Uday Nath Hanthal, Station Manager, Radio Dhimsa, shares his impressions of the work and vision of the station.
I have been associated and working with Radio Dhimsa for the last ten years. Reaching out to the people in the valley, spending time with them, discussing their rituals, society, and way of life has been the foremost aim of Radio Dhimsa. At the outset, I would like to thank the people of Koraput, who live miles away from the state capital of Odisha, in a clean and green yet under-developed valley, for taking steps to develop the area. I would also like to thank the self-help groups, which in association with UNICEF has provided this broadcasting facility from 2008 to more than one lakh sixty thousand people residing in Umuri block in the district of Koraput.
Lofty hills, uneven terrain, dense jungles, rivers, and waterfalls together describe the geographical location of Koraput, which is home to a number of tribes and groups of people using different dialects. The primary source of the livelihood of these people is agriculture. They grow various kinds of cereals, vegetables, and other cash crops. They also prefer to grow seasonal fruits and vegetables and sometimes resort to fishing. The people celebrate every festival with great fervour and excitement. Among the more famous ones are Pousa Parab, Chaiti Parab, Benta Puja, and Nishani Puja. They celebrate their festivals with appropriate customs and traditions of the particular village. Every village has its own festival and a different way of celebrating it. For every occasion they have special arrangements and rituals. They mostly make craft items made up of bamboo and decorate their homes.
The staple food is rice, green herbs, water, and rice water. When there is scarcity or unavailability of rice, they prefer various dishes made out of dried Indian millet (ragi). Sometimes, they also eat dishes made up of mango kernel and tamarind seeds. They prepare different types of vegan recipes, which are commonly not known to city dwellers. For them rice is not specific to two or three varieties but eat as many as five to six varieties.
People belonging to communities such as Nayak, Barik, Chalani, Pujari, Dandasi live in this area. Radio Dhimsa provides a platform for the voices for these communities and enables them to earn their livelihood with self-respect and dignity.
The radio also airs specific programmes which help to uphold their morale and encourages them to articulate their rights. It provides them with an opportunity to express themselves in their mother tongue and get all necessary information regarding the outside world in their language.
Original (Desia version) by: Uday Nath Hantal, Station Manager, Radio Dhimsa
English Translation by: Joydev Majumdar, Radio Enthusiast, Bhubaneswar