Golden jubilee of Dogri Regional News Unit

Jagmohann Sharma
The Dogri News Unit of All India Radio Jammu is all set to complete its 50 years of existence tomorrow. Set up on the 6th of December 1971 during the troubled time of Indo- Pak war, this Regional News Unit (RNU) has gained immense popularity among the people not only in the sensitive territory of Jammu and Kashmir but even across the borders in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and many other parts of Pakistan as well.
One of the 47 RNUs of All India Radio network in various regional languages across the country, RNU Jammu has traversed a long journey of 50 years witnessing many ups and downs, favours and challenges, appreciations and obstacles and high strains at times. During the Indo- Pak war of 1971 it started a Dogri news bulletin to counter anti-India propaganda from across the border. It percolated every household of this part of the erstwhile J&K state with real facts and news, in their own Dogri language, to keep the people well aware and informed about the ground realities and actual positions. Started with just one Dogri language news bulletin, the Jammu News Unit of AIR has made rapid strides in reaching out to the people with credible news and information.
The credit of starting the Dogri news from All India Radio (then Radio Kashmir, Jammu) goes to eminent Urdu writer Jagannath Thakur who was more popular with his pen name “Thakur Poonchhi”. He worked really hard to establish this unit and starting a daily bulletin in Dogri language from Jammu. His efforts went a long way to inform and educate the general masses about the facts, clear the environment of rumours, infuse confidence and also counter poisonous propaganda from across the border. It is a known fact that Thakur Poonchhi, the founding editor of Dogri News Unit initially worked single handed and put in his best efforts to make it happen. Later on the endeavour was strengthened by many more hands joining in and taking it ahead on the journey of progress and prosperity. Some prominent names include Kiran Kashmiri, Paramjit Singh Trehan, Ashok Handoo, Ajit Singh, M.K. Wangu, Yousuf Ganai, Bhagwant Singh, R.K.Raina, Tariq Rather, Kush Mohan Nahar, Sanjit Khajuria and Neha Jalali (With humble affirmation, I apologize in case any name skipped owing to my ignorance in this regard). Fast forward to present, IIS officer R.K. Raina (Deputy Director) is heading the Unit with Gulshan Raina as AIR Jammu Correspondent and Naseer Rather as Editor taking care of it. Some prominent Dogri News Readers who remained connected with RNU Jammu for a long span of time include Narendra Bhasin, Lajja Manhas, Joginder Chhatrapal, Chanchal Bhasin, Sudarshan Parashar to name a few. At present it has a long panel of contractual as well as casual news readers on its roll. Some of them are renowned writers, poets, lecturers, lawyers, high ranking officials in various departments, as well as academicians, scholars and intellectuals. They impart a stellar role in running the unit and feel proud to be associated with a cause for strengthening Dogri, the Mother tongue of Duggar Pradesh.
As part of the present programming set up, five news bulletins including three in Dogri and two in Gojri language are broadcast on a daily basis along with a Counter News Propaganda commentary. In addition, three FM news bulletins in Dogri and various other current affairs programs based on social issues are also being conceptualised and broadcast by this unit on daily, weekly and monthly basis.
There is no doubt that a milestone of 50 years or what we call the Golden Jubilee is a very important point of any journey. This no doubt calls for a celebration with great enthusiasm, pomp and show. However keeping in view the challenging constraint of COVID-19 pandemic, and an emerging threat of Omicron variant, RNU, Jammu, as a responsible media house, has decided to make it a low key affair. We definitely cannot be acting as hypocrites by propagating something to the masses and doing something else at our backyard.
It is worth mentioning that during the raging corona pandemic, Regional News Unit Jammu of All India Radio conducted more than a hundred programs, including phone-in programs, discussion, informative debates, interviews with experts, messages from celebrities etc to make people aware of the fact that the spread of corona virus can be prevented only by taking proper precautions including wearing of masks, hand sanitisation and maintaining social distancing and other important SOPs. At the same time, not to undermine the occasion, RNU has taken an initiative to celebrate its Golden Jubilee in unique way to mark the occasion by creating a special series of programs that are being broadcast over the network with effect from 2nd of December daily at 9:30 in the morning. RNU Jammu is reaching out telephonically or in person to the officials of different ranks including unit heads, correspondents, editors, news readers and others who have served the unit from time to time, and given shape to its functioning right from the inception to its present stature. It is our way of paying tribute and a recognition to their endless efforts which made RNU what it is today. At the same time the avid listeners are getting an insight into the untold stories behind the present form of the bulletins which they listen on their radio sets today. The idea behind this is not only to avoid an invitation to the spread of corona infection but also to impress upon the reality of never forgetting the role of roots and trunk of a big tree providing shadow and fruit to one and all.
As already mentioned above, the working and responsibility of Regional News Unit Jammu is not restricted to just preparing and broadcasting news bulletins but also has spread its arms into making programs of a varied type. If it is about women issues, social awareness or any other event the Unit is firmly determined to deliver the goods keeping in mind the basic motto of Akashwani that is Bahujan Sukhaya, Bahujan Hitaya.