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Book review: Radio Kashmir, India and Pakistan by Dr Rajesh Bhat
A recent book on Indo-Pak relations has hit the stands. The book is, however, unique in nature as it speaks about Indo-Pakistan propaganda, since 1947, through Radio. No author, either from India or Pakistan, or across the globe has touched this unique subject involving Indo-Pakistani media propaganda.

Titled as  "Radio Kashmir in Times of Peace and war'', the book has emanated from an extensive and intensive research, as to how media plays immensely significant role in safeguarding the strategic interests of the Government by addressing the core issues concerning the welfare and security of a Nation.

Written by seasoned journalist from J&K, Dr Rajesh Bhat, presently working in Policy Division of All India Radio, Akashvani Bhawan, New Delhi, the book dwells at length how Radio Pakistan and its notorious Radio Trarkhal, since 1947,  beamed vicious misinformation against India to create unrest in the minds of people of J&K, while trifling with their sentiments and identity!

Given that Kashmir has remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan, the book is based on a doctoral study in terms of the pivotal function performed by Public Service Broadcaster like Radio Kashmir during the times of both peace and war since 1947. How assiduously it attempted to weave a cohesive social fabric, and diligently countered the malicious propaganda of Pakistan's electronic media from across the border, which camouflaged its territorial ambitions, and fought three wars with India! And why it is strategically called 'Radio Kashmir', despite being an integral part of All India Radio!

How under 'Operation Topac' ISI launched more radio stations, mostly along the Indo-Pak border to bombard airwaves with hostile ranting! How Radio Pakistan and 'Azad Kashmir Radio' acted as a bridge in establishing communication channels between the infiltrators and their masters!

How Radio Kashmir has earned the unique distinction of serving people and the Nation, in this conflict-ridden region, fostering and strengthening democratic institutions in the State, as also promoting 'people to people' contact between the citizens of the two countries through its popular drama and music broadcasts in Urdu, Punjabi and Gojri languages!

The author also draws attention towards the neglect of Radio Kashmir, especially during the proxy war launched by Pakistan in the 1990s, when its shenanigans were at peak, spreading anti-India canards in Kashmir. And hence, he pitches for the imperative need to have a concrete media contingency plan; a mechanism to plug the loopholes to restore the pristine glory of Radio in Jammu & Kashmir amidst numerous attacks on newsmen and media organizations in the State.

Further on, this volume dwells upon certain tactical measures and techniques that could possibly mitigate the gnawing friction through this medium, since India and Pakistan share a cultural lineage. As Radio is a repository of rich cultural ethos with a mass base, it could and should ably lend a hand in border areas and tough terrains, to redefine the future relationship of India and Pakistan.

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