Sometimes you avoid taking note of an important development, treating it to be a passing affair-something born out of coincidence. However, that’s not always the case. The hindsight, sooner or later, proves beyond doubt that this development was part of some prevailing well-executed pattern. The people involved in projecting such pattern try their level best to make you feel as if all is taking place naturally but is it possible for a pregnant lady to hide her pregnancy status for long? There comes a point when you cannot lie any further.
I am great fan of Rafi but the way his songs are being played in atrocious manner, on the Vividh Bharati, really makes me sad. The Vividh Bharati has stooped down to all time low dirty manipulations, being dictated by propaganda, sponsored by people behind the curtain. The songs of Rafi are being virtually pushed down your throat 24/7. It appears Vividh Bharati is not in mood to tolerate even those listeners, who have somehow managed to boast of their affiliation with this great institution of yesteryear. It’s no secret that majority of listeners have already given way to other channels, being disappointed over its functioning style. Anyway, anyone aware of how the bureaucratic mind functions in this nation, are not at all surprised over the falling standards.
Not a long time ago, a beautiful female voice, probably from Indore, registered her protest in a strong way in one of the programmes based on listener’s choice. She said: ” You people ( the announcers) are constantly playing cheap numbers, all in the name of listener’s choice, but it appears to me that there’s more than meets the eye. It’s simply not possible that these tasteless numbers have replaced haunting melodies of yesteryear without shrewd maneuvering.” I was really inspired by her bold outburst but constraints of time prevented me from having a take on the whole issue in a strong way. Given the unholy nexus, which prevails inside the corridors of the Vividh Bharati, a strong protest has become need of the hour. That’s because silence at this moment would appear criminal. How can any conscious listener keep quiet, over this drama, taking place inside the studios of Vividh Bharati?
Earlier it appeared that royalty might be the reason why songs of Rafi were being played in this mindless fashion. However, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. At this point of time, when India stands on the threshold of embracing some bold changes, the old minds refuse to part ways with mediocre means, which keep intact their lust for power. Remember, when governments change, the premier government bodies also shift their loyalties. There is a major overhaul within all government bodies, and key positions get shifted to people in tune with the agenda of government. The same thing has taken place inside Vividh Bharati as well. It’s not presenting programmes: It’s sponsoring propaganda.What else could one assume after presentation of Baba Azmi- Shabana Azmi’s interview on the eve of Bhaiyya Dooj -a Hindu festival dedicated to celebration of bonding that exists between sisters and brothers?
If these dirty tricks were not enough, it now gave way to subtle form of marketing. Sample this: The interview of Aamir Khan was presented at a time when Aamir Khan’s movie was scheduled to be released the very next day. The interview which was in two parts, ended on November 29, 2012 and the movie Talash got released on November 30, 2012. Is that’s the way a government body should function in this nation, which boasts of secular credentials?
The job of government institution is to function in impartial manner, without offering undue advantage to any particular group in name of religion etc. After all, if the approach gets biased, how are we supposed to get real information? The Vividh Bharati is one of the few institutions, which enjoy close rapport with people living in remote areas of India, and so it’s an ideal medium to apprise people about key issues in honest manner, so that they can have real picture- the ultimate truth. But now I have every reason to believe that it’s now no longer reliable. More so, in the wake of Rafi madness, which has led to marginalization of all other geniuses in the world of movie and music. It has gagged the voice of other beautiful singers.
In fact, its foreign counterpart, Radio Ceylon, is performing superbly. Not only it’s sincerely devoted to the cause of music but also it’s picture of perfection in presentation of programmes. It’s not insensitive in suggesting conscious listeners that minting money is the first choice of commercial services! A senior journalist from my city, Allahabad, is pretty shocked about Vividh Bharati’s new-found love for lowering the volume of song and subsequent announcement of details, the moment a song gets played. Above all, he is unhappy with the current lot of announcers, who have little patience for presentation of necessary details. Unfortunately, his demand to make the presentation of details, for one more time, at the end of each song, has fallen on deaf ears.
Anyway, if one is unsure about the credibility of facts presented in this article, why not tune in to Vividh Bharati and check out the facts for yourself? And, I am sure listeners would not fail to notice insipid Rafi numbers, vulgar modern numbers, programme carved to sell a product, or if all these three are missing, then be prepared to be tortured by a repeat telecast! I think it’s time for the Vividh Bharati to have a new name: Vigyapan Bharati or Rafi Bharati! Anyway, it’s time for sincere lovers of Vividh Bharati to find solace in singing of Begum Akhtar, crooning straight from the heart “Aye Mohabbat Tere Anzam Pe Rona Aaya”.
कभी कभी आप चीजों को आप ये कह के गौर नहीं करते कि चलिए हो सकता है ये महज एक इत्तेफाक हो। लेकिन आप ध्यान दे तो आप पायेंगे कि सब में एक वीभत्स पैटर्न शामिल है। कोशिश लोगो की जो इस पैटर्न को परदे के पीछे रह के चला रहे है ये यही होती है कि आपको खबर न लगने पाए मगर एक प्रेग्नेंट औरत कब तक ये झूठ बोल सकती है कि डिलीवरी जैसी कोई बात नहीं। मै खुद रफ़ी के गीतों को बहुत पसंद करता हूँ पर ये रफ़ी के नाम पर जो तमाशा विविध भारती पर हो रहा है वो दुखद है। हद हो गयी है कि किसी न किसी बहाने रफ़ी के गीतों को प्रोग्राम कोई हो आप पे थोप दिया जा रहा है। शायद विविध भारती अपने बचे खुचे श्रोताओ को भी अपने चैनल से भगाना चाहता है। सरकारी दिमाग ऐसे ही काम करते है।
बहुत पहले किसी महिला श्रोता ने सुंदर आवाज़ में पर बुलंद तरीके से अपनी शिकायत एक फरमायशी प्रोग्राम में रखी थी जो शायद इंदौर से थी कि “विविध भारती पे आप जो ये लगातार नए गीत ये कह के बजा रहे कि लोगो ने आपसे कहे है ये सब मुझे सुनियोजित लगता है क्योकि इतने बड़े पैमाने पे लगातार सिर्फ इसी टाइप के फूहड़ नए गीतों का बार बार बजना और अच्छे पुराने गीतों का बिल्कुल ही गायब हो जाना ये सिर्फ लोग ऐसा चाहते है ये ही एक वजह नहीं हो सकती।” उस की बातो से मै पूरी तरह से इत्तेफाक रखता था क्योकि मुझे भी ऐसा एहसास हो चला था। पर समयाभाव के कारण कुछ लिख नहीं पाया और बात आई गयी हो गयी। लेकिन अब लगता है कि विविध भारती ने सभ्य हदों को पार कर दिया है सो ख़ामोशी अब क्रिमिनल हो जायेगी।
पहले लगता था कि रायल्टी एक वजह हो सकती है कि सिर्फ रफ़ी ही रफ़ी विविध भारती के फलक पर उभरे लेकिन बात इससे भी आगे की है। इस वक्त संस्था में वही गणित काम कर रहा है कि जब सरकारे बदलती है तो आपके अपने ख़ास आदमी महत्त्वपूर्ण संस्थानों पर काबिज हो जाते है फिर कोई काम नहीं होता है सिर्फ वही बाते होती है जो प्रोपगंडा चाहता है। इस वक्त विविध भारती पर यही हो रहा है। और विविध भारती पर मार्केटिंग का भी भूत शामिल हो गया है उसकी एक झलक आप को इस उदहारण से मिल सकती है कि आमिर खान का इंटरव्यू प्रसारित होता है “तलाश” के रिलीज़ के वक्त। क्या सरकारी संस्थाएं ऐसे काम करती है? लेकिन विविध भारती भी इसी गंदे समीकरणों में शामिल गया ये बहुत दुखद है। क्योकि आम जनता के पास ये करीब था तो उनको सच बताने की जिम्मेदारी बनती थी या अच्छा मनोरंजन जिसमे सभी प्रतिभाशाली गीतकारो संगीतकारों, गायकों का जिक्र सामान रूप से होता पर रफ़ी नाम का ढोल पीटने का ठेका विविध भारती ने ऐसा ले लिया है कि कोई और आवाज़ उभर ही नहीं रही है।
इससें कही अच्छा काम रेडियो सीलोन पर होता है। वे अपने देश के नहीं होते हुएं भी संगीत के प्रति ईमानदार है, संवेदनशील है। कम सुने हुए गुणी संगीतकारों को हमेशा उभारते है उनका उल्लेख करके, उनके अच्छे कामो का उल्लेख करके समय से। विविध भारती पर ठीक इसका उल्टा हो रहा है। कमर्शियल सर्विसेस के नाम पर अच्छे गीतों को काट पीट कर विज्ञापन बजाये जाते है। किसी को लेख की प्रमाणिकता पर संदेह हो तो विविध भारती चैनल ट्युन करके के देख ले अगर वाहियात नए गीत नहीं बज रहे होंगे तो निश्चित ही रफ़ी का कोई गीत या विज्ञापन बज रहा होगा, मार्केटिंग चल रही होगी, कोई पुराना प्रोग्राम रिपीट हो रहा होगा। तो क्यों नहीं प्रसार भारती विविध भारती का नाम विज्ञापन भारती या रफ़ी भारती रख देती है? विविध भारती से अपने प्रेम को लेकर बेगम अख्तर की यही ग़ज़ल गूँज रही है कि “ए मोहब्बत तेरे अंजाम पे रोना आया”.
My association with Vividh Bharati dates back to period when as a kid I was learning to be familiar with contours of the world in which destiny had placed me to play the drama of life. It filled me with joy every time sound of music flowed from it. It made my soul dance with ecstasy when I had little sense to distinguish classical music from film music. It was Vividh Bharati, which with its “tring tring” time check made me realize the worth of life’s precious moments. So it really hurts when I find that this beautiful institution has given way to crude changes with no other plausible explanation other than this that it’s been done to ensure its relevance. Any conscious listener will easily come to pick many holes in such vague defense offered by the Vividh Bharati officials. They forget that what retained its relevance was its ability to remain distinct from other radio channels with its qualitative presentation. Now when they feel that it’s time to make it bray like a donkey as all others are also braying makes little sense!! Such a transformation is simply unacceptable to any conscious listener and no logic shall make such crude changes honourable in the mind of listeners who had seen Vividh Bharati in its true colours during its heyday.
Jingles Are Murdering The Beautiful Songs:
Let’s take note of some very harsh changes, which is bothering all of us but for Vividh Bharati officials all is well. What happens when you are enjoying good food and all of a sudden you come to crunch a small piece of stone, managing to find its place in the delicious meal ? It simply not only corrupts the whole pleasure but also damages your teeth. That’s exactly what happens when a crude jingle all of a sudden pops up in midst of a beautiful song! By the time jingle gets over, I find that diya of K L Saigal has already extinguished!! Most pathetic experience is to listen to the explanation offered by the officials. First they would simply try to ignore it, denying it all together. Then they would let you know that it’s not their problem but it’s problem more related with local radio station. They cite their helplessness as if local radio station is an independent body not in its control! If that’s not enough they come up with hilarious solution. Why not you listeners shift to DTH or shift to shortwave broadcast to be above such distortions? If that’s the case then it’s better to stop medium wave altogether. Why have it at all when we are supposed to make great efforts again and again, all in midst of a beautiful song, to adjust it to shortwave broadcast?
I would like to know are Vividh Bharati officials trying to suggest throw our cute small transistors into Bay of Bengal? That sort of insinuation and insensitivity comes as a huge shock for listeners who are used to treat their cute little Murphy or Phlips Radio no less than Kohinoor diamond!! I request they should keep their mouths shut instead of offering such stupid solutions. Their suggestion is very much like asking cycle lovers to keep their cycles at home since all are driving cars on road!!
Bad Presentation Of Important Programmes:
Next issue deals with bad presentation of important programmes. Most of the new radio announcers who have appeared to make their presence felt on Vividh Bharati are often very casual during programme presentation. They are always in a great hurry while announcing details as if they have to catch flight to Timbuktu after the programme! Sometimes I feel that they consider it some sort of sin to deliver right information. When anyone reminds them about such errors, an usual mechanical reply hits the ear drums: To err is human! Yes, we should learn to forgive others no matter if pain remains alive after such forgiveness! Forgiveness should become a habit but not removal of errors. One of the most respected names in field of journalism from Allahabad has come up with a sound advice: Make announcers repeat basic information related with songs twice. Once at the beginning of the song and the other as the song ends.
One should not forget that creating a song is no joke or, for that matter, any creative work is not possible without grace of Divine. Therefore, we should not be so casual while mentioning the details. May be its out of place but I need to inform the officials that there is one senior announcer at Allahabad’s local radio station who talks in such a rude way during interactive programmes that phone callers often feel very insulted. Just ask him to preach less and respond consciously to listeners. Making a phone call should be a rewarding experience and not some sort of tragedy!
Lack Of Originality On Part Of Vividh Bharati:
Vividh Bharati does not feel the need to be inspired. The “Desh Ki Surili Dhadkan” (Melodious beat of the nation) has utterly failed in coming up with original presentations. One cannot ignore the fact that it has introduced some interesting programmes like “Ujale Unki Yaadon Ke” but it fails to impresses the minds who are interested in its true revival, making it on par with golden days. It’s quite ironical as it has monopoly over some rare songs, rare recordings, rare interviews and , above all, it has largest stock of film music. It’s one of the brands which is quite popular among film personalities but it’s very reluctant in making right efforts to communicate with them. Come important anniversaries all it has to offer repeated telecast of recordings which we have listened umpteen times. It never bothers to delve deep into its archive and present rare songs in fresh perspective. It’s also not interested in honouring unsung heroes related with making of a song like instrumentalists, lyricists or some rare singers who came to sing memorable songs but destiny never allowed them to shine like stars. All it has learnt to promote new songs of flawed actors like Aishwarya and Shah Rukh, making old songs a rarest of rare thing on Vividh Bharati. I fail to accept that it’s listeners who have made Manchahe Geet or Aapki Farmaish prisoner of new songs. There is something more to it than what meets the eye.
Anyway, one really needs to appreciate Radio Ceylon who knows better how to honour our rich film legacy. It’s under no burden to honour our glorious past but look its sincerity in keep coming up with rare songs and rare recordings. Look at the way it honours unsung heroes. I am sure my dear friend Piyush Mehta from Surat, Gujarat, would be lot more excited in revealing the contributions of Radio Ceylon. I wish to know how come Radio Ceylon manages to locate jewels right in time while Vividh Bharati at the same time is beating the bush like always? Does that not speak volume about lethargic attitude of Vividh Bharati ? It appears that it’s more interested in honouring crap from present times than go back in past and dig gold! No one is asking it to ignore the recent trends, latest good numbers and new achievers but that should not serve as a pretext to ignore the moments from past which defines the world of music. Sadly, even the Hawa Mahal has given way to insipid Jhalkis.
Just Stop Rafi Racket That Has Taken Vividh Bharati In Its Grip:
At the very outset, I must say that it’s not at attempt to undermine or tarnish the image of Rafi. Not only as a singer but also as a human being he was pure gold. So one can imagine my state of mind as I dare to unfold this very unfortunate trend dominating the affairs taking place inside the corridors of Vividh Bharati. So the facts I come to state should not be seen as some sort of an allegation but only presentation of collective observation on part of people keeping a close eye on the happenings taking place in world of radio. I wasn’t great believer of such a story but a close look revealed that there is an element of truth. I now believe it more when one of the persons very close to the world of radio came to share this aspect with me in one of the long conversations related with changing face of Vividh Bharati. Sadly, I cannot mention his name as he wishes to remain anonymous.
Let me tell readers and listeners that many years ago I came to sense that something is fishy the way Vividh Bharati promoted death anniversary of Rafi but deliberately pushed the birth anniversary of Kishore Kumar, falling just few days after Rafi’s death anniversary, in no man’s land. I mean it always promoted death anniversary of Rafi with great fanfare from many days before the actual day and on the anniversary day almost all the programmes were dedicated to this singer. On the other hand, there was no promotion of birth anniversary celebration of Kishore Kumar and on the birth anniversary day I could easily sense that mere formality is being done in the name of celebrations. After noticing this trend for several years, I wrote a strict letter to Vividh Bharati in this regard which remain unacknowledged. They did not bother to reply me but I came to sense that things did improve with Kishore gaining some due respect. However, this new revelation of “Rafi Racket” makes me smile. After all, it confirms what I suspected for long but had no concrete evidences to support my suspicion. However, at the back of my mind, I was pretty sure that there was definitely some well planned notorious scheme in action.
In order to sustain this Rafi Racket, informed this very reliable source, there is conscious effort to play Rafi numbers on Vividh Bharati. That’s because some close relatives of Rafi share a portion of royalty each time Rafi number gets played on Vividh Bharati. That makes it essential for Vividh Bharati to carve new pretext to play Rafi numbers on this prestigious channel, which is supposed to be above vested interest. As a result some of the lesser numbers of Rafi also get presented as super duper hit numbers. That’s mockery at its best! Ironically, the same Vividh Bharati which has, of late, become hyper conscious in presentation of Rafi numbers maintained a safe distance from Rafi when he was alive. As a result of this strange love-hate relationship with Rafi, it failed to record interesting interviews with this great singer. Today we find it hyper active in playing his songs- good or bad numbers all are golden numbers in its eyes now.
Just to make my readers/listeners have a glimpse of the Rafi Racket, I wish to inform that some days back a progarmme was presented in ‘ Ek Phankar’ to pay tribute to legendary actress Meena Kumari. I came to notice that in very brief 30 minutes programme two Rafi numbers got played. We all know that some great numbers had been picturised on this great actress but ignoring those numbers room was created to present Rafi numbers. What was the need to do so ? Being a lawyer, I realize that I have not enough concrete material evidences to sustain the argument but the same legal world makes me realize that circumstantial evidences are enough to upheld the doubts in this regard. Often criminals are clever enough to wipe out traces of crime but they forget that come a time when the crime speak of itself in form of circumstantial evidences.
Anyway, I hope Vividh Bharati takes note of its glorious past so that it can move ahead with pride. That means taking care of interests of listeners in a conscious way. That means treating all the creative artists with same degree of respect and attention. It’s my sincere wish that it keeps adding awesome episodes in list of its achievements. To ensure that it needs to embrace new challenges qualitatively with a perfect vision.
Remembering K L Saigal, whose birth anniversary we celebrated on April 11. Listen this song from Zindagi. The details are mentioned in the video.
Who can forget Balraj Sahni ? Very few can reach the level he attained. He was real actor -one who came to portray reality as it is. A rare task in Bollywood, which worships superficiality.
Exhibiting love for Radio and Vividh Bharati in age of amazing gizmos may make me appear a strange creature in the eyes of readers but that’s a reality and I am not at all ashamed in disclosing my eternal love for them. Why should I hide my feelings for them when they have been my side in good and bad times with right sort of vibes ? At least, they shared my feelings in a genuine way. It’s time to share some memories associated with both of them and so I take a trip down memory lane.
The occasion is quite fitting one as we are celebrating the birth anniversary of Vividh Bharati, which came in existence on October 3, 1957. It would be interesting to state that Vividh Bharati is brainchild of Pt. Narendra Sharma, who conceived it to curb the growing popularity of Radio Ceylon. Anyway, it soon turned out to be one of the most wonderful sarkari (government) institution, which struck an intimate chord with masses. We all know that masses remain at a safe distance from anything labeled sarkari be it sarkari hospital or sarkari school!!
I was raised in a family of radio lovers, which has developed a unique samskara (tendency) of spending few qualitative hours in presence of radio. My maternal grandfather was very serious listener of Akashvani ( All India Radio) News. In fact, he was such a serious listener that there was a spare radio set apart from the one which he carried with him all the time only to ensure that news item does not get disrupted in case the radio stopped functioning. Above all, he had also a cute, huge as well, Philips Valve Radio set , which was the cynosure of all the eyes. This set in those times was a prize possession. We naughty kids made this elegant set attain a colourful identity by listening latest movie songs secretly in Nanaji’s absence!! After all, the inventors of radio did not introduce radio only for the sake of listening news!! That’s the way I came in touch with radio in early 80s.
I still remember stopping at every shop, playing the cricket commentary be it paanwalah’s shop or garage owner’s shop, after returning to home from the school. I don’t think that pleasure I gained imagining Marshal’s bouncers and Kapil Dev sixers after listening the stylish descriptions of it in the radio commentary would ever be gained again. Listen the dull and pathetic present age Hindi or English commentary on Doordarshan to realize that we are living in Kaliyuga !! You will feel start feeling about getting moksha( liberation ) as early as possible!! Anyway, we all today have TV sets but there was a time when T V set was not that common sight and in those times it was mother of all the questions for any radio listener: ” Score kya hua hai ?” ( what’s the score? ).
In my childhood, after finishing the homework I spent my most of the time before the radio which was placed on my study table. It was small elegant red coloured Murphy radio set. It was my darling and soulmate in those days. Anyone daring to move near it in my absence was brutally punished by me when news of trespassing was informed to me later, usually by a person denied an opportunity by the trespasser to share the pleasure of listening the radio. By the way, did I tell you all that radio, watch and bicycle were the prominent dowry items in yesteryear marriages. Many of the silver hairs turn nostalgic when asked about their bicycle!!
How can I forget the Sanskrit news, which I listened each morning even though it was beyond my comprehension? Samprati vaartaaha shruyantam… ” (You are listening to the news.). Just before penning this article I came to read about Baldeva Nand Sagar- the eminent Sanskrit news reader. This real gentleman has done a lot to promote the cause of Sanskrit in other parts of the globe. How can I forget the impressive voice of Devakinandan Pandey delivering Hindi news with such a perfection? I still remember how the radio did the time check at regular intervals with a mind blowing tring tring beat. It was an usual habit to set the time in our watches once the radio confirmed the hours, minutes and seconds !!
Those were the days when programmes like Chitraloka, Manchahe Geet, Sangit Sarita, Chaaya Geet, Jayamala, Hava Mahal and Binaca Geet Mala presented by Ameen Sayani were the hot favourites. They were always in the minds of listeners and it was no less than a result of bad karma to miss anyone of these programmes. These programmes in their newer versions are still part and parcel of my life. They help me mitigate the sorrows of life and being a loner I find myself very close to these programmes. I think going by the letters of listeners in “Patravali”, I can easily intercept this great truth that it’s not only me but there are many listeners who have established a deep intimate bond with Vividh Bharati or radio to rise above the ironies of life.
I am not against rise of newer modes of entertainment nor I am against the introduction of new radio channels but I still feel gone are the days when radio programmes evoked sheer joy. May be the life in those times was not as complicated as it has now become. May be the music in those days was not incoherent pieces of computer generated beats!! May be the radio broadcasters in those days had better knowledge of Hindi language !! They had better capability to strike a bond with listeners as these broadcasters remained tuned to the happenings of ordinary life in a conscious way.
The radio broadcasters of present age like Kamal Sharma, Nimmi Mishra, Mamta Singh, Yunus Khan, Ashok Sonavade, Amarkantji, and Rajendra Tripathi, to name a few, have set high standards in an age when it’s tough to remain above commercial interests or , for that matter, remain above populist measures. Vividh Bharati has made lots of changes not to lose its relevance. It’s still “Desh Ki Surili Dhadkan” (Melodious beat of the nation). However, I must say that commercial interests are fast overtaking the interests of listeners. There are unwanted commercials in the middle of the song and when the commercials end the song has given way to another song!! Even the Havamahal is not able to live up to expectations with fresh jhalkis (radio drama). However, the programmes like Ujaale Unki Yadon Ke , Vishesh Jayamala and etc. are coming up with interesting episodes related with legendary movie personalities.
I must say that Vividh Bharati is instrumental in refining my taste related with music. Where else can you listen Bhimsen Joshi, Manna Dey, Shobha Gurtu, Parveen Sultana, Chhaya Ganguli and Talat Mahmood so frequently other than on Vividh Bharati ? It’s still a best place not only to listen “Bhoole Bisre Geet” (rare forgotten songs) but also to take note of forgotten words of Hindi. It’s still promoting good Hindi in a silent way. That’s the reason why I have kept my intimate bond with radio in a good shape. It’s my first love. Though I now own newer version of Philips after my previous Murphy Two-in-One became virtually irreparable, the love never changed its intensity. Love for radio and Vividh Bharati would remain the same. After all, the love for beloved keeps increasing with each passing day. Long live Vividh Bharati and radio.