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In addition to broadcasts targeted at specific countries by language, there is a General Overseas Service broadcasting in English with 8¼ hours of programming each day aimed at a general international audience.
The external broadcasts were begun on 1 October 1939 by the British government to counter the propaganda of the Nazis directed at the Afghan people.
Akashvani Bhavan houses the Drama Section, the FM Section and the National Service. Ākāśavāni (आकाशवाणी) is a Sanskrit word meaning "celestial announcement," or "voice from the sky/heaven".
In Hindu, Jain and Buddhist holy traditions, Akashvanis often featured in stories as a medium of communication from the heavens to mankind.
During the British Raj, broadcasting began in July 1923 with programmes by the Bombay Presidency Radio Club and other radio clubs.
Television broadcasting began in Delhi in 1959 as part of AIR, but was split off from the radio network as Doordarshan on 1 April 1976.
All India Radio is the largest radio network in the world.
Its headquarters is at the Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi.
"Akashvani" was first used in the context of radio by M. Gopalaswamy after setting up the nation’s first private radio station in his residence, "Vittal Vihar" (about 200 yards from AIR’s current location in Mysore) in 1936.
Akashvani seemed to be an appropriate name for a radio broadcaster and was later adopted as All India Radio's on-air name in 1957.