The story of Deccan Radio
“Radio is one medium that triggers all senses in a person,” feels Aslam Farshori, one of the leading television and radio personalities in the country. He was one of the panellists at the Deccan Radio and Urdu Culture on the final day of the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) 2015.
The session was a focus on Deccan Radio, its inception and the influence of Urdu on it. Too short a time for the three panellists -- Oudesh Rani Bawa and Manzurul Amin, besides Aslam Farshori, 50 minutes went by with the three of them only recalling this radio’s time briefly.
“It was the first radio station that of Hyderabad State that went officially live on February 3, 1935,” recalls Oudesh Rani Bawa, known as the human information source about Hyderabad, without any signs of doubt.
“Deccan radio came into existence only 12 years after the radio was set up in the UK. We had very huge microphones that couldn’t be moved. Walls were built using rice husk, making them sound-proof,” she says with a hint of nostalgia.
Aslam Farshori shares the story of how Deccan Radio came to Hyderabad. “Mahboob Ali bhai brought a transmitter and five radio sets from Britain and distributed them. He offered one to the Nizam too. He then set up a station right at his home in Chirag Ali lane in Abids and all programmes were broadcast in Urdu,” he explains. The Nizam then offiicially broadcast it and a station was set up in Khairatabad. This later travelled to other cities and eventually became the All India Radio.
While the story of the official setting up of this radio station will pop up when you search on the web, the story that it was brought in by this man and was broadcast in that dingy lane in Abids is a lesser known story.
Referring to how the media has undergone a transformation, Aslam says that radio is one medium that introduces one to look deeper into aspects, listen with ears open, communicate well with others and at the same time trigger imagination.
“When you watch television, you watch it without responding -- good or bad, you are made to consume it. But when it is radio, you are imagining and thinking,” he opines, adding, “It has been one medium that has been giving life and at the same time saving lifes.” How? “People who started writing for radio, scripts, jock talks or dramas moved on to writing scripts for television. This later moved to motion pictures and movies. People have just been moving forward in life, all thanks to how radio started,” he says.
The session also had Manzurul Amin, who worked with radio from a few years after its inception. The veteran shared his experiences of how Urdu played a major role at that time.