Listen To The Sarus Crane

IN Community Media | 28/08/2002
The Chameli Devi Award for An Outstanding Woman Journalist is presented every year by the Media Foundation

The Chameli Devi Award for An Outstanding Woman Journalist is presented every year by the Media Foundation. The award for the year 2000 has been given to the Ujjas unit of the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan for their radio serial on All India Radio Bhuj. This began broadcasting as a 20-minute serial on December 16 1999

Listen To The Sarus Crane

The Kunjal
(Sarus Crane)
sings : Salutations, Salutations to Sarpanch Rani
Many salutations to Ujjas village
She wrote applications, raised objections,
She went time and again
To the TDO¿s (Taluka Development Officer) office
Her shoes are worn out
With all the running around
She exposed the Engineer¿s misdoings
She put up a struggle
That¿s when the government buckled!
That is how she wrangled the permission
to deepen the old village pond
as part of the government drought relief works!
Salutations to Sarpanch Rani
Many salutations to Ujaas!

(Sounds of relief activity: digging work.)

Kunjal: To all the listeners---men and women---of the radio programme, Greetings from Kunjal-Ram-Ram! Salaam-wale-kum! And Jai Matadi!

India lags behind the rest of the free world in promoting community radio. Its broadcast laws do not permit it. But when the occasional window of opportunity presents itself, and a community seizes it, the result is grassroots media that is robust, resonant with local voices, and truly representative of local problems and initiatives. The latest such manifestation omes from Kutch, where the state-owned All India Radio, has leased twenty minutes a week to an NGO working with rural women. They produce a 30 -minute serial every Thursday at 8 pm. It began with 20 minutes but was increased to 30 after the first three months after AIR lowered its royalty rates. It completed a year of broadcast, and then recently, in the post-earthquake scenario, a fresh series is readying to go on air.

It is easy to romanticise rural communication. Poor illiterate women, handling mikes and ecorders, broadcasting their development priorities to the world. How heart warming, what a wonderful idea. But how much of a ripple does it create in the pond of rural reality? The experience of the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan is that if you get your focus and dialect right, underwrite your effort with a partnership between rural and urban, neo-literate and professional writer, and bolster its success with properly done audience feedback, then rural communication has a good chance of making a difference.

The radio programme entitled "Kunjal Paanje Kutch Ji" ( Sarus Crane of Our Kutch) excerpted above is the outcome of a partnership between several groups and individuals. The producer of the programme is the Ujjas Unit of Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan , an NGO working with rural women on their concerns in 150 villages of Kutch district. Drishti Media Collective, a media NGO based in Ahmedabad, is handling the direction of the radio programme and Paresh Naik is involved as a writer. The Centre for Alternatives in Education which is a part of the Indian Institute

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