April 19, 2006

Plurality of India: FM station shut down

Raghav FM Mansoorpur l is a radio station which used to beam Bhojpuri and filmi songs, give community news and advice on all sorts of things, including AIDS and polio. It was started by Raghav Mahto, a 22-year-old mechanic in Mansoorpur, Bihar. He was happy and popular, besieged by requests from his fans to play their favourite songs.

I air devotional songs at dawn and dusk," he told BBC, and this made him more popular with women than men.

Two weeks ago, on March 27, his station was closed and his equipment seized because he broke two laws, he did not possess a licence and he gave news on FM radio. A formal police complaint has been lodged against him.

The Times of India says:
Raghav FM Mansoorpur l is the quintessential metaphor of a diverse and plural India. Mohandas Gandhi would have celebrated the idea of a radio listening community that might help to unite our caste ridden, factionalised villages.

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