Desi Radio by and for the Panjabi Community: Citizens' Media, Gender, and Participation
Nazan Haydari adddresses the question of how Panjabi women negotiate their gender, and Panjabi identities in interplay with their participation in radio production. Desi Radio, the project of the Panjabi Centre located in Southall, West London, was started in 2002 to promote Panjabi culture, and language. Building dialogue among the community constitutes the main philosophy of the station by questioning the political divide between East and West Panjab, religious divide of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh, gender inequality, and cast division. Desi Radio is run by the volunteers, and Panjabi women of the community constitute the majority. This paper is based on participant observation, interviews with women producers, and the founders of the station. Through the citizens' media framework by Clemencia Rodriguez, it is argued that Desi Radio creates a collective communication process for women to build new relationships, gain new skills and perspectives about their own capabilities, feel empowered, and become more conscious of their gender and Panjabi identities. Music and language play an important role to claim a Panjabi identity beyond the divisions of cast, gender, politics, and religion.