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Urdu to have two channels…finally
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

The English part reads as: Greetings on Eid and New year, The choicest we extend your way, While hoping to be the first in bringing alight your world each day, With those dreams, challenges, endeavours and fruits, the century about to unfold, With its stories unheard, untold, with its moement made of gold, Santosh Bhartiya, CEOIt is great news for the lovers of the beautiful Urdu. The long wait seems to be finally over and now it looks as if we are finally going to have TV channels, two in one go, of our own on the idiot box. A great news indeed. 

The proposed channel is going to flash on our TV sets by the end of February. And if the promoters are to be believed, the two channels will give other channels a run for their money. They are also claiming that a number of TV channels have approached them so far in order to collaborate with them.

The idea is to launch twin channels of Al-Hind and Falak TV. The promoters say that the Falak TV will be a round-the-clock entertainment channel. But it will not be entertainment alone on Falak TV; it will also offer constructive activities through its entertainment programmes. It will present entertainment programmes for every age-group. It is also claimed that the channel would be a soothing experience for everyone watching the programmes. Falak TV will not give way to pornography and will resist any pressure in this regard.

Al-Hind is going to be a news channel: a voice for the voiceless, as claimed by the promoters. They add that Al-Hind will present the news in true perspective and will not play with facts. It too will be a round channel for news. When The Milli Gazette approached Dr Manzoor Alam, the executive vice president of the two channels, and asked as to what he means by claiming it to be a voice of the voiceless, he said that though it will aim at every segment of the society it will give more attention to the minorities and the oppressed sections of society.

It was in the air for long that Falak is going to be launched, but it is first time that it looks as if it is going to be a reality at last. The promoters say that Urdu, the language of a large number of the population in the Sub-continent, is being neglected by all and is not being given its due in the society. The promoters also claim that despite great services of the language in promoting communal harmony it is not given its true place in the Indian society. It is said that the twin channels will help create an atmosphere of communal harmony and love for all. 

It is somewhat amazing that instead of launching one TV channel to start with, the promoters are launching two at a time. When the same question was posed to the executive vice president of the channel, he said that a number of organizations have several TV channels, and it is not something new. When asked about its financial viability, he said that it is viable financially and added that Arthur and Anderson have done a work on that and found it firmly financially viable.

Several TV channels have now started Urdu news programmes on their channels. Jain TV, Enadu in Andhra Pradesh and several others have recently been in news to start Urdu programmes on their channels. When asked about the need of such an exclusive channel, Dr Manzoor Alam said that there is no exclusive Urdu channel in the country, despite the fact that Urdu is the language of a large number of people in the Sub-continent. He says that Urdu programs are only a part of these channels. Hence there is great need for an exclusive Urdu channel. He says that there is no dearth of quality and qualification in Muslims but these remain unutilized or under-utilized. Urdu has played a vital role in the freedom struggle and it has its significance in playing its role in building religious harmony in the country. 

In the meantime, the promoters have claimed that they have completed around two third works in this respect. Now they are on a hiring spree. They are claiming that they are hiring best professionals from the industry. A half page advertisement was inserted a few weeks back in the Times of India. The feed-back form different sources say that response is more than overwhelming. Several journalists including Qamar Waheed Naqvi, former chief editor of Aaj Tak, are reported to have joined the yet to be launched channel. 

The list of directors include Dr Manzoor Alam of the IOS, exporter Siraj Quraishi, Syed Khalil, Mumbai businessman Fakhruddin Khorakiwala, Lucknow Shia leader Maulana Kalb-e-Sadiq and Maulana Salman Nadawi, a teacher in the Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow. No senior journalist is on its panel of directors. Asked as to how they will run the channel with no expertise of their own, Dr Manzoor Alam said that they are hiring efficient people for the job and they will give them a programme to run the business. Former union information minister CM Ibrahim is in the forefront in promoting the channels. Santosh Bharati, said to be a 'well-known journalist,' is appointed its CEO but his Eid card (above) speaks volumes about his proficiency in both English and Urdu! Good luck Falak and Al-Hind and pity for the Gulf simpletons who are ready to squander their money on white elephants!
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