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Religion of Radio (The Times of Ind

The Times of India
                         Religion of Radio 

               The Nobel laureate, Ms Aung San Soo Kyi, under 
house-arrest by the Myanmar military authorities for many years now, 
revealed in a recent interview how for many months her only window on 
the world was a tiny, battery-operated radio on which she could also 
tune in to BBC's Burmese language programme. ``Had I known this 
earlier,'' she confessed, ``I would have retained with me a more 
powerful transistorised radio set and a wider choice of books to read.'' 
Former Soviet President, Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, also admitted how he 
realised he was under house-arrest at a Crimean sea resort, only from a 
British broadcast he chanced to overhear, reporting the short-lived 
Kremlin coup. In an age when television hogs the show, it is heartening 
to know that the old `wireless' still counts. Wags say TV is a clever 
contraction from the words `terrible vaudeville' and that it is called a 
medium ``because nothing's well done''. In India, we hear that Mr S S 
Gill, chief executive officer of the new Prasar Bharati Board, who has 
shaken up Mandi House, intends to turn his attention to All India Radio 
(AIR) after ``showing the door to Doordarshan's favourite hobby 
horses''. As in Latin America, where the ``liberation theology'' is 
being broadcast far and wide by Roman Catholic priests through radio, in 
Poland, also, the priests are making waves, converting religion by radio 
into a potent `radioactive' force. No wonder, for some the word `media' 
sounds like a convention of spiritualists. From a small 
listener-financed radio station in 1991, the Radio Maryja in Torun town 
has blossomed into
a social movement supported by five million subscribers, mostly rural 
women. It backs candidates for Parliament and offers an explosive, if 
unusual, mix of prayers, preaching and propaganda for Poland's ruling 
Solidarity Election Action Party. At least 18 members of Parliament 
concede that they won September elections because the radio station 
endorsed their candidature. Reverend Rydzyk, who is the rebel radio's 
founder, has been publicly pulled up by the Poland's senior-most 
Catholic dignitary, Cardinal Glemp, for ``being so brazenly political'', 
for ``insubordination'', stirring up hostility, and spewing anti- Jewish 
venom, when Christ's message was for peace and goodwill to all men. In 
India too, the radio awaits its redeemer, and the Prasar Bharati Board 
could increase the utility and credibility of the broadcast media. Mr 
Gill in his ``televangical zeal'' to send Doordarshan to the cleaners, 
might speculate how it would cause waves if Vishwa Hindu Parishad and 
Harkat-ul-Islam could run radio stations without let or hindrance.

(Note : Mispelling of DASSK's name is orignal.)

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