Sepia-tinted memories as Akashvani Lucknow turns 80

Akashvani Lucknow is 80 years old now, but interestingly, it has a strong connect with the number 18.

According to programme executive Dr Mahendra Pathak , who is now serving in Faizabad , “Akashvani was inaugurated in a rented house, number 18, Abott Road on April 2 , 1938. Today Akashvani is situated on 18, Vidhan Sabha Marg . The postal address of Akashvani changed after independence and building was shifted to Vidhan Sabha Marg but the house number (18) remained the same.”

(Above)Pt Anand Narayan Mulla amid audience,(below) poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan (in white kurta).

“On Monday, Akashvani would complete 80 years in Lucknow . I had the privilege of compiling some history of Akashvani Lucknow with old photographs , then I came to know about its association with number 18,” said Dr Pathak.

Today Akashvani is known for starting its programmes dot on the time but another interesting thing which occurred on the day of inauguration was that it started relaying its programmes five minutes late because the then chief minister of United Province Govind Vallabh Pant, who was to inaugurate Akashvani was delayed by five minutes . He apologised to the staff for coming late, as the programme had to start with the address of the chief minister in the presence of the then director AA Advani.

Programme executive AIR Pratul Joshi said, “ After independence, there were only 6 Akashvani stations left in India as Akashvani Lahore, Dhaka and Peshawar went to Pakistan. Only Akashvani Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Triruchiraplli, Kolkata and Lucknow remained in India. Talent of many noted singers, litterateurs and writers was harnessed there.”

It was Akashvani Lucknow where the talent of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan, singer Begum Akhtar, violinist VD Jog, poetry of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Raghupati Sahai ‘Firaq’ Gorakhpuri, Krishna Behari Noor, Ila Chandra Joshi, Bhagwati Charan Varma and Chandra Kiran Sonrexa,reached new heights. The recordings of these programmes are still safe with the Akashvani.

The aura of Akashvani Lucknow was such that films like Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959), Mere Huzoor (1967),Sand awan Ko Aane Do (1980) used the name of Akashvani Lucknow and displayed its building in the films .

To mark its 80th anniversary on Monday, Akashvani Lucknow will organise a seminar on ‘Akashvani : Present Challenges’ which will be followed by a programme of ghazals by Sudhir Narayan and folk songs by Ranjana Agrahari.