eAGRI INDIA: Rain gods in charge

Baramati, India

"All flights are delayed by two hours," the director of the VIIT to volunteers, and the mood sunk. Even the Baramati skies appear overcast. Earlier, while I sat through a sandlewood-paste flavoured beard-trim (Rs 15) at the local roadside makeshift haircutting saloon, the TV spoke of rainy weather warnings.
"All flights are delayed by two hours," the director of the VIIT to volunteers, and the mood sunk. Even the Baramati skies appear overcast. Earlier, while I sat through a sandlewood-paste flavoured beard-trim (Rs 15) at the local roadside makeshift haircutting saloon, the TV spoke of rainy weather warnings.

That means a delay in getting started.

But the hosts here are hospitable to a fault. I don't know what it is, but have often encountered the hospitality of our neighbouring states, though often, like "good neighbours" huge Maharashtra and tiny Goa also have our tiffs over political and other issues.

A few of the early arrivals, mainly the organisers from YES _/ Bank and the college, and ICRISAT's international faculty Dr SP Wani, joined in for an interesting, vegetarian Maharashtrian meal. Their food is interesting, and given the diversity of India, food changes every few hundred kilometres that you travel. Like it. In any case, am (impure) veg myself.

After that, a brief Glossaire de Learn the Net. ">chat

saw one land up at the CC -- or the community centre. On the top of the building, a newish board announces this year-old station "Vasundhara Vahini, 90.4 FM". Vasundhara is one of the names of the earth. There are many names in South Asia with an

earthy feel to them: "Achala, Avani, Bhoopesh, Bhupendra, Bhupati, Bhoodevi, Bhuvana, Bhuvaneswari, Dharani, Dharavi, Ela, Ela Devi, Ibrahim, Ila, Ila Devi, Mahipal, Pruthvi, Pruthviraj, Urvi."

After all, as the announcer who worked at Satara, a neighbouring state-run All India Radio station as a casual announcer said, it was because of the earth that man sustains himself. And this point is felt strongly in this part of agrarian India.

VIIT director Dr Amol Goje thinks it would help to hand over the radio to the students to run. Others rued the fact that the number of restrictions placed by the Indian government on what it calls "community radio" (actually a form of 'campus radio') make it tough to sustain.

One can broadcast just four minutes of advertising in a day, or that's what one was told! There are restrictions on rebroadcasts of entertainment-oriented music, others complained. But the announcer at the station, who demoed how he read out the announcements (broadcast is four hours in the morning, with a repeat session in the evenings) termed this the first agriculture-oriented radio station in Asia.

It's located in three rooms, and is run with the minimal staff to keep it viable. Waiting to tune in to this network, when I have the time and an FM radio on hand, at the right moment.

Waiting for the action to start. --FN in Baramati 7:49 pm March 9, 2006.

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