- Radio is not just sound, it is feeling. Don’t know in which moments he is the companion. Childhood, adolescence, youth, mature age or old age, everyone is influenced by radio, its announcer, programs and songs played on it. Rejuvenate your connection with this magical instrument today, February 13, on the occasion of Radio Day…
Many times in my career in radio, I have come across people who have had a deep connection with sound. I will never forget that day in 1996 when on a rainy day I stood at a PCO talking to my father. I ended the conversation and asked the PCO operator, ‘Brother, how much money?’ Then I noticed that this is the booth of a blind person. Before giving the money, he suddenly asked, ‘Are you Yunus Khan?’
I said – ‘Yes yes.’ He asked, ‘Vivid Bharati wale?’ I agreed again. All of a sudden my attention went to how this person came to know. I asked, ‘Brother, how do you know me?’ Pointing to one side, he showed his transistor and said, ‘This is our partner. We keep on listening the whole day. That’s why when I heard you talking to my father on the phone, I immediately recognized your voice.’ What happened after that was quite poignant. The person said can I touch you and see. I know that for blind people, touch is their eyes, so I immediately agreed. He came out of the booth and touched my face with his hands to imagine what I looked like. It was a very emotional experience for me.
Radio in India is, in fact, not just a machine. It is a connection, a relationship, an emotion and a magician of sweet feelings for all age groups.
Radio in the freedom movement
In August 1942, Usha Mehta, a twenty-two-year-old student of Wilson College in Mumbai, started a secret radio station. His first announcement was – ‘On 42.34 meters we are speaking from Congress Radio from some unknown place in India’. Messages from national leaders were broadcast through Congress Radio. Azad Hind Radio was started broadcasting from Germany in 1942 under the leadership of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Later Azad Hind Radio was moved to Singapore and Rangoon due to World War. Azad Hind Radio was a multilingual channel. In which broadcast was done in English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Pashto and Urdu.
Mahatma’s speech in Akashvani
After getting independence, on 11 November 1947, Mahatma Gandhi had to come from Pakistan to meet the people living in refugee camps in Kurukshetra. But due to some reason he had to cancel his program. So he decided to address these people through All India Radio. This day is also important because on this day Mahatma Gandhi came to Akashvani for the first and last time. This historical recording of his is available today on the YouTube channel of All India Radio. In memory of this incident, November 11 is celebrated as ‘Public Service Broadcasting Day’.
Three decades, three times, precious memories
Not every house has a radio, but everyone used to wait for 8 o’clock on Wednesday night. A huge crowd would gather in any house, shop or restaurant where there was a radio, and people would listen to a golden voice resounding on the radio. ‘Sisters and brothers, this is your friend Amin Sayani speaking. And now the Sartaj song of this year’s annual hit parade of Binaka Geetmala. The sound of the bugle echoed and then Amin Sayani would say, ‘ Yeh sisters and brothers is the song of the film Sooraj. It is sung by Mohammed Rafi. And then it would ring – shower flowers in the spring…. Wherever people were, they would have clapped.
The Indian cricket team goes on a tour of the West Indies under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar. A new opening batsman has come, Sunil Gavaskar – he hits four centuries and a double century in this tour. The Indian cricket team, captained by Garry Sobers, thrashes the dreaded West Indies 1-0 in a five-Test series. People see neither day nor night. Stick to Transistor and listen to the commentary with bated breath. Radio is the heartbeat of their hearts. People ask each other – ‘Brother what is the score’.
I remember school days, then I had to walk from home to school. Radio was playing in every house. We used to understand by listening to the sound that ‘Sangeet Sarita’ has started. It means it is late today. Then only the sound of the radio used to give an idea of the time. In the afternoon, Vividh Bharti’s ‘Manchahe Geet’ program reverberates in the streets- ‘This song has been requested by Chintu, Pintu, Neetu, Raju and Tinku from Jhumri Tilaiya… Listen to the song of the movie Karz on your request . Anand Bakshi is the lyricist and Laxmikant-Pyarelal is the music composer.
radio will create a peaceful world
UNESCO celebrates ‘World Radio Day’ on 13 February every year. Every twelve years it has a theme. This year’s theme is Radio and Peace. There is currently a war going on in many parts of the world and due to this many people have to go to other countries as refugees. That’s why it is expected that a new peaceful world will be established through radio. Radio will continue to bring news and entertainment to the people as usual even in difficult circumstances. February 13 was chosen because it was on this day in 1946 that United Nations Radio was launched. It was time to rebuild the world after the world war. However, the beginning of radio in the world was much earlier than this. The world’s first public radio broadcast was made on 13 January 1910 in New York. Radio came to India seventeen years later. Mumbai Radio-Station was inaugurated on 23 July 1927. That’s why ‘National Broadcasting Day’ is celebrated in India on 23 July. Means India’s own Radio-Day.
All India Radio Signature Tune
Those who have been listening to All India Radio are very well aware of a voice. This is the voice that has been used to start radio broadcasts every morning, the signature tune of All India Radio. The general belief is that Pandit Ravi Shankar or Pandit VG Jog created this signal-sound. But this is not true. Some people also say that Thakur Balwant Singh composed this signature tune of All India Radio in the year 1936. This is also not true. Then what is the truth? In fact, this priceless, timeless, unique and extraordinary ‘signature-tune’ of All India Radio was composed by Czechoslovakia-born composer Walter Kaufmann. In the thirties, Walter Kaufmann was working as a composer in the western music department of Bombay All India Radio. During that time he composed this tune. You can hear tanpura, violin and viola in this tune. Some scholars of music even say that this tune has the sound of Omkar-Naad resonating in the universe. And this thing also seems to be correct. Let us also tell you that in reality Walter Kaufman was a great personality of western classical music. This tune was included in one of his ‘Sonata’. Later it was cut and made the signal sound of All India Radio. It is said that Kaufman later made a slight change in it. In my research I also came to know that the violin in this tune was played by Mehli Mehta, the father of world famous orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta.
Programs are nursery of talents
I remember that in my childhood days in Bhopal, I used to participate in the children’s program Balsabha, not realizing that one day Zindagi ki Raahen would take me to the radio studio. But perhaps the seed of broadcast would have sprouted only then. I got connected with Yuvvani during college days and from there I decided to make radio my career. All India Radio has been a nursery of talents in true sense. Don’t know how many film and theater actors, singers, musicians and writers have come out from here. There is a long list of artists like Madan Mohan, Roshan, Pandit Narendra Sharma, Rohini Hatangadi, Shaukat Azmi, Chhaya Ganguly, Kabban Mirza who emerged from the world of All India Radio and lighted the way of films. Countless litterateurs have been working in radio and they have also enriched this world with their works.
Today, apart from all the channels of All India Radio, private radio stations are also active in India. Now it is not necessary to have a radio set. Although even today I have seen people listening to programs on radio sets with enthusiasm in villages, but now on mobile either through FM or through an app you can connect to all the important radio stations of the world. Almost all radio stations also have their own internet service. For example, you can listen to all the important centers of All India Radio through the mobile app ‘News on Air’. This app is available on both Android and iOS. The most amazing thing is that any Bengali-speaking, Odia or Tamil person settled abroad can listen to the programs of his region and his language through the app in any corner of the world and stay connected with his culture. Apart from this, on the www.radio.garden website, you can enjoy listening to radio stations in any language from any corner of the world. This new technology is amazing. It was not like this earlier.
The world of radio is wonderful. People commuting to work battling traffic in cities or housewives or elders at home, hostel students, people living in remote areas, forests… Radio divides everyone’s time, removes everyone’s loneliness Voices illuminate their world with entertainment and information. Let’s join hands with radio and create a better world.
Independence was declared on the radio
On the midnight of August 15, 1947, when India was freed from the chains of slavery, the first Prime Minister of India Pt. Nehru gave a speech on this occasion which is known as ‘Tryst with Destiny’. In those days there was a valve radio on which people heard that speech. Radio was also installed in the schools. On that day, the notes of Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai also echoed on the radio.
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