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Bajpai, Anandita

Material Lives of Cold War Radio Pasts in India


Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01439685.2023.2256128

his article explores radio’s material legacies by exclusively focussing on the trajectories of radio-objects, which travelled between foreign broadcasting stations and their Indian listeners during the Cold War years. The presence of such objects in listeners’ homesteads/private collections even today and their affective relationship(s) to them can enable us to examine how radio materially permeated the larger social fabric of listeners’ everyday lives, not just through sound but also a plethora of things. Zooming in on gifts, souvenirs, letters, photographs and memorabilia, the article shows how radio-objects enabled Indian listeners to perform difference and distinction locally, to imagine and experience foreign countries through landscape-objects, to establish networks of South-South epistolary exchange, and to ‘see’ both co-listeners and radio hosts through travelling photographs.