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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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It is likely many of these displaced people will decide to return to their communities now that the life-saving aid they need can be had closer to home.

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Because the towns had no humanitarian services, he says many people had abandoned their villages. He says they were living in overcrowded settlements in far-away urban centers where medical care was available.

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He says it is likely many of these displaced people will decide to return to their communities now that the life-saving aid they need can be had closer to home. (VOA)