Katha Sarita: A platform for Dogri writers

Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
Let me advocate with all guilt that we all are getting alienated from our literature. There may be so many reasons that may be cited for a debate. But what’s there in a debate when it has no meaning and solution thereby getting restricted to merely expelling frustration.
Ironically, we are crazy for others’ literature but so often criticize our own without even knowing our rich heritage. I think it has become fashion to admit that others are superiors to us. We succumb to the tall claims without even casting a look at our own.
It is pertinent to add here that audio medium has always been at fore front when it comes to safeguarding literature. Although Prasar Bharti Board might be having so many problems like acute shortage of staff and curtailment in budget, but instead of going deep in to the controversies I will like to appreciate one major production that has been gaining popularity with every episode these days. Yes in this particular column, I will like to talk about “Katha Sarita” being broadcast from All India Radio, Jammu.
Katha Sarita has been a wonderful concept. The series offers an opportunity to listeners to enjoy the short stories of prominent Dogri Writers through Drama approved voices. It started with stories from Bhagwat Prasad Sathe’s short story book “Pehla Phul”, that happens to be first ever short book published in Dogri Language thus justifying the title too. It was followed by eminent short story writers like Narender Khajuria’s “Neela Ambar Kale Baddal”, Ram Nath Shastri’s “Badnami di Shaon”, Bandhu Sharma’s “Meel Pathar”, Chattrapal’s “Chette”, Krishana Prem'” Thamm te Kalava”, Dr Manoj’s “15 kahaniyan” and the series is still going on which has so many other short story writers in waiting, having proved their worth with their well acclaimed works. This 15 minutes segment is broadcast from Primary services of All India Radio, Jammu daily at 9.05 am. It needs to be added here that with each episode this series has become so popular that the literature lovers love to listen to amazing short stories written by own local writers in their own mother tongue.
The response of listeners is tremendous and must have helped the station to reach to maximum. Here I wiould like to recall that those were the days when Radio was a craze perhaps owing to the reason that it was the only medium of sheer entertainment. Such was the obsession that the audience never forgot to share their views on particular programs. They wished to listen to their names on Radio. As far as the standard of programs was concerned, it was very high and has left its imprints on the minds of audience till now. The memories of ‘Plays’ and ‘Geeton Bhari Kahaniyan’ are still alive.
Then there came a phase when visual medium in the form of Doordarshan started dominating and now-a-days social media has taken over all other mediums of entertainment and expression. But it’s a fact that Radio still has the craze as it offers the audience an opportunity to create visuals themselves instead being served by visual mediums. It’s a creative effort that everyone enjoys as per own thought process.
As per Shiv Mohan Sharma, In- charge Drama section of All India Radio Jammu, “Dogri literature is abundant with classical short stories. It was realized while working on this ambitious project ‘katha Sarita’. We have made a sincere effort to take these stories to masses and the way this series has got tremendous response proves that our regional literature has all the potential to match world class literature.”
He is very much right with his words but we seldom give respect our own literature which is a bad omen. It’s a fact that Radio has always offered opportunities to young writers that boosts their morale and with the passage of time they emerge as good writers too. The regular Cultural magazine in dogri language “Trikuta” and other poetry programs are quite popular among the writers and literature lovers. But ‘katha Sarita’ has become even more popular. One main point that has been observed is its excellent presentation and timing. This is the time when one can listen while driving for office or work also. Undoubtedly it must have increased listenership.
Actually, the Regional Cultural Centres whether Doordarshan Kendra, Cultural Academies or Radio have a moral obligation of working for preserving regional literature and giving platforms to aspiring talent. They have to give exposure to those ones who deserve to reach to masses so that new generation should feel proud of their literary heritage. ‘Katha Sarita’ has been a perfect initiative in this direction.
The young Generation may be or may not know the eminent writers of Dogri, but the way the works of those writers have been served, it’s really a commendable job. It has surely helped to let the Generation feel proud of the regional literature in the form of short stories that they may proclaim with all dignity for having Munshi Prem Chand, Anton Chekhov, Sadat Hassan Manto, Krishan Chander, Kamleshwar in Dogri Language too.
What we need to do is to acclaim our own literature and develop a nice habit of having a library in every home which speaks a lot about the civilized society. Then we should have plenty of regional literature as valuable addition to our library. There is no restriction on literature belonging to other languages. One should enjoy literature of all languages but should never discard own literature without going through it. Ignoring own literature for the sake of just satisfying so called superiority complex is a sin. Mind it, those who don’t respect their own culture and traditions always remain isolated in others’ fake world.
While concluding I would like to add here that the series like ‘Katha Sarita’ was most wanted in recent times to help the new generation to know our own literature, If it’s helping to take literature to masses then we all literature lovers and writers should have Dogri literature in our library. But it should not only glamorize the bookshelves but should be read too. Only then, the genuine effort by Radio Jammu’s immensely popular series ‘Katha Sarita’ will be served.