Sunday, August 13, 2017

The times we grew up -1




Those days
Not like these days all most all the advanced level students in our area , who went to the top colleges in the city: there were five or six colleges like that , went to their respective schools in the same school  bus. There were only CTB buses on the road, the buses belonging to public transport system run by the state. They were all painted  blood red ,with CTB logo on the either side of the body in blue. The colors of the parties of the ruling coalition, Blue for SLFP and red for leftist and communist parties.
The red was the prominent color; almost 95% of the bus bodies were red, probably because the government that owned and operated the buses had either communist parties or parties with  left leaning ideologies as their core partners. And those were the cold war days. Soviet Russia and America were leading two blocks against each other; the western block and Soviet block. Many people thought the days of the western block, the people who colonized us are numbered. The Soviet system is going to triumph over the decaying west  they were told.
Russians also beamed lots of propaganda on us, the former colonies that were intoxicated with euphoria of freedom. Masters of our own  we thought , marching forward to destinies that we deserve. I don’t know how, probably after just a registration, we used to receive a glossy periodical every fortnight ,free of charge , soviet deshaya ( soviet land) . Their cover page invariably  had a  robustly beautiful Russian girls beaming with happy smiles probably because of the contented life in the collective farms.  
Many, I have no doubts, became enchanted with those propaganda and became ardent  Russian devotees. For them Soviet Russia and communism were synonyms, and it was a matter of time before Russia beat western block and establishes the world that has no poor and neither rich , a proletarian state where everybody is  equal. There was no television then, there was state radio that told the citizenry that it was the case, that the  western imperialist are retreating and future will be ours under the patronage of great soviet power.
The state radio , Srilanka broadcasting cooperation , had two channels; the commercial channel and classical channel. Classical channel was mostly serious discussions , patriotic and religious songs, and songs that were considered sort of eastern and higher class. On the other hand the commercial channel had the songs that people like to listen to, serialized dramas and also commercials. Two most popular programs on commercial channel were muwanpalassa on Wednesdays late in the evening and the pibidena gaayaka parapura sponsored by Dasa industries of Kelaniya, on Sunday around lunch time.
 Delta toffee , Bata , I think used the radio for advertising mostly during sixties and seventies. SLBC known as Colombo radio I have heard has had a regular program called Binaca GeethMala especially beamed to  Indian audience. This programe was sponsored by an Indian company and had been very popular among  Indians those days, in fifties ,sixties and seventies, I suppose. I faintly remember In 1980 when I was in Kerala , a shop keeper during casual conversation  told me that Binaca geethmala is very popular there and Ceylon radio has better radio coverage there and  moreover the collection of Hindi songs in Ceylon radio is much richer than Indian radio. When it is about something good about your country , even if it is trivial thing like that it would be impeded in your memory , I suppose.  

I checked recently and found that this radio count down show of top Hindi songs was  run by Ceylon Radio from  1952 and was a very popular, perhaps most popular radio musical programe in the sub continent with estimated 100 million listenership of 100 million. In 1988 the show has been shifted to All India radio and since then has  changed the name several times. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and simple writing skill. I was amazed to hear that Kerala could listen to SLBC

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ජාතියක ආරක්ෂාව ස්ථාපිත කිරීම ඕනෑම රජයක මුලික වගකීමකි. ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව යනු රජය එහි පාර්ලිමේන්තුවත් එකතුව තමන් සතුව තිබෙන දේශපාලන , රාජ්...