Indians mutiny over TV

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Warning! In Bombay, beware of falling televisions. Families are protesting against vulgar and boring programmes by heaving their sets out of the window, hacking them to splinters of glass and plastic, burning or simply selling them.

Dozens or possibly even hundreds have flown out of Bombay's tower blocks over the past few weeks. Most smashers are followers of a local Muslim preacher, Maulana Abdul Rehman Korakiwala, who denounces the tube as "Satan's tool". Thousands of residents ofthe Gulshan Co-operative Housing Society and the Momin Gujarat Society, estates in the affluent Versova district, have closed their eyes to insipid American soap operas.

One tele-basher, Abida Begum, said: "Our children were being corrupted. They would not study. Instead of going to prayers, they were interested only in watching Hindi film songs."

"Destroying the television, is sweeter revenge than jumping channels or just switching off," said Safira Ali Mohammed, one of the first to rebel. "One night, I and my husband and my two children went to the bedroom, disconnected the wires and carried ourtelevision to the edge of the window. All of us pushed it out of the window together. Since we were on the third floor, there was a tremendous crashing sound. Many neighbours rushed out. Nobody made adverse comments. We set the trend of throwing out thetelevision and many followed."

"The television junkers are not poor or illiterate, the simple prey of religious zealots, but the middle class who place a high value on education and family cohesion," said Amrita Shah, a writer who specialises on the Indian media. "After so many years of state-controlled television, there's been an explosion of programmes coming from abroad."