Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before Diwali last year, ‘Sandesh to Soldiers’ had struck the right chord among many Indians, who lovingly sent out their good wishes to our defence personnel. Taking this sentiment forward, last month, the Pune station of Akashvani launched a weekly programme dedicated to men in uniform.
Titled Salaam Vardi (A salute to the uniform), the show is a well-crafted combination of documentaries, interviews and discussions featuring officers and their exemplary service. Pune, the headquarter of Indian Army’s Southern Command, is also the city where young recruits to the armed forces are inducted and trained, at the National Defence Academy (NDA), College of Military Engineering (CME) and the Armed Forced Medical College (AFMC).
Numerous key laboratories of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) are also based out of Pune.
“As the city has such deep defence roots, we felt the need to have a show dedicated to recognising and narrating their heroic stories to the world,” Gopal Autee, deputy director (programme) at AIR, Pune told The Indian Express. But there were plenty of challenges in the path of putting together the on-sir shows, as on many occasions, the narratives by the speakers became quite emotional.
“Unlike the audio-video medium, it is a very tricky task to derive the essence of these stories, experiences and support it with appropriate background music and voice-overs… many of them very moving ones,” said Arun Solanki, assistant director (programme), who is in charge of the show. The first part was launched on September 13 and featured Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. Initially, the show was supposed to be aired only from the Pune station.
“The popularity of the show has been encouraging, so other AIR stations in the state will also begin to air the show, starting this month,” said Solanki. Now, developers of the show are also planning to feature villages in Maharashtra that are famous for being homes to martyrs. Sharing further details about this initiative, Solanki said, “Satara district has given birth to many soldiers, who have, over several decades, led all frontiers. As part of this show, we will also cover these villages.”
Right now, the team is busy with last-minute preparations to feature recently commissioned officer Swati Mahadik, wife of late Colonel Santosh Mahadik. After the completion of her training, she was posted at the Army Ordnance Corps in Dehu Road in Pune.