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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 18:16 GMT
Showcasing India's broadcasting heritage
Vintage microphones on display
The museum recreates the history of Indian broadcasting
By the BBC's Ayanjit Sen in Delhi

Some of Indian broadcasting's rarest treasures have now found a home in the country's first Broadcasting Museum which was inaugurated recently.

Rare instruments
The museum also houses rare musical instruments
The display is kept in Broadcasting House, itself listed as a heritage building in the Indian capital Delhi.

Going back to the days when radio broadcasting began in India in 1927, the museum has several priceless items including original scripts of features made during India's independence.

It has photographs and clippings of the inauguration of the Indian broadcasting services by the then Viceroy of India - Lord Irwin.

Historic recordings

The collection is likely to be expanded in the near future to include audio recordings of famous personalities.

Russia's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, interviewed in the early 1960s
Russia's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, was one of many famous guests
It already has voice recordings of Mahatma Gandhi - who had visited Broadcasting House in November 1947 to record a message for the many refugees in the aftermath of the partition of India.

On display are several different models of microphones, gramophones, the first video camera used by state television, old radio and television sets and recording machines.

The man behind the museum - Anil Baijal (who is also the chief executive officer of India's state broadcaster) - feels it was important to showcase these items to recreate the history of broadcasting in India.

He said: "The idea to house these items under one roof struck me on 1 September this year and subsequently we consulted the staff of the National Museum."

Nostalgia

The walls of the museum are adorned with the photographs of celebrated Indian classical musicians and artistes, including noted poet Firaq Gorakhpuri, singer Fayaz Khan, Pandit Onkar Nath Thakur and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan - all of whom had performed on state radio at one time or the other.

Old recording machine
The collection is likely to be expanded in the near future
The museum houses rare musical instruments, some of which are no longer in use.

They include a mandra bahar, a saranda and a taus. Also on display are the scripts of two features based on India's independence - Navprabhat (New Dawn) and Dilli Mein Azadi ka Din (Day of Independence in Delhi).

The script of the first play broadcast from the Delhi station of the All India Radio - Mantosh in Urdu - is also featured.

One of India's most famous radio presenters - Mr Ameen Sayani - told BBC News Online that he was delighted when he heard that the museum was to be set up.

Mr Sayani said it brought back memories for many former radio presenters.

"Many of the items on display belong to the 1950's which was the golden era of Indian radio broadcasting," he said.

See also:

02 Nov 00 | South Asia
India approves direct home broadcasts
26 Jul 00 | South Asia
Indian boost for broadcasters
22 Feb 00 | South Asia
Radio boom for India
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