Vishaka Hari performing at the platinum jubilee celebrations of All India Radio Tiruchi on Wednesday.— PHOTO: G. GNANAVELMURUGAN
The year-long platinum jubilee celebrations of All India Radio Tiruchirappalli concluded yesterday with an evening of cultural performances and speeches by the public broadcaster’s senior executives recounting the glories of the station.
Held in the front section of the station’s sprawling premises on Bharathidasan Salai, the evening’s proceedings were also broadcast live on radio from 4.30 p.m. Entry to the event was free to the public, and a sizeable crowd braved the sunshine to fill up the seating area.
The special programme started, as do all broadcasts of the station, with ‘Mangala Isai’ (auspicious music), with an instrumental recital by Chinnamannur A. Vijay Karthikeyan on the nadaswaram and Mannargudi R. Chinnaraja on the tavil.
Among the AIR executives who addressed the gathering were M. Vasuki, Deputy Director-General (Engineering), AIR Tiruchi, P.K. Subhash, Additional Director-General (Programming), AIR South Zone, N. Thyagarajan, Additional Director-General (Engineering, South Zone), and V. Charavarthy, Assistant Director/Programme Head, AIR Chennai. Dr. So. Sathyaseelan, Tamil litterateur and former AIR staffer, was the chief guest.
Recalling his days at the station, when worked as a part-time drama artiste while still a student at the National College in 1952, Dr. Sathyaseelan commended the broadcaster for keeping up with the times in terms of content and technology. “In 1958, I was working as a teacher in Lebbaikudikadu when I was invited to speak on a programme for youth. I was sent off to the studio with much fanfare by my students, and my speech was aired live. People in the village tuned in to the radio powered by a car battery,” he said. “Look where we have reached now.” He also recounted the sometimes comic battles with event-timing, weather and technology in the early years of live broadcasting.
The biggest service that AIR had rendered in the State was to have made the people self-reliant, he said, adding that its programmes had spread ideas with the speed of wind. “All India Radio is the mother that nurtured my talent, and I hope its centenary will equally remarkable,” he concluded.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Mrs. Jothimani Ilangovan, Assistant Director/Programme Head, AIR Tiruchi.
After a brief interval to honour the speakers with commemorative shawls and mementos, eight staff artistes of the station presented Vadhya Virundhu (Feast of Instrumental Music). This was followed by Natyanjali, a classical dance item performed by students of Bala Kala Vidhanam, Tiruchi. A vocal recital by Vishakha Hari rounded off the evening’s cultural performances. Comic interludes were provided by the stand-up artiste Thanjavur Rama Gurunathan.
All India Radio Tiruchi, often referred to as a ‘model station’, was one of six pioneering stations in pre-independent India, and the second in the erstwhile Madras State after Chennai. It was established on May 16, 1939, and in its present form caters to the districts of Tiruchi, Peramabalur, Ariyalur, Karur, Salem, Namakkal, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Pudukottai.