India’s public broadcaster Doordarshan turns 62 today, covering a long journey that began as a modest experiment on this day in 1959.
Gradually, it grew and paved the way for the emergence of a new era in the Indian television industry. During the initial years, there were makeshift studios and voice and visuals were beamed through a small transmitter.
The experiment turned into a service in 1965 when Doordarshan reached TV sets in living rooms in and around the country’s capital, New Delhi. By 1972, Mumbai and Amritsar were added and then to seven other cities by 1975.
By the 90s, it had started reaching our hearts even in remote areas of the countries and people used to remain glued to their TV sets for their most-loved programmes. It was Doordarshan that brought epics like Ramayan and Mahabharat to every Indian household. Its music show Chitrahaar and Rangoli won our hearts in the 80s and 90s. There were many other news and entertainment shows that made people aware of their country and the current developments around the world. It soon turned into a driver for the celebration of India’s diversity and its unity.
62 Glorious Years of #Doordarshan!
सत्यम् शिवम् सुन्दरम्
— Doordarshan National दूरदर्शन नेशनल (@DDNational) September 15, 2021
There were several other programmes that have remained close to our hearts even after the private satellite TV channels bombarded us with choices.
Doordarshan turns 62 today. Various programmes like; Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Chandrakanta and Surbhi have ruled our hearts. Proud to be a part of this Organization#Doordarshan@utsav_india@PriyankaJShukla@aditiraval@firstname.lastname@example.org/jAGtGEhZox
— Nishith Joshi,IIS (@iisnishith) September 15, 2021
Based on the short stories written by RK Narayan in his book Malgudi Days, this show first aired in 1987 and had 69 episodes. It returned to Doordarshan for 15 episodes in 2006.
India’s very own detective series was based on the character created by Bengali author Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Starring Rajit Kapur and KK Raina as Byomkesh Bakshi and Ajit Kumar Banerji, respectively, it instantly became popular and also received critical acclaim.
Who can forget Chitrahaar! Featuring songs from popular Hindi films, it was broadcast twice a week — Wednesday and Friday. For this 30-minute programme, viewers waited with anticipation as they hoped for their favourite song to be played on the show.
The cultural show hosted by Renuka Shahane and Siddharth Kak ran in the 90s. Surabhi traversed the length and breadth of India to showcase its heritage and cultural diversity.
The drama series about a lower-middle-class family and their day-to-day struggles defined family time in 1984. It was the first soap opera on Indian television and resonated with the times. Because of its social message and portrayal of real-life characters, it became a pan-India favourite.