Thursday, May 19, 2022


Radio Ceylon my favorite

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | April 21, 2022 10:57 PM
Harjap Singh Aujla
Harjap Singh Aujla

By Harjap Singh Aujla
In the later half of 1950, one day my father on return from the parliament house told me that one of his colleagues from the Princely State of Mysore Mr. H. Sidhaveerappa told him about a new radio station called the Commercial Service in Hindi of Radio Ceylon has popped up on shortwave. The Hindustani music played on this station according to him was of a very high quality.

He being a Kannada had no interest in the Hindustani (Hindi + Urdu) music. My father was aware of my interest in discovering new radio stations. I immediately went up to the radio and tried to locate the new kid on the block. I tried all possible shortwave frequencies, but could not find the station. I kept trying for a number of days without luck.

One day an acquaintance Mr. Raminder Singh, who was older than me by a dozen years and who served as the Indian military attache in the country’s Embassy in Paris and retired as a wing commander in the Indian Air Force, offered to help me in finding the new station. His effort also did not succeed. He found the real reason for our repeated failures and bought a ten foot long wire from the Connaught Place. He made half of it naked, inserted one end into the jack for aerial at the back of the radio and hung up the naked side on a wall. It worked and we could tune in to a host of new radio stations. One fine morning I found the elusive radio station. The quality of music was great, but the sound was experiencing dips. K.L. Saigal, Pankaj Mullick and G.M. Durrani were the frequently heard male voices. Suraiya, Noorjehan, Amir Bai Karnataki, Zohra Bai of Ambala and Geeta Roy were the frequently broadcast female voices. The most popular program was between 7:30 to 8:00 am and was dedicated to old film songs. Surprisingly Lata Mangeshkar’s voice was missing. She being a relatively new voice, discovered in 1947. This program continues to date and is the most popular program.

After the first general election in 1952 and after attending the lame duck session, we returned back to Kapurthala, where we had a proper roof top aerial for the radio, the reception of Radio Ceylon was much better. My romance with “Purani Filmon ka Sangeet” continued unabated. Then Binaca Geet Mala also started in 1952. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice was also old enough to be featured on this program, so were the voices of Talat Mahmood, Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar. Radio Ceylon was my most favorite program even today.

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