This is with reference to the review of the book written by the famous broadcaster Pran Kishor published in your esteemed daily on 12th of January. Radio Kashmir Srinagar has no doubt played a praiseworthy role in the nourishment and growth of Kashmiri language and culture.
The reviewer has copiously qouted the contribution of large number of people from the valley in this regard. But he didn’t make any mention of the helping hand provided by some Dogras in making the radio station one of the premiere broadcasting institution in the country. Two names, Kidar Nath Sharma and Uma Khosla cross the mind readily. In the sixties of last century Pakistan had unleashed a blitz of propaganda in the State through the so-called Azad Kashmir radio. Radio Kashmir did also launch an effective counter through some popular programs. One of which was Waadi ki Awaaz.
The two characters of Munshi Allah Rakha and Nikki had become very popular. These roles used to be played by Kidar Nath Sharma and Uma Khosla. The language spoken by Sharma used to be a mixture of Urdu, Paharhi, Dogri and infusion of it with some doze of humor would make it very sharp and interesting.
The scathing attack the Munshi made in his sonorous voice on the rulers of Pakistan was also full of virulence. There was hardly a day when a listener would not write asking the Asli name of Munshi Allah Rakha. But Sharma would each time dodge his listeners shrewdly. The signature tune of the program, perhaps synthesized by Prem Kishor himself was quite tantalizing. The program used to be relayed by the Radio Kashmir Jammu also. It was very popular not only in this part but also across the LOC.
We used to assemble around the only radio set we had in our village to enjoy the interesting language of Munshi Allah Rakha. The elders did also evince interest in the program though their major interest remained in the Urdu bulletin of the news read out by the illustrious Moti Lal Khazanchi immediatly before Waadi ki Awaaz. Interestingly we never knew that the versatile Munshi Allah Rakha’s elders had shifted to Srinagar from our adjoining village of Rahya Suchani some years back and he was one of us folk who was also rendering a helping hand in making Radio Kashmir a great entity.
B D Sharma