Srinagar’s 92.7 FM radio station is the social indicator of the fact that Kashmir valley after witnessing violence-ridden year 2010 is limping towards stabilization.
After discontinuing playing metal-heavy and high-on-beats songs last year, the radio station is back with ‘dhin chak’ (high-energy) songs with no complaints from listeners.
Last summer when the killing of a schoolboy pushed the valley into an unending cycle of protests and deaths for more than five months, Srinagar’s lone radio jockey, RJ Nasir, kept the station going despite odds.
“When I recall those days, it was hell. My two colleagues, who had to come from downtown Srinagar to reach our station at Karan Nagar, failed to do so because of stringent curfews and stone-throwing protesters,” Nasir told the Hindustan Times.
Sardar Nasir Ali Khan, who lives in uptown Barzalla Bhagat, was the sole voice to keep the FM going in the valley despite the turmoil, which left 112 people dead.
But Nasir had to face the music from netizen protesters. “I received hundreds of messages on the wall of social networking site Facebook. People would ask me to discontinue playing songs ‘as the valley was burning and people were dying’,” said Nasir.
Nasir had a hard job to radio jockey without hurting the sensibilities of the listeners and play songs that suits the situation. “I decided only to play smooth songs of 80s and early 90s like Kumar Sanu in film Ashique. I stopped playing all metal-heavy and high-on-beat songs,” said Nasir.
He also played devotional songs during the turmoil period, which are otherwise played only on Friday.
The RJ avoided playing then a rage and the country’s favourite numbers like Sheela ki jawani and Muni badnam hui. “Now Shiela and Munni are back on the musical panel,” said Nasir.
Nasir said the acceptance of ‘dhin chak’ music by listeners reflect the changed mood of the people. “No one complains about playing high-on-beats songs now,” said Nasir.
With summer round the corner, all eyes are on the RJ. Whether he will play smooth songs or high-on-beat, upcoming summer only has the answers.