Interview

“Doordarshan will have to take advantage of this new life” : Ashok Srivastava

The whole world is going through a crisis of the corona epidemic. Because of this, the Government of India has declared a lockdown of 21 days from 25 March 2020 as a precaution. During this time people have been advised to stay indoors and safe.

At such a time, Doordarshan is working for life again. Because of the huge demand from the public, the Central Government has decided to re-air Doordarshan’s most loved and old programs such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Shaktimaan. On this subject, an exclusive interview with our colleague Abhilash Srivastava, (twitter @ mediabhi) senior journalist and anchor of Doordarshan News Shri Ashok Srivastava (twitter @AshokShrivasta6 has shared his views.

Question: When the whole world is struggling with the corona epidemic, how do you see the initiative taken by the central government with Doordarshan?

Answer: We all know that corona spreads from human to human and so far it has no medicine. So lock down and social distancing is the only way to defeat Corona. In such an environment when people have to stay at home for 21 days and 24 hours, then it is important that elegant entertainment programs reach the homes of the people and also the right information. And I am very happy and proud that Doordarshan and DD News are doing this responsibility very well.

And most important of all is the rebroadcasting of the Ramayana and Mahabharata serials. Those who have seen the period of the 80s and 90s know that when the Ramayana and Mahabharata came on Doordarshan, “Janata curfew” is imposed in the cities and villages of the country. People used to sit in front of their TV sets. All business was closed. Now that the country is locked down, the re-telecast of Ramayana and Mahabharata is a very important decision taken by Doordarshan in the interest of the country and public as well. And I am glad that the way the soldiers of the Vanar Sena played an important role in tying the Ram Setu to Lanka, I also have a small role like that.

As soon as the lock-down was announced, some people started tagging me on Twitter and wrote that in this environment, people should start the telecast of Ramayana and Mahabharata to motivate people to stay in their homes.

Realizing the sentiments of the people, I gave this suggestion to Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Shri Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO of Prasar Bharati. Both of them liked this suggestion very much and only two days later, both these serials broadcast get started.

The funny thing is that as soon as I wrote on Twitter about this decision, there was a demand from people that start Shaktimaan, show Chanakya, rebroadcast Vyomkesh Bakshi. And now all these serials are showing on Doordarshan. And suddenly the viewership of Doordarshan has increased manifold. Doordarshan is being seen once again in every house. Private channels are upset. Many channels have started broadcasting their old serials made on epics. But the truth is that the juice which is in the Ramayana of Anand Ramanand Sagar and the Mahabharata of BR Chopra and the connection with Doordarshan is of the country, where else?

Question: You have been associated with Doordarshan for almost two decades, aware of its substance. What were the reasons that made Doordarshan dull? Now consider communication of new energy?

Answer: I have no qualms in accepting that Doordarshan’s viewership has been swept away in the flood of private channels in the last few decades. The reasons are many, but broadly I would say that when the private channels started broadcast in the 90s, the changes that Doordarshan had to make to stay in the market, did not take the steps to meet the new challenges. Doordarshan fell behind due to red tape, bureaucracy and unprofessional attitude. To a large extent, I also see a conspiracy behind it. Some private players used the resources of Doordarshan in association with the people at the top and created their channels.

The resources on which other channels stood up, why did Doordarshan himself not use those resources for himself? Doordarshan also had no shortage of talent, but the bureaucracy strangled many talents. I can count many such names who left Doordarshan and went to private channels and there they flagged success, but those same talents were not allowed to proceed here. Why?

Even today, there is no addition to the “strength” that Doordarshan has. When Doordarshan uses its ability, no one stands in front of it, you can see an example of this during the telecast of the Republic Day parade. But not only a few days in the year, every day we have to use our potential to the maximum level. Some changes are taking place but a lot more needs to be done for this.

Question: Opposition is extremely upset with the efforts the government is making to fight Corona. Is there a shortage or is it just politics here?

Answer: The work of the opposition is to criticize the government, but even when the whole world is going through an epidemic crisis, should the opposition just criticize? Unfortunately, India’s opposition has become confused, it does not know when to do what, what to say. God shows him the right path, more than what can be said on this!

Question: Doordarshan still has access to every house in the country. So how is Doordarshan trying to avoid this epidemic? Also, what do you want to appeal to people?

Answer: Today, no channel stands anywhere in front of the work which Doordarshan and DD News are doing to make people aware of Corona.

Many programs have been started to provide correct information to the people about Corona, we have started many programs for constant communication of common people with the country’s leading doctors and health experts. Misleading information / fake news about Corona, we are spreading it to the people continuously. To take care of social distancing, there is no crowd in the office, we are running every day with one-third of our staff. And, I give full credit for this to our Director General, Shri Mayank Agarwal, who has been a brilliant leader in these challenges under these circumstances. I also appeal to the people to follow the instructions given by the government. If we all take a little caution, victory in this battle is not far away. I believe my fans and friends will be following all the rules.

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