All India Radio Nostalgia
By PAVAN KAUSHIK
Many of us have set our wrist watch by listening to the 8 a.m. national news on the All India Radio. That sound of Bip Bip Bip before news was enough indicator to make the listeners alert for the news. It has been decades now. The thunderous voice of news readers like Devki Nandan Pandey or Ramanasingh Prasad Singh or Indu Ramanuj Prasad Singh or Vinod Kashyap have sent shivers in our ears.
I happen to be attached with All India Radio for long many years – you can say since childhood. Rather, I did my first programme on All India Radio in the year 1976, when I was just about 10 years. Beginning as a child artist, I would wait for my name to be called by the anchor of children’s programme, to be recognized by my parents. Later I graduated to become a radio artist and did almost 3,000 programs. I even wrote and directed many radio programmes.
One day I was accompanying my father, who had been an established script writer, in the All India Radio building. After seeing a man clad in simple Kurta Pajama, he suddenly stopped and asked me to touch his feet. I knew nothing about the person so was reluctant. My father looked at me and that was enough for me to bend down and touch the feet of this simple gentleman. As I touched his feet, up came his hand for blessings – “Jeete Raho Beta, Khush Raho”. These five words shook-up my entire body and I immediately recognized this voice. He was Devki Nandan Pandey – the legendry and ace Hindi news reader of All India Radio. I could not believe I was seeing him so closely. There was no relation between his simplicity with his fan-following. Entire India listened to him every morning.
My father told me once Pandey Ji left, many would come and read news in All India Radio. May be at one point, television will take-over Radio, but there would be none who whose voice could be heard as thunderous as Devki Nandan Pandey or any of the news readers like Ramanasingh Prasad Singh or Indu Ramanuj Prasad Singh or Vinod Kashyap.
It has been years and years and I don’t know when was the last time I switched on the radio to hear the news on All India Radio. We might not be a radio listener any more, but even today, All India Radio news is one of the most authentic news of all times – no sensation and no dramatization – simple news for information and knowledge.
When was the last time you heard Vivid Bharti, “Yeh Vivid Bharti Ka Vigyapan Karyakram Hai…” Can anyone forget this line ever?