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Asia

DW launches new Hindi program in India

DW's new Hindi-language program 'Manthan' brings the latest in German science and technology right to Indian living rooms.

The opening jingle of DW's new Hindi program has a future-esque sound to it - quite fitting for a program that aims at bringing the latest in science and technology from Germany to India.

"Manthan means 'brainstorming' and is fitting to the program, which covers important topics in science, technology and sustainable technology," explains DW's Editor-in-Chief for Regionalized Content Ute Schaeffer.

The program answers questions like how to clean water that has been contaminated with arsenic. And also why German health food stores tend to carry a lot of Indian products - questions of interest to both Indians and Germans.

DW's Editor-in-Chief for Regionalized Content Ute Schaeffer

DW's Editor-in-Chief for Regionalized Content Ute Schaeffer

Once per week, moderator Isha Bhatia greets her Hindi-speaking viewers and transports them out of their living rooms and into Germany for a half-hour.

"People equate Germany to Schumacher or Mercedes Benz or maybe even Steffi Graf. But otherwise, people [in India] don't really know much about Germany. The show gives Indians the opportunity to get to know Germany better," Bhatia explained.

Building bridges

German Ambassador to Indian Michael Steiner said that using science and lifestyle topics to close gaps between India its number-one trading partner in Europe was not only a good idea, but also of vital importance:

"If you allow me to be undiplomatic, I think the interest of the German media in India leaves much to be desired and vice versa as well. There is so much that happens in India that is quite relevant for us in Germany and the other way around, too, so I think a lot still needs to be done."

Isha Bhatia, Moderator of Manthan; Photo: Matthias Müller

Program moderator Isha Bhatia

Each Saturday, the half-hour program is broadcast by one of India's largest broadcasters Doordarshan, which literally means "distant sight." Doordarshan is a public service broadcaster; it was the first and for many years the only TV station available to the Indian public. Today, though the media landscape is much more competitive, Doordarshan still reaches millions of households on a daily basis.

Win-win situation

"Given the association of Germany in Indian minds with scientific research, and the like, this is going to be a very popular program," according to Doordarshan Director General Tripurari Sharan.

The program will be a good trade-off that has advantages for both sides - Indian technophiles will receive in-depth information on German state-of-the-art technology and Germany will get its foot in the door to one of the most competitive media landscapes in the world.