areas, including things like the dates and timings of polio vaccination camps.

In the couple of years that he has been working on the station, Raghav has acquired a large fan following. People who listen to his station – which is the only one they get on their receivers! - come to meet him from ten kms away. None of it has earned him hard cash though. He continues to run his electrical shop “Priya Electronics” which earns him roughly Rs. 2000 a month (in case my American and European friends are wondering how much that is, it translates into roughly $50).

I loved reading about Raghav Mahato. It somehow made me feel good, just to know how enterprising people can get and that not everyone puts their heart and soul only into money spinning projects. I wonder sometimes why these kind of stories don’t make the front page and why they don’t relegate Bush and Tony Blair and our own politicians to the back pages so that another kind of reality can come to the forefront and be seen and recognised by - and bring hope - to people.

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