I feel elated to tell you that I and follow Hindi blogger Shashi Singh have launched Podbharti, India’s first pure Hindi Podzine targeted towards Hindi audience in India and abroad, and providing a comprehensive coverage of News & Views about Indian language blogging, Tools & Technology, Current Affairs and the Entertainment Industry. Podbharti.com also declared a partnership with the popular English Podcast The Indicast, the association would see the benefit of collective ideas and content sharing bringing the best of both worlds to their listeners.

Aditya Mhatre and Abhishek Kumar, co-producers of The Indicast, are upbeat about the initiative as well as the tie-up. “There are lots of podcasts being done purely in French, Spanish etc, but there has been none in an Indian language, so it’s a great idea to produce a Hindi-centric podzine. Podbharti fills in a huge gap.”, said Aditya.

The idea of Podbharti took quite a long time to take shape. The Hindi blogosphere had been playing around with the idea since long, I am glad that the dream could take a shape now. Podbharti is a tribute to the growing strength of Indian languages on the net, bringing a podcast in your own language not only gives a sense of empowerment but also opens avenues for the spread of the language. "Of late Hindi blogging has started getting the much needed attention from the mainstream media. Through Podbharti we hope to add another dimension to the phenomenon and tell the world about this formidable force.", told Shashi.

Podcasting, seen as a corollary to Blogging, is an emerging trend in India, now slowly going mainstream. Podcast, a portmanteau of the phrase "Playable on Demand" (POD) and broadcast is not alien to Indians online, thanks to the increasing popularity and affordability of audio gadgets and portable media players. Growing number of India centric podcasts like IndiaTech and advent of community events like Podworks are testimony to the growing prowess.

It’s a fact that there are only a handful of quality Indian Podcasters around and they are all in English. Podbharti, as its tagline ‘Apni boli, Apni baat” goes, will be fresh breeze bringing shows in the language most of us Indians think in. Our Hindi would be simple but not flawed, good Hindi is so much better for the eardrums!

“We are aware that bandwidth is still an issue and our aim is to reach an audience that may not have the best hardware available to listen to us, therefore we will strive towards crisp programming with minimal audio file sizes, while not compromising with the quality and presentation style.”, said Shashi Singh.

Podbharti has a very distinct style of programming, the language is suave but simple and the show packaging is very professional. Initial commenters at the Podbharti website, who heard the first podcast, appreciated the radio-like quality and the professionalism. “I was really impressed with the voice and content quality. I remember that we had to scrap our first episode because the quality wasn't really that good. So Podbharti has started out really well”, Aditya told.

In its debut episode, Podbharti has presented a retrospective talk on Hindi blogging completing 4 years, where popular Hindi blogger Anup Shukla presents a bird’s eye view of the happenings in the blogosphere that has grown almost 25 times its size in 2003. Next, Ravi Ratlami, dedicated Hindi blogger and Technology enthusiast, presents a nipping primer on the Hindi Transliteration tool introduced recently by Google in its Blogger.com service. Last but not the least; Shashi Singh presents an interesting report, with quotes from the NDTV bloggers, on the recent Mohalla Controversy in the Hindi blogdom where discussions on communalism took an ugly turn adding bitterness to the whole debate. In the second episode, a Mother’s Day special, Shashi has a touching story on the children born in the redilight area of Pune.

The episodes at Podbharti could be downloaded as an MP3 file or listened to online at http://www.podbharti.com using the online players. The site also provides syndication feed enabling users to subscribe through podcatchers and listen to the podcasts at leisure.

Podbharti.com has ambitious plans charted out for its future programming. Both Shashi and me have been avid Hindi bloggers and being associated with several initiatives such as Hindi portal Lokmanch and Hindi Blogzine Nirantar respectively, we (probably) know what a Hindi net user expects. Podbharti will also serve as a platform for the Hindi net users to shout out to the netizens all over and would hopefully pave the way for increased use of Indian languages on the Internet.

For millions of net users who were longing for such content, a Hindi podcast would surely be music to the ears. So, as they say in the radio world, “Sunte rahiye, Podbharti”.