Traditional media means the mediums through which the cultural traits passed from generation to generation. Keeping in view their intimacy, as they are very close to the heart of the people, folk media prove to be powerful tools of communication in the rural society.
Furthermore, the traditional media is available to all and enjoyed by persons of different age groups generally at very low cost. The most important advantage of folk media is its flexibility in day to day life and it can be introduced into traditional folk from art such as wall paintings, puppet show, folk songs, dances, dramas, melas and festivals, munadi, bioscope, proverbs, riddles, story telling, tamasha, nautanki etc. Thus, the folk art forms play a prominent role in rural development.
Traditional forms of entertainment have been used to further programmes of development since 1954 after it was discovered that they could be used to present developmental message as well. The song and Drama Division was set up as an arm of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting with the responsibility of harmonizing the country's performing arts for the development of communication and it works in close cooperation with the field publicity offices which arrange various programmes.
The traditional media plays an important role in extension education. The great task of extension education is to impart a desirable controlling influence on others through the use of effective extension teaching methods. It is better to have an inventory of the locally available and familiar traditional media for possible utilization in the field of agricultural communication. A proper blending of the traditional media with the electronic media is a welcome step in this direction. besides, occasions such as agricultural fairs, farmers' days, exhibitions, fertilizer campaigns etc. can be used by the development agencies as forum do disseminate agricultural innovations through traditional media to the farming community.
The folk art forms satisfy the innate desire for self-expression and also satisfy mans need for moral instruction combined with entertainment. In contrast with the electronic media, it preserves and disseminates in a lively manner the traditions and culture of our forefathers. Indian folk forms have a generous mix of dialogue, dance, songs, clowning etc. So it is a very important method of communicating agricultural technology to the farmers and for the benefit of rural development programmes.
The important characteristics of the traditional media are (1) the accessibility of traditional media is very wide; (2) it involves more than one sense; (3) the potential for cognitive gain retention is possible but restricted; (4) potential for effective change in the attitude of the people is high; (5) there is no change in the skill of the people; (6) the maintenance of particular message is not possible; (7) interest arousal capacity is very high; (8) range of mode choice is narrow; (9) less operational abilities and skill and (10) personal cost is not relevant.
Traditional media has greatest appeal to the masses and have qualities of touching the deepest emotions of the illiterate millions. Among these puppetry is believed to be the oldest form of popular theater in India. It is important for communicating technology to the farmers in the village life, its problems and solutions. Folk theatre form like Tamasha, Nautani, Keertana or Harikatha attract the rural audiences most, so people can be educated through the mediums to bring about desirable changes in their behavior. Street play is not like theater but it attracts a large number of people. The villagers have a great fascination for their folk dances and folk songs. Melas or country fairs are synonymous with joy and gaiety and in the rural areas where life follows a hard routine, nothing is more welcome to the people than the prospect of a festival and mela. Story telling has been one of the best and most commonly used method of instruction in informal education, religious propagation, rural development etc. Riddle is also and educational device through which elders sued to communicate knowledge. Proverbs which predominate in oral civilization represent the essence of rural wisdom and knowledge. Bioscope is also a popular folk medium sued for entertainment and for propagation of information on education, agriculture etc.
The traditional medial should be an integral part of nay rural development programme, Wherever possible, it should be integrated with the modern mass media, but in all cases integration with the ongoing extension work is vital. There is big gap between the modern scientific knowledge and the knowledge possessed by the common masses. This gap is to be bridged by communicating effectively the developmental information to the rural masses. The messages communicated through the traditional media gain access to the mind through audio and video effects. The use of the eyes and the mind produces a sense of richness in meaning on the individuals. This mental reaction is both intellectual and emotional. They create a high degree of interest and make learning more permanent. The poorest man had access to his culture, expressed either in story, poem, play, song, custom, rituals or a variety of other forms of characteristics of folk culture. As these are face to face interaction between the conveyor and the recipient, there is scope for clarification of doubts and acquisition of full information. The influence on the recipient is lasting.
The employment of traditional media for effectively conveying rural developmental messages in a language and style that will be comprehended and lied by the rural people leads to spectacular results.