We live in a transitional/evolutionary society—a society that is in transition from developing to developed stage. In this stage, various institutions of the society are evolving from passivity to activity and from specificity to diversity.

Media as one of the main institutions of the society is also evolving and diversifying. However, new forms of media have not completely eliminated the old forms. Even when new forms of media are mushrooming, the folk and alternate media is still relevant, more so in some specific areas.

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Development is one such specific area where folk and alternate media play a crucial role in target-based communication with people.

Issues like polio immunization, family planning, AIDS control, construction of toilets, dowry control — without which development cannot take place — can be targeted through folk and alternate media.

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For example, village specific “folk plays” with actors performing plays on how dowry is a curse not just for the parties involved but also for the society in general can be organised. Rural people who are less literate are attracted to these plays and these can be used to create strong graphical pictures in their minds.

Similarly, folk plays on the negative consequences of population explosion can be organised to communicate to the rural masses. These plays are known to leave a lasting impression on the audience. Moreover wall graffiti, in rural villages, depicting “happy small families” are no less significant alternate media for rural people.

Furthermore, social movement media, which is popularly used alternate media with informal groups and organisations, can be made use of to address developmental issues such as dowry-elimination. NGO’s like IWWF can be engaged with dowry-victims. Case specific identification and rehabilitation, such as visiting the victims and working on a specific rehabilitation programme can be done.

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Such types of programmes can be organised for rural illiterate women, married women as well as for the women in their active reproductive stage in rural areas where they have least access to state sponsored development agencies and institutions.

Folk and alternate media, when properly practised and communicated, is of course a break from corporate dominated mainstream media and can verily be used to reach the marginalised individuals and groups who are the real stakeholders in development programmes.

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