NEW DELHI: The All India Radio on Monday marked the first External Broadcast Day with a cultural extravaganza here, beginning year-long celebrations that will culminate next year on the 80th anniversary of its first broadcast for foreign listeners.
On October 1, 1939, All India Radio made its first broadcast for foreign listeners with a Pashto service started by then British rulers to counter the Nazi Germany propaganda during World War II.
The national radio broadcaster has decided that the 80th anniversary of the historic event will be marked by year-long celebrations that began Monday.
As part of the celebrations, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Dr Geeta Chandran, Tanmay Bose, Carolina Prada, Dr N Rajam enthralled the audience with their captivating performances at the Siri Fort auditorium here.
Information and Broadcast Secretary Amit Khare, Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash and Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati addressed the External Broadcast Day event.
The external services of the All India Radio, though began with the aim of serving the propaganda of the British colonialists, have now transformed into the "voice of India" at the world stage, officials said.
"Last year, a decision was taken that October 1 will be observed as External Broadcasting Day and Monday will be the first such occasion. All Indian missions abroad will observe the External Broadcasting Day," Amlanjyoti Mazumdar, Head of External Services Division, AIR, had told PTI on Sunday.
AIR's External Services Division broadcasts programmes have a reach of over 150 countries through short and medium wave. As one of the oldest international broadcasting services that began in 1939, it offers news bulletins and other programmes in 28 languages.
Fourteen out of the 28 language services are for the immediate neighbourhood.
The foreign language services include Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Persian, and Baloch, while plans are underway to start services in Japanese and Bhutanese.