AIR Guwahati – 71 years of an emotion

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-By Garima Das

All Indian radio (AIR) has just completed 71 years of its existence in Guwahati on July 01. AIR more popularly known as the Akashvani is not just a radio station but it is also an emotion for the people of Assam.

The Guwahati station of the national public radio broadcaster of India originated from the Shillong Guwahati Station which began its journey from the Commissioners Bungalow located in Uzanbazar Ghat. It started broadcasting from July 01, 1948.

Programmes such as ‘Goya Raijor Anusthan’ (Rural Programme), ‘Aideur Buloni’ (Women’s Programme) and ‘Akonir Mel’ (Children’s Programme), which are popular even today dates back to days of the inception of the station. The ‘Weekly Radio Drama’ and the fortnightly’ Musical Feature’ programmes were quite popular during the early days. The first musical feature programme was ‘Asomiya Maat’ by Dr. Bhupen Hazarika.

Mahendra Borthakur, Ananda Goswami and Nilu Chakravorty during a radio drama recording

It was on May, 1957 that the station had been relocated to its permanent campus at Chandmari.

Although Akashvani dominated as the medium of mass communication for almost 40 years, it has faced tough challenges from Television. Now with the advent of the age of internet, it has still not been able to wipe out the emotion connected with the term ‘radio’.

Akashvani is not just a radio station but an indicator of time. Each programme would tell what time of the day it is and people would according go on doing their work. From a wake up alarm to a good night’s lullaby, it served all purposes.

Not only among our elders, radio, is also popular among today’s youth. It has been able to curve a place of its own in their hearts.

Amlan Jyoti Saikia, a 21 year old digital journalist says, “Until a few years ago, I used to be an active listener of Akashvani Guwahati. For me, until I listen to the radio my day never started nor did it end without it.”

Further, speaking on how AIR shaped his town’s routine, he said, “’Tejore Kamalapati Paravate Ninda– the radio’s ‘Bandana’ program was the 6am call for the listeners. At 7:30am, ‘Jilikibo Luitore Paar’ had been aired for students and it was the time for children’s breakfast. When ‘Aanchalik Batori’ is aired at 9:00 am, the school goers would hurriedly finish off their food and take off for school; while mother finishes her kitchen chores listening to ‘Chitrageet’.”

“Radio is still the best medium for real-time discussions between people; it’s possible to hear the emotion in their voice (no need for smileys!)”, Amlan added.

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