With hundreds of radio, television and online channels to choose from today, the wonder years will always remain those of Doordarshan. Today we celebrate the 61st birthday of Doordarshan, India's first television broadcaster. This channel began modestly on 15 September 1959 as an experimental broadcaster, with a small transmitter and a make shift studio.
Regular transmission began in 1965 with a five minute news broadcast on All India Radio by Pratima Puri, India's first news broadcaster. Krishi Darshan, which till today is India's longest running television program, debuted on 26 January 1967, the same year which saw the debut of the famous Salma Sultan, who till date is Doordarshan's and India's favorite news broadcaster.
Doordarshan, which now boasts of 66 studios and operates 36 satellite channels, including seven national channels, and seventeen regional channels was an experiment in a makeshift studio, where the participants beamed their voice and visuals through a small transmitter. This experiment then culminated into a service in 1965 when DD began beaming signals to television sets across Delhi. In 1972, these signals began beaming to Mumbai and Amritsar and 3 years later, another 7 cities came into the fold.
The much loved "DD Eye" Doordarshan's first logo was designed by Devashis Bhattacharya, as the two curves, the "Yin" and the "Yang"
Being a government operated unit, DD faced its share of criticism especially during the Emergency where it was accused of disseminating government propaganda. Even durign the 1984 Operation Blue Storm, stories were reported only by government sources. Doordarshan was also accused of a video depicting violence, which when investigated by independent journalists was found to be false.
Private channels and cable and digital media have affected Doordarshan's revenue and it has taken a big hit on its viewership as well. However, the memories of Doordarshan remain infectious.