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Television: A Versatile Audio-Visual Aid

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Dr Banarsi Lal

Every year 21st November is observed as the World Television Day across the globe. This day is observed to recognise the beneficial effects of television for social, political and economic developments of society. Television is helpful to educate and entertainment people of all sections of society. It is considered as the cornerstone of democracy. Television is considered as one of the most influential mass media for communication and assists to increase the cultural diversity. On December 17, 1996, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 21st of November as the World Television Day to commemorate the date on which the first World Television Forum was held earlier in that year. All the members’ states were invited by the UN to observe the day by encouraging the exchange of television programmes on issues such as peace, security, social, economic and cultural developments. In the world of smart phones, social media, computers, laptops and many other electronic gadgets, television is still considered as a significant source of information and entertainment. The present age has been rightly termed as an ‘information age’. Information plays an immense value in our society. Information has become an integral part of our daily life. Now people want adequate and authentic information as early as possible. The mass media namely newspaper, radio and television are catering to this important need of people. For the rapid and overall development of a country it is must that the citizens of that country are well versed with the happenings around them. Present Indian extension system is under numerous pressures where the extension workers have to cater not only vast population but also to perform administrative, election, input supply and other works. Under these circumstances, it is not practically possible to serve all the farmers, all the time for all the problems when ratio of extension worker and farmer, the sender and receiver is more than 1:1000. Therefore, the potential of mass media can be exploited to serve the rural population in this direction.
Communication is identified as the oldest continued activity of human being since birth and goes on and on till death. More precisely, communication is the basic need of human beings and web of society which makes the survival, growth, progress and development of man possible and holds the society intact and progressive. It is the vital aspect to change the behaviour of the receiver. As a matter of fact, no executive can be successful without communicating effectively with his superiors or subordinates. Messages could be in the form of words, symbols, signs, letters or actions. The importance of communication has been greatly emphasized by all the management experts. Communication is like a part of an individual’s life as well as organizational existence. Its importance is self-explanatory and is having common experience of all as well. Communication is the core activity of human association in general and progress as well as development in particular. No human life can exist in isolation. A man can survive only in society and the survival in society is possible with communication. Communication is a vital part of personal life in the society. It is equally important in business, education, civilization, administration and other situations where people encounter with each other to satisfy their needs and wishes. Electronisation and mechanization in communication systems have provided opportunity to access the information rapidly, accurately and repeatedly. To reach the unreach modern electronic gadgets and systems have been introduced to cope-up the requirements. The government of India has realized the need and utility of these electronic equipments for rural population. Therefore, massive programmes of cyber extension, digital interactive distance learning, online networks, and computers aided multimedia; internet and free online telephones etc. have been launched for the farmers. Some of the major extension technology systems and approaches are being used presently like Kisan Call Centre (1800-180-1551), Cyber Extension, ATIC, computer-internet connectivity etc. Communication in agriculture is not only to inform and create awareness among the farmers but also to implement new ideas that change the mode of farming. Village extension workers (VEWs) inform the farmers about the new technologies, but they are not keeping pace with the advancement of technical know-how. Secondly, the message has to travel through many stages from its source to the ultimate users. Due to this hierarchical transfer sometimes it loses its meaning and originality. Use of television as a powerful communication medium has no doubt to captivate the agriculture educators to harness its potential for reaching far across the nation. While it provides words with pictures and sound effect like movie, TV has the capacity to reach the largest number of people in the shortest possible time. People learn through the eyes and ears both thus, gain greater knowledge and understanding of the subject. The boom in television industries has not only affected urban masses but the rural masses are also fascinated with this media. Now this has become one of the most important media of mass communication for rural masses. It has played a major role in transferring latest technological know-how to the rural people. In India where the rural masses are isolated in villages the communication is difficult and challenging. In this situation television is one of the important sources of mass media which plays a pivotal role in reaching large number of people in no time. Television can bring the world to our door steps within a second. This mass medium has made dissemination of news, information and entertainment possible on a scale unprecedented in human society. It is undoubtedly one of the most versatile audio-visual aids ever developed.
Growth of television in India: The television in India began modestly on September 15, 1959 by a UNESCO grant to study the use of TV as a medium of education, rural uplift and community development. In 1959 an experimental television programme was started to train personnel and particularly to discover what television would achieve in community development and formal education. Philips (India) demonstrated its use at an exhibition in New Delhi. The range of the transmitter was 40 kilometers and the audience comprised members of 180 tele-clubs which were provided free sets by UNESCO. The year 1961 witnessed educational television programmes on science for teachers. In the year 1965 entertainment programmes were introduced under pressure from manufacturers and the public. In the year 1967, Indian T.V. went into rural programmes and ‘Krishi Darshan’ programme for farmers in 80 villages tele-clubs in Delhi and Haryana were started. The year 1975-76 beamed educational programmes to villages through SITE. Commercial telecast for the first time was introduced in 1976. In 1977 terrestrial transmitters were put up at selected centres to extend television coverage. On August, 15, 1982, the national programme was inaugurated. In 1983 INSAT-IA India’s first communication satellite was placed in geostationary orbit but failed in its operation. In 1983 INSAT-IB was successfully launched in orbit by the American Shuttle Challenger. The transfer of science to rural people in India and gradual inoculation of scientific attitude in their everyday life, need to demonstrate in the language which will be understood and appreciated by the rural people. Television as an audio-visual medium of communication offers immense potential for disseminating the technological information to remote corners of the country through the nationwide TV network. Television is also considered very strong as the first stage of awareness. Apart from that, it speeds up entire process of adoption. It is considered as a credible source of information and is taken as authentic, trustworthy and prestigious medium of communication. Television as a mass medium informs, educates, entertains and motivates the people.

(The author is Head, KVK Reasi, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu).