Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anirudh Diwakar: A tribute to Fiji’s Golden Voice, Fourth Anniversary -25.08.2011

      Thakur Ranjit Singh, Auckland, New Zealand

A tribute to ANIRUDH DIWAKAR - Fiji’s Golden Voice who left a legacy for radio broadcasting in Fiji, and wherever Indo-Fijians are involved in Radio in our Diaspora

His voice still boom in Radio Tarana in Auckland - the Golden Voice, after three years is still fresh as today -everlasting.

It has been three years since the golden voice of Fiji, Anirudh Diwakar, left us, but that vacuum still remains. While he has gone, he has left us a legacy and trend that Hindi Radio stations in Auckland, and elsewhere in the world copy and follow: Fiji Style Radio.

ANIRUDH DIWAKAR -An award winning radio personality who started a new trend in Radio, now copied by Hindi Stations worldwide. This is called Fiji Style Radio.

The sudden passing away of Anirudh Diwakar, Programmes Director of Communications Fiji Ltd’s Hindi Station, Radio Sargam came as a big shock. This loss was not only felt by people in Fiji but also by Indo-Fijians settled around the globe. Most of them were touched by the golden voice of this veteran with 40-year long service to radio broadcasting.

He passed away at Suva Private Hospital on Thursday 25 August 2011 and was cremated in Fiji on 31 August, 2011 after a farewell by mourners in a packed National Stadium. The Hindi Radio Stations in Fiji joined in this sorrow to shower prayers and memorable programmes to honour this distinguished Hindi radio personality of Fiji. In a similar spirit, the former radio personalities linked with the common factor of Anirudh Diwakar got together to hold a condolence gathering in Auckland as well.

Satendra Sharma of Radio Tarana, Auckland, passing his tributes during Condolence gathering in Auckland on 31 August, 2011, simultaneously as funeral services were held in Fiji.

As people got together in the National Gymnasium, and while speeches and eulogies were given, a similar gathering was held at the same time in Auckland, New Zealand. The spirit which Anirudh always propagated was that of unity amongst the radio broadcasting fraternity. This also eventuated in Auckland where people from its three Hindi radio stations with connection to Fiji and Anirudh got together to celebrate the life of this veteran announcer. Media personalities from Radio Tarana, Humm FM and Apna 990 which comprised his former colleagues and well-wishers got together in a condolence gathering at Shri Prakash Ramayan Mandali Hall in Stoddard Road, Mount Roskill (Now site of new tunnel for new motorway)

Prayers and introductory Eulogy was moved by Fiji Broadcasting Commission’s retired Deputy General Manager and former Deputy Speaker of Fiji’s House of Representatives, Pundit Devakar Prasad. He told the gathering that he identified Anirudh some four decades ago, when after completing secondary school, Anirudh wished to be an announcer and was interviewed by him at Fiji Broadcasting Commission. However, because of his heavy voice, he was instead given a position at the station’s advertising department. Even then, Anirudh had never left his desire to be an announcer, and always was available to fill in whenever required. Through his dedication, and ability to modulate his voice, he was able to start a new trend of sweet heavy golden voice that others started emulating, and which brought in a change in the way people accepted voice over the air. “ While the lamp has been extinguished, its light, in form of his everlasting voice will live on. May his soul rest in peace,” said Pundit Devakar.

Shashi Kanta, former colleague from Radio Navtarang , Fiji, and Radio personality with Humm FM 106.2 radio station, speaking during condolence gathering in Auckland in 2011.

A special message read was from William Parkinson, Managing Director of Communications Fiji Limited.  He praised Anirudh’s style and spoke of the innovation which he brought to his second broadcast media company in Fiji, particularly to its Hindi station Navtarang which commenced in 1989.

Anirudh Diwakar (left) with Pundit Hemant Vimal Sharma, former editor of Shanti Dut and former colleague from Fiji Broadcasting Commission (FBC), now in Melbourne, Australia. This photo was taken when Anirudh visited Melbourne before his death in 2011.

“Hindi radio at the time was restricted by a style that tended to copy All India Radio and demanded that announcers use very formal Hindustani using words and grammar that many Fiji listeners struggled to understand. Anirudh realized that here was an opportunity to break free and build a radio station that spoke to the Fiji Indian community in a language they understood while entertaining and informing them about issues they loved and cared about. The rest as they say is history. Navtarang, born in 1989, was an instant success and of all the radio stations we have started across the Pacific it remains the most successful nearly 22 years later, “said Parkinson in a tribute at the Fiji Village website.

Anirudh Diwakar (with glasses, on extreme left), with colleagues from Radio Sargam, outside Communications Fiji Limited studios at Waimanu Road, Suva Fiji.

The impact of Anirudh’s initiative and trend-setting radio style are emulated in Hindi Radio started by Indo Fijians in Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia. Each of the radio stations across these countries have people who were somehow touched, inspired or assisted by Anirudh Diwakar as was seen in one of the biggest gathering of former Fiji radio personalities in Auckland.
Indeed, the golden voice will be no more but his bubbly personality may leave some questions and issues behind. However, I defend my  veteran broadcaster friend's life through an analogy with President Clinton.

Despite his shortcomings and moments of indiscretion, Bill Clinton still remains perhaps the most popular, effective, likeable and successful President USA had seen. In a similar fashion, despite any moments of indiscretions and personal weaknesses (which most normal human beings have), Anirudh Diwakar still remains the most popular, likable, influential, dearly missed and memorable radio personality that Fiji has ever seen. That is what counts in the end, after the person is gone.”

I also concur with this thought. Rest in peace, my friend, you will always be remembered for the good human being you had in you. God bless your soul.

Your memories will linger on with your wife, children, siblings, relatives, friends and well-wishers. So, long, friend.