23 September, 2020

Mystifying Signals

Understanding the TV boom

Mystifying Signals

THE images that flicker across our television screens day in and day out know no boundaries. As we approach the threshold of a new millennium, they have acquired the power to significantly alter the way we perceive the world around us, indeed the very way we order our lives. Given that undeniable fact, very few coherent attempts have been made to assess the awesome impact that television infotainment—transmitted non-stop from "borderless skies" into millions of homes across the nation by a wide variety of domestic and international channels—has had on post-Independence India. Switching Channels is surely one of those rare essays.

A book as slim as Nilanjana Gupta's is perhaps not the ideal vehicle to trace the role that television has played in our nation's encounters with modernity, but her study, both in the modest range of its stated ambition and the precision of its execution, presents just about the perfect introduction to a subject that is as vast as it is complex.

But it can be no more than an introduction. On her part, Gupta, a reader in Jadavpur...



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