Of Third Radio Station
Where did that third one come from?
NOSTALGIA BY ZGM
It was winter. I and my peers were having all the thrill of long winter vacations. Like all previous years, I had drawn a daily time table for my studies and pasted it on my writing desk. I followed the time table, more particularly the breaks religiously to the dot. At 1.30, without fail I made it to the main crossing in our locality for sitting on a shop front with my friends. There was a loudspeaker of a community radio set installed on top of a grocers shop at the crossing. For many years listening to a mid-day most popular film song program of Radio Kashmir on a shop front had been one of the best winter pastimes for me and my peers. The previous winter, this routine had got punctured because of the agitation against the theft of the Holy Relic from the Hazratbal Shrine. The community radio was silenced, after loudspeaker fixed on top of the grocers shop was pulled down by the agitating youth. It was I think after six months that a new loudspeaker was installed and the community radio that remained permanently tuned to Radio Kashmir had started working.
I and my friend loved film music. Many of my friends remembered every detail, names of the lyrists and music directors and year of composition about hundreds of songs. But it never meant that we were not conscious about the ongoing political developments in the state. True, to adage that every child in our part of the city is ‘child of resistance’ born with a stone in his hand, despite being a happy-go-lucky lot we not only remained up to date with the political developments in the state but ready to respond to the commands from the leaders. On shop fronts we talked about leaders and politics in the same breath as we talked about the films, songs, actors and actresses.
Many a time I admired some leaders as we adored some matinee idols for their chivalrous and courageous role in some films. In my innocence I sometimes looked at our leaders playing as good a role as matinee idol Dilip Kumar in some patriotic theme films like Shaheed. Some leaders for a halo around them were really more than super heroes for majority of us and we took their statements as good as the commandments.
As the winter vacations ticked on and my preparations for the annual examinations that were scheduled somewhere in April progressed, I hardly realized that a spring and summer of great political events was waiting for us that could take a toll of our studies for months together.
The events in fact started unfolding somewhere in middle of January when a towering Plebiscite Front leader announced a ‘social boycott’ against the political party in power and what it described as those ‘collaborating’ with India and working against the movement for right to self-determination. In this column sometime back I did write how I and other children in our locality had taken this diktat from the Hazratbal pulpit as ‘heavenly’ commandment’. And with every passing day the ‘social boycott’ campaign was not only gathering strength but spreading from town to town and village to village and much before schools and college opened it had assumed the dimension of a mass movement. There were lots of stories about the friends snapping ties with friends, father severing relations with son, barbers refusing doing haircut , bakers denying selling bread to those named as ‘collaborators’. I do remember that as children we enjoyed this much talked about high drama of ‘social boycott’ in our locality without understanding its political connotations and ramifications. Little did we know that this innocuous movement of not shaking hands with those that did not sang the same song as the overwhelming majority would make the government to invoke the Defense of India Rules against thousands of people?
The schools and colleges opened on first March and it was barely after a week that one after another political events took a toll of our schooling. In second week of March about thousands of political leaders and workers belonging to different organizations were arrested. The top leadership of the Plebiscite Front as a historian has recorded was on ‘foreign trip to meet various international leaders’ for roping in support for their political movement. The Front had appointed Sufi Muhammad Akbar as its acting President. Sufi Muhammad Akbar was also arrested along with thousands other and the baton of leadership was passed on to Munshi Muhammad Ishaq yet another honest, upright leader of the party who lived in a nearby locality.
I don’t remember, in the wake of these arrests for how many days school remained closed but I do remember that the dates of our examinations were not altered and results were also announced as scheduled. It was after the second week of May when students from colleges and schools started converging on the roads and with every passing days the students agitation in Srinagar and other major towns of the valley gained from strength to the strength, it in fact was overtaken by the widespread rumors on 5th August about ‘armed men’ from the other part of Kashmir having crossed and arrived in the outskirts of Srinagar. Many a real and mythical stories about these armed men dominated the street discourses in our part of the state. And people in the new scenario had started looking for news heroes-names and tales of some of these names survive in my memory to this day.
In this new bizarre scenario the loudspeaker on the crossing again fell silent as the grocer that operated the public radio switched it off and its place was taken over by “Sada-e-Kashmir’, (Voice of Kashmir).
This radio station started its transmission in with a theme song that often resonates even today all over Kashmir Valley; ‘Aay Marad-e-Mujhaid Jag zara Ab Waqat-e- Shahadat Hay Aaya’.
I still remember the curiosity that this third radio station had aroused amongst the people. People used to debate its location and eulogized its announcers for their presentation. No sooner in the evening this radio station started its transmission people glued their ears to their radio sets and tried to remember every word broadcast from it for sharing with others. The clarion calls for armed struggle made from this radio station were interspersed with beautifully composed patriotic songs. Some of the songs from this radio station had become so popular that for some years they were sung in chorus in some schools at the morning assemblies and in fact replaced some popular film numbers in the lanes and by lanes of my part of city.
I don’t remember when this third radio station closed its transmission.
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Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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