Doordarshan Day: Carrying the legacy since 1959

Doordarshan, an autonomous public service broadcaster, is one of two divisions of Prasar Bharati. Formed by the Government of India, it is one of India’s largest broadcasting organizations in terms of studio and transmitter infrastructure.

Established on September 15, 1959, the public broadcaster provides television, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional India, as well as overseas, through the satellite network.

On 62nd Doordarshan Day, highlighting how Doordarshan has been adapting and evolving over the years to adhere to the changing times.

History of Doordarshan

The then President of India, Rajendra Prasad inaugurated the first broadcast on September 15, 1959. It so happened that, in 1959, a leading European company exhibited its closed-circuit TV equipment at an international exposition. At the end of the expo, the equipment was gifted to the people of India.

The Government used the equipment for educational purposes initially. All India Radio engineers experimented with the equipment and used it for the first telecast. September 15 is also celebrated as Engineers’ Day in India.

Earlier, television transmission was only limited to half-an-hour, twice a week featuring developmental and educational shows.

A new signature image was designed by the National Institute of Design and a signature tune was created by Pandit Ravi Shankar. With the passage of time, news telecast started, and later, a series of other programs lined up, including feature films, chitrahaar, phool Khile hai darshan darshan etc.

Doordarshan became the link between the people. The color was introduced on the eve of the Asian Games. The first telecast in color took place on August 15, 1982, when the national program started.

Prasar Bharati Archives

From the archives of Prasar Bharati, take a look at the history of India’s public broadcaster, Doordarshan. To watch, click here.


Expanding the visibility

Over the years, Doordarshan has been expanding its presence and visibility among the masses. With modern technological changes, Doordarshan has gone digital and reached the palms of individuals who’ve entrusted the organization for credible news. Further, the DD Free Dish has grown manyfold.

Doordarshan has forayed into the digital space with a focus on making video available on demand. According to Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharati, Doordarshan is getting younger through engagement with the younger audience.

Doordarshan: An enabler

Credibility is the USP of Doordarshan. In today’s age of breaking news, Doordarshan has been able to maintain its tradition of providing accurate and up-to-date information to its viewers.

During the covid times, too, the broadcaster became an enabler. India’s public broadcaster has been helping students with their studies amidst the covid pandemic and subsequent lockdown. In collaboration with various State Government institutions, Doordarshan along with All India Radio has been broadcasting virtual classes and other educational content through their regional channels across the country on TV, Radio, and YouTube.

More than 20 TV channels of Doordarshan which runs general entertainment and news throughout the day, repurposed themselves, making it fit for students across the country. In the absence of school classes, these virtual classes are helping lakhs of students, especially the 10th and 12th standard students in preparation for their board and competitive examinations.

Also, to keep the learning an interesting activity, apart from the curriculum content, virtual classes in few states included storytelling by eminent personalities and quiz shows.
Doordarshan Programmes

In the journey of 62 years, Doordarshan has continued to enthrall audiences over decades. From the days of Ramayana, Mahabharat, Hum Log, Buniyad, Malgudi Days, Udaan, etc to today’s high-tech coverages of national and international events and impactful programs on health, education, and empowerment, Doordarshan has been providing content to generations of viewers and continues to contribute towards enriching India’s social fabric.

The channel has been binding the entire country together by telecasting sporting events. Recently, it telecasted the Olympics 2020 Games united the country with the spirit of sports.

India watches DD

During the covid lockdown, Doordarshan touched new records in terms of viewership. During the lockdown, old iconic serials were re-broadcasted on DD National and DD Bharati. According to reports by Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC), Doordarshan achieved its objective to help people keep themselves at home, by broadcasting the old classics.

According to BARC, the re-telecast of Ramayan, garnered the highest ever rating for a Hindi GEC show since 2015 when BARC started measuring TV audience. Similarly, popular shows like Shaktimaan, Shriman Shrimati, Chanakya, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Buniyaad, Circus, and Byomkesh Bakshi, Mahabharat, Alif Laila, Upanishad Ganga made a return.


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