Radio pavilion, a reminder of elections in the past

Radio pavilion, a reminder of elections in the past

Bovikkanam: Another election has been announced, but a curious sight that was an integral part the poll scene in the past will be missing. In olden days, people used to crowd around 'Radio pavilions' in each panchayat of Kerala in the morning and evening to listen to the news.

The radio pavilions were the source of information on election results and other news. There were also incidents in which supporters of the party that won the polls offering flowers to the pavilion.

With television and mobile phone taking over the task of dissemination of news, the radio pavilions fell into disuse. However, at some places, the structure still remains. One such spot is Bovikkanam town.

The radio pavilions were set up in all the panchayat during the 1970s as part of the silver jubilee celebrations of India’s Independence. They were meant to help local people hear All India Radio’s news bulletins. The news was broadcast two times a day – in the morning and evening. On some occasions, the radio pavilions also used to play music and cricket commentaries. Each panchayat had appointed operators to manage the pavilions.

The news in the radio was amplified using a mike and horn speaker for the benefit of the listeners. A large crowd used to gather around the pavilions as radio or even electricity was a luxury those days. The pavilions also served as the meeting place of friends.