World Radio Day special: Mumbai prisoners start their own radio station, instil hope among inmates with Kishore Da’s songs
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World Radio Day special: Mumbai prisoners start their own radio station, instill hope among inmates with Kishore Da’s songs

While most of the prison inmates are being kept engaged in some activity like gardening, carpentering, pottery or even reading books in a library, few in Mumbai have jumped out of the usual box. The prisoners of Taloja central prison in Navi Mumbai have started their own radio station.

The first radio station in a prison in the Mumbai Metropolitan region, the station is completely run by fellow inmates with radio jockey Sadiq instilling hopes and positive vibes among other prisoners.

As the clock sticks 12 in the afternoon, three-member team consisting of a radio jockey, a scriptwriter and a systems operator perform one hour show in which they talk of love, happiness and positivity accompanied by Kishore Da’s iconic numbers.

The inmates spend four hours a day to create content for their show. The content is always first screened by the officials and then pre-recorded to be aired the next day.

The most popular part of the show is ‘aap ki farmaish’ (your requests). Inmates can choose film songs they want to listen to and drop chits requesting them in a box. For two days every week, songs requested by inmates are played throughout the show. The name of the inmate who has requested the song is also announced. Faces light up when their names are announced, he adds. Some of the inmates request ‘shayaris’ instead of film songs.

There is a database of 70,000 old Hindi film songs to choose from.

The prison had this idea of running a radio station for quite some time but they lacked technical help. A Navi Mumbai NGO came to the jail’s rescue as they provided with equipment such as mixers, laptops and a microphone. They also helped with a sound engineer who gave training to the inmates.

The team took full charge of the station on January 15 and when they are losing out on content, they celebrate birth anniversaries of popular actors and singers.

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