Yesterday, without any previous announcement, the world came into our bedroom. My neighbour told me: “Are you getting Star TV on your set?” we have connected the satellite.”
So I went in and put on the TV and pressed each of the channel buttons, form one to eight, and one each of them there was a programme, through some may have had duplicates. At last, I said to myself, television has arrived.
In my one single lifetime I have been through the entire electronic media revolution. In the beginning, it was not even electronic – there were radios with valves. When the radio used to stop functioning, the elders would say: The valve must have burnt out, and we just had new valves put, not more than three months back.
There were radios with six valves and radios with eight valves and radios with 12 valves. The richer you were, the more valves you had, and the radio itself was bigger in size: We had a small radio, I think it was Murphy. My father would say: It gives very good service.
We also had a gramophone Before playing each record, you had to wind it with hand. You could even with it while the record was playing, then you could actually hear the speed of the record and the tempo of the music increasing. But we were not allowed to do that. It was said, it would spoil the gramophone. We had several records; one played Toofan Mail, another had Highland Troops playing Bonnie Scotland and other military numbers.
The transistor radios came next. Their beauty was, apart from the fact that you could carry them around and did not require an aerial on the roof, the instant you switched them on, the sound would come, you did not have to wait a full minute for the valves to warms up. The big moment for the radio came when they connected the airwaves and we could get Test and Wimbledon broadcasts direct from England. I used to marlvel at this wonderful technology.
The first TV I saw in Baghdad, Iraq’s military dictators were having a public (TV) trial of the former king’s officers, condemning them one by one to death. The poor condemned men stood in the court in striped pajama suits.
In England also TV had not advanced much; it was in black-and-white and for a few hours a day. But it was still a great media – to get actual pictures transmitted from the studio into your house!
In India, TV first came to Delhi. It was what was known as educational TV, so we in Bombay were not really bothered to have been left out. When it came to Bombay, I was sent by the Times Of India to cover its inauguration at the Bhabha Auditorium at Navy Nagar. The entire inaugural programme was presented on TV: first, Dr. B.V. Keskar, the minister for information and broadcasting, made a speech for a full hour, and those who had bought the first TV sets watched them on their screens; then there was a sarod recital for one hour. After that the programmed ended for the day.