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Everyone born in the 1990′s remembers Meena as a part of their childhood.
Meena was a face that graced the televisions – and minds – of all children regardless of whether they lived in the city or in a village.
This little girl was liked equally by the child who watched a shared television in a village square, and the tiny pampered royalties with television sets in their own rooms..
This is because Meena taught things universal to all children – learning how to count, remembering to wash hands before meals, demanding equal distribution of foods among girls and boys.
Meena brought together children growing up in a society riddled with inequality.
However, Meena’s stint on television during the later years has a bit of dubious nature. She is rarely seen around nowadays, and it cannot be really determined whether the cartoon is actually being shown.
Aminul Islam, currently head of programmes of GTV, and known best for his affiliation with Ekushey Television, claimed that he had not encountered this popular television show for a while.
“Meena’s popularity is immense. I had formerly worked in a television station in London, where I aired Meena. The response was very positive. The village girl appealed even to Bengali children growing up in a developed country,” he told The Daily Star.
There used to be more free air time to broadcast Meena before, since television stations devoted less time to advertisements, he said.
“We do not even find sponsors for children’s programmes, which is funny seeing that a whole range of children’s products air advertisements on television,” he said.
Often programmes have to be dropped from slots, and Meena could be shown in their stead, he suggested.
Aminul also added that GTV plans to devote more time to programmes for children, and Meena.
Parvez Chowdhury, head of programmes in Desh Television told The Daily Star that UNICEF should sit with television stations and discuss how long the episodes should be.
“Many episodes of Meena do not match our time slots. We often end up giving a much larger time slot just to fit in a few extra minutes, and then we have to think about how to fill up the extra time,” he said.
Meena often also coincides with the commercial interests of television stations, he added.
“We are however eager to perform our social responsibility,” said Parvez.
Shamim Shahed, programme head of Bangla Vision, believes Meena does still receive some amount of airtime.
“Airing the cartoon raises our Target Rating Points, an assessment of the number of viewers subscribing to the television channel. Meena makes television stations more popular,” he said.
However, Shamim believes that Meena should undergo a change to incorporate the crises of our rapidly urbanizing society.
“Meena must visit the city, and portray problems that are faced by the children of urban areas,” said Shamim.
UNICEF must also devote itself in making more episodes, since right now the series has been exhausted several times, he added.
In 2011-2012, six new Meena episodes were produced and two are being produced in 2013.
The Department of Mass Communication of the Ministry of Information through all the 68 District Information Offices screens Meena at the community level throughout the year.