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Editorial

Happy 75th Birthday to Akashvani Jalandhar

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS5 | May 24, 2023 07:34 AM

By Harjap Singh Aujla
Please accept my heartiest congratulations “Happy 75th Birthday to Akashvani Jalandhar” (originally known as All India Radio Jullundur – Amritsar opened in May of 1948). I am one the oldest listeners of this radio station and have fond memories of its infancy.

Since 1937, All India Radio Lahore has been Punjab’s only and Capital Station of All India Radio. On the night of August 13, 1947 All India Radio Lahore signed off for the last time as the Indian radio station around midnight Indian Standard Time. Within a few seconds it re-started again as Pakistan Broadcasting Service Lahore and closed down after greeting the listeners in Punjab.

The next morning Indian Punjab woke up without its only radio station. Communal rioting was at its peak. Both Lahore and Amritsar were burning. The Hindu and Sikh refugees were leaving Lahore in hordes. There was utter confusion in Amritsar, the city had people packed as Sardines in Fort Gobindgarh, Khalsa College, Company Bagh, Victoria Jubilee Hospital, the Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Sakatri Bagh, the Garden with forty wells. Many refugees were staying in the houses of friends and relatives. Jullundur was slightly better, but crowded nevetheless.

Emerson 1930s Radio

The Hindu/Sikh staff of Lahore radio station put their heads together to find a solution to the problem of lost refugees and resolved to have East Punjab’s own radio station. Sardar Kartar Singh Duggal, one of the seniormost staffers of the erstwhile All India Radio Lahore prepared a letter addressed to the then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru demanding an exclusive All India Radio station in East Punjab. The letter was hand delivered by Sardar Swaran Singh, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress in the Bist Doab Region of East Punjab.

The Government of India took an immediate decision for this radio station. It was planned with two transmitters one each at Amritsar and Jullundur and a common studio in Jullundur. The studio building took more than a year to complete, but as a stop-gap arrangement the programming started from a makeshift studio in May of 1948. I remember the frequencies. All India Radio’s Jullundur transmitter was broadcasting on 225.6 meters and Amritsar was operating on 230.8 meters.

In 1953, All India Radio established its 50 kilowatt transmitter 18 miles to the East of Jalandhar at the small town of Goraya, which is 18 miles to the West of Ludhiana. The transmitter at Amritsar was shut down simultaneously. In the past 75 years Akashvani Jalandhar has achieved several milestones. It got Vividh Bharati in 1965, Urdu Service also around that time. Later on it got Des Punjab Radio program. During the 1990s, it got FM Rainbow and now it gets origination of Pradeshik Samachar in Punjabi as well as National News transferred from New Delhi in Punjabi.

On 16th of May, 2023, Akashvani Jalandhar is celebrating its 75th birthday. I am in Shoghi only 8 miles from Shimla, where I can listen to all stations of Akashvani in Punjab. I am sending my best wishes to the staff of this radio station.

Harjap Singh Aujla
Phone number +91 98149 06024
E-mail harjapaujla@gmail.com

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