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How this Hong Kong-based RJ is giving voice to unsung heroes of Indian Army

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By Rukma Singh

Jaya Peesapaty has taken up an initiative to create awareness about the unsung heroes of the Indian army in Hong Kong. She is a Radio Jockey for a show called, ‘Jai Hind’ on Telegu One radio where she talks about Indian soldiers and martyrs. She is also a teacher in an International Preschool. Once she realized the power of Internet radio, she combined her skill with her passion for Indian army.

She spoke to Newsgram about her show, the response it has received, and her inspiration behind it. Excerpts from the interview:

Rukma Singh: Tell us about your journey and foray into the world of Radio Jockeying.

Jaya Peesapaty: I am the founder and president of the Hong Kong Telugu Samakhya. With an interest to learn more about the Telegu community and its activities, I started sending out my reports to a website called, “teluguone.com” and to “Sirakadambam”, another web magazine. Meanwhile, Telugu One came up with an idea of starting an Internet radio show and they wanted me to host it so I accepted their offer. This is the third year of my show.

RS: What encouraged you to base your show ‘Jai Hind’ along the theme of the Indian Army?

JP: In the beginning, I used to conduct two-hour sessions every weekend. Then, I understood that radio is a very powerful medium. Why not use it to encourage interaction between the Indian community and our army? Earlier, I wanted to do a show on our freedom fighters but realized that most of the information about them is given out in schools and colleges. With an aim to do something different, I came up with the idea of talking about unsung heroes from our armed forces.

I always wanted to join the Armed Forces Medical College, but I couldn’t. Since then, I wanted to do something for our Army.

RS: How has the audience responded to the show?

JP: The very first year was difficult. This was a new show and I did not have too many connections with people from the Army. It was a live show, so callers who knew about it started calling and talking to us.

One day, a caller who worked with an NGO for the armed forces, told me that he knew people from the Indian Army who might want to come to the show and talk about their experiences.

RS: Did you face any challenges in setting up and publicizing the show?

JP: Yes, initially, I did face issues with language. The show was in Telugu and it was not a language known to all people who wanted to come on the show. So, I decided to continue the show in English, and then translate it in Telugu for the community.

Apart from that, the other challenge I faced initially was that the management was not sure if they wanted to go ahead with this idea. They felt that armed forces might not be willing or permitted to talk about it. It was then that I clarified that the show will only be about their experiences and not technicalities.

RS: How has been the experience of interacting with the Indian army and their families?

JP: The experience has been very motivating. People spoke their hearts out. This is a platform where they did not have to worry about technicalities, or any rules and regulations binding them. They only had to talk about their personal and emotional experiences in the Army. Many people, like Major DP Singh and Naveen Nagappa came on the show and shared their experiences during the Kargil war. Major Singh shared with us his experience of being in the hospital for two years due to a war injury. His emotional journey was really moving. I was glad that people could feel safe in talking to us and sharing their feelings. This show helped me in bringing awareness about our unsung heroes into the general community.

RS: What is the status of the Indian community in Hong Kong, in terms of their awareness about happenings in India?

JP: As far as I have seen, because of the Internet, everyone keeps in touch with latest happenings. What I have experienced is that the media talks very little about the martyred soldiers. They deserve more recognition. That is the main reason why I took this initiative.

RS: Apart from the radio show, what else do you do?

JP: Well, propagating my mother tongue has been one of the main concerns in my life. I also conduct Telugu classes for people. I write in Telugu for a web magazine. Apart from that, I also host a Hindi show called ‘Jai Jawan’ on Radio Khushi.

RS: What are you future plans for the show?

JP: Well, as of now, I am very happy with the way our show has turned out. We have regular callers and now officers are contacting us on their own with a desire to share their feelings with us. The format for now is mostly Skype and audio calling. In the future, I would like to keep it going and work on other modes of communication.

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10 Things to know about Vijay Diwas , when Indian Army Bifurcated Pakistan and liberated Bangladesh in 1971 war

December 16: On this day in 1971, Indian Army liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan in one of the most heroic wars ever.

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Vijay Diwas
The most famous photograph in Indian military history! Lieutenant General A A K Niazi, the Pakistan army commander in East Pakistan, signs the Instrument of Surrender, before Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command, December 16, 1971 (DPR Photo Division Archives)
  • Bangladesh celebrates its Independence day on December 16 and India hails the day as Vijay Diwas
  • 16 December 1971. On this day, 46 years ago, 93,000 Pakistani troops raised white flags and surrendered to the Indian Army
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and the chiefs of the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force gathered at India Gate to pay homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in 1971 India-Pakistan war, at Amar Jawan Jyoti today
  • “On Vijay Diwas we salute the unflinching courage of all those who fought in 1971 and protected our nation diligently. Every Indian is proud of their heroism and service”, tweeted PM Modi

The India-Pakistan War of 1971 is known as one of the most heroic victories in military history. It ended with the surrender of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, with almost 1,00,000 soldiers being taken prisoners of war. Victory of India led to liberation of Bangladesh on December 16. Vijay Diwas is celebrated on this day.

Vijay Diwas
Bangladesh Liberation (The Tribune, Archives)

Here are 10 things to know about Vijay Diwas, 16 December 1971, the day when Indian Army liberated Bangladesh from Islamic Republic of Pakistan

  1. On 16 December 1971, the Governor of East Pakistan Lt General Niazi and his 93,000 troops admitted defeat to the joined forces – the Indian Army and East Pakistan’s Mukti Vahini – led by Lt General Jagjit Singh Arora. The surrender was signed at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka.
  2. In just 13 days, Indian forces, which included the Air Force, Para Troopers, Ground Force and Navy, made Dhaka independent.
  3. The war was a result of genocide by the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) which led to the migration of lakhs of refugees into India and humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made many attempts to gather international action against Pakistan and support to India to look after the refugees, but it did not happened. Only way ahead for India was to liberate Bangladesh.
  4. The genocide earned General Tikka Khan the nickname ‘Butcher of Bengal’ because of the widespread slaughters he had committed.
  5. Sri Lanka helped Pakistan in the 1971 War by allowing its aircraft to refuel at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.
  6. US supported Pakistan in this war. A long standing ally of Pakistan, China was encouraged by US to mobilise its armed forces along its border with India.
  7. The war lasted for few days but we lost 42 Indian fighters and 81 tankers as opposed to 86 aircrafts and 226 tankers of Pakistan.
  8. The war stripped Pakistan of more than half of its population and with nearly one-third of its army in captivity.
  9. Lance Naik Albert Ekka, Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, Major Hoshiar Singh and Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal were awarded with Param Vir Chakra for their selfless service in the 1971 India Pakistan war.
  10. In 1972 the Shimla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. India returned the POWs to Pakistan along with certain captured areas. In return, Pakistan recognized Bangladesh as an Independent country.
Vijay Diwas
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw during 1971 India-Pakistan war (DPR Photo Division Archives)

In his book The 1971 Indo-Pak War: A Soldier’s Narrative Pakistani Major General Hakeem Arshad Qureshi a veteran of this conflict noted:“We must accept the fact that, as a people, we had also contributed to the bifurcation of our own country.” The Hamoodur Rahman Commission, which was set up to investigate the causes of defeat of Pakistan, laid the blame squarely on Pakistani generals, accusing them of debauchery, smuggling, war crimes and neglect of duty.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Defence Minister looking into education fund cap issue: Army Chief

The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare had capped tuitions and hostel fees at Rs 10,000 per month in a letter dated September 13.

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The Defence Minister shall look into the education fund cap issue to resolve the problem
Minister of Defence Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi. Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised to resolve the issue of a cap of Rs 10,000 on educational expenses paid to the children of defence forces martyrs.

The Army chief further revealed that the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, has informed the Defence Minister of the issue, and she that has said the issue will be addressed on priority.

Defence Ministry sources reported that the Minister had held a meeting on the issue on Wednesday and a decision is likely to be announced soon.

General Rawat said: “For our martyrs, children are entitled (to) free education. It is a very good thing that the government has done. What has happened is possibly because of some misunderstanding– they have now capped it at Rs 10,000 because somebody must have calculated as to how much a person spends per month on child education,” .

“In our case, we have written to the government. I think the Defence Minister is completely seized of the problem. She is aware of it, and after we explained the reason to her… she said she is certainly concerned about it and will address the issue on priority,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

According to informed sources, Admiral Lanba, the most senior among the three service chiefs, wrote to the Minister to urge her to resolve the problem.

A letter dated September 13 by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare had capped fee for tuitions and hostel expenses at Rs 10,000 per month.

The demand to a rollback on the decision was also raised by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, and Union Minister of State for External Affairs General V.K. Singh, who is himself an Army ex-chief. (IANS)

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Prime Minister celebrates Diwali with Soldiers at LoC

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Facebook

Srinagar, October 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived in the border town of Gurez to celebrate Diwali with soldiers protecting the country’s borders.

Official reports said in summer capital Srinagar that the Prime Minister arrived at the Dawar Brigade headquarters of the Indian Army in Gurez border town on Thursday to celebrate Diwali with soldiers protecting the Line of Control (LoC).

Sources here said the Prime Minister is also visiting the far-flung Tulial area near the LoC in Gurez sector to spend some time with the soldiers there.

A day ahead of Modi’s visit, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat had visited the area on Wednesday to review the security situation in the Kashmir valley.(IANS)