‘The poor in rural India need BBC Hindi service’

Eighteen leading intellectuals, including the BBC’s iconic voice from India, Sir Mark Tully, have written a letter to the editor of The Guardian, pleading for the continuation of broadcast of the BBC’s Hindi service.

“We are astonished at the news that the BBC management has decided to stop transmission of BBC Hindi radio on short wave from 1 April.

“For nearly seven decades BBC Hindi radio has been a credible source of unbiased and accurate information, especially in times of crisis: the 1971 war, the emergency in 1975, the communal riots after the demolition of the Ayodhya mosque in 1992.

“Today India is facing other serious problems: the ongoing conflicts in Kashmir, in the north-east and in vast areas in central and eastern India, where Maoist militants are fighting the state.

“Ten million listeners in India – most of them in rural and often very poor areas – need BBC Hindi radio and the accurate, impartial and independent news it provides.

“BBC Hindi transmissions are accessible in rural and remote areas and, as short-wave receivers can be battery-operated, they are available in places without electricity or during power cuts; they are an essential source of learning for schoolchildren and college students in rural India preparing for competitive exams; and they cannot be silenced in times when democracy is under threat.

“We strongly urge the UK government to rethink its decision to severely cut the funding for the BBC World Service to enable the continued transmissions of BBC Hindi on short-wave radio.”

The signatories are Sir Mark Tully, broadcaster and author; Gillian Wright; Arundhati Roy, Booker Prize winner; Vikram Seth, author; William Dalrymple, author; Ram Guha, historian; Kuldip Nayar, journalist and columnist; Amjad Ali Khan, musician; Inder Malhotra, journalist and columnist; M.J. Akbar, editor, India Today; Sam Miller, journalist and author; Sunita Naraian, environmentalist and editor, Down to Earth magazine, New Delhi; Kiran Bedi, reformist and the first woman IPS officer of India; Tessa Hamblin, director, rehabilitation, Indian institute of cerebral palsy; Swami Agnivesh, anti-slavery activist; Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court lawyer; Dilawar K. Singh, financial adviser (defence services), ministry of defence; Neelima Mathur, foundation for responsible media, New Delhi, India.


  1. Wow! Why can’t India’s poor watch Aaj Tak (where everyone likes to make a point by screaming and shouting and gesturing frantically), or Star News (with extra strong close up of newscasters). I mean there are so many Hindi channels in India, so who cares about BBC Hindi.

    Instead of pleading to BBC Hindi to stay on in India, we should put pressure on the government to allow news broadcasting in our FM and other radio channels.

    With due respect to Sir Mark Tully and the other elites, I would also like to humbly state that Indian Hindi TV channels are doing a much better job. Once private radio stations are allowed to carry news related programming, then there will hardly be any need for BBC Hindi or even English.

  2. Naval joshi

    Bharat key gareeb logon key liay bbchindi radio ki koi jarurat nahin hai,balki yaha radio seva band honey sey log khabaron key leehaj sey gareeb ho jaayengay. Koi bhi insaan gareeb nahin hota hai,keywal usko adhikaron aur sampatti sey vanchit kar diya jaata hai. Aur log gareeb dhikhaney lagatey hain. bbc yaha kaam kyoun kar rahi hai ?

  3. Respected Sir, . . . मैं आप को बताना चाहता हूँ कि BBC ही एक मात्र रेडियो कार्यक्रम है जिसके सुनने वाले करोडोँ की संख्या में हैं । लोग न र्सिफ देश विदेश की समाचार सुनते हैं साथ ही बङी संख्या में विद्यार्थी इसका उपयोग अपना ज्ञान बढ़ा कर प्रतियोगिता परिक्षा में सफलता प्राप्त करते हैं।
    अतः मैं अंग्रेजी सरकार से गुजारिश करता हूँ कि आप किसी भी तरह से इस लोकप्रिय कार्यक्रम को बंद होने से बचा लें । इसके लिए हम सभी हिंदी के साथ साथ उर्दु सुनने वाले आपके आभारी होंगे क्योंक सभी उर्दु जानने वाले हिंदी अच्छी तरह समझते हैं ।

  4. Naval joshi

    Satya key saath khadey honey aur hum jaisey logon ko apani rai rakhaney key liyey manch deyney key liyey mark tully aur unkey mitron ka aabhaar.

  5. MAMTA


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