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Your daily news bulletin broadcast from bed.

IT WAS dawn at Sui village in the desert district of Bikaner, Rajasthan. The village was slowly stirring to life when a voice broke the stillness.

It reminded the villagers to visit the house of Chaudhary Ratiram to observe the 12th day ritual of his death.

The sound was coming out of a public address ( PA) system. Try to locate its source and you'll come across Shishupal Singh.

Lying in bed, Shishupal is busy reading the newspaper and relaying it to the villagers through his PA system.

For the 700 odd families living in Sui, Shishupal is the one- man ' ministry of information and broadcasting'. The 61- year- old is bedridden for the past 20 years, having suffered a spinal cord injury after falling from an electric pole.

He was trying to fix a fuse when he received a shock and fell.

Shishupal was taken to places such as Bikaner, Jaipur and Hissar for treatment.

But none of it helped and he became bedridden.

It, however, failed to dampen his spirit.

Once when a representative from Urmul, a Bikaner- based NGO, visited him, Shishupal requested him to arrange for a PA system.

Since then, he has become the one- man community radio of his village.

Nowadays, Shishupal relays newspaper and TV headlines, informs the people about the medical camps to be held in the village and gives lessons on the importance of cleanliness, population control and the wisdom of leading a religious life.

It is his PA system that informs the people about the date and time of village meetings. And when someone loses a goat or cow, the person approaches Shishupal to air the news on his ' lost- andfound bulletin'. Neither is the news timing fixed, nor the number of times he goes on air. But " the early morning bulletin is a must for me", Shishupal said.

" Otherwise, whenever I feel a particular piece of information must be aired, I pick up the microphone and relay it," he added.

sudhanshu.mishra@mailtoday.in

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Apr 7, 2010
Words:350
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