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Rural buzz: His masterji’s voice
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 17
He has not taught in any school but is well-known as ‘masterji’. Voice is his identity, his passport to fame. In fact, in the rural pockets of the region, his vocal folds have been creating a buzz for the past 37 years.

Meet Avinash Bhakhari, the protagonist of Dehati Programme, one of the most popular local broadcasts of the All India Radio. The programme, which took off nearly four decades ago, is relayed from Jalandhar every evening and has been instrumental in ushering in the Green Revolution in Punjab and Haryana.

“The idea is to provide scientific know-how to farmers in a common language. We tell them about sowing of crops, use of pesticides, fertilisers and other issues related to agriculture sector. Apart from that, the effort is to attack social evils and entertain the rural masses through folk songs,” says Bhakhari, whose character ‘masterji’ struck an instant rapport with the ruralites.

Bhakhari joined the AIR in 1972 when he was 22 and since then he has been the ‘masterji’. “I love masterji. I am still excited to don his mantle everyday,” says Bhakhari, who would be feted tomorrow by the Punjab Agricultural University at a Kisan Mela in Ludhiana. There would also be a live broadcast of Dehati Programme (6.30 pm-7.30 pm) from the varsity

Hailing from Adampur, the radioman credits his solid performance to his rural background. “It greatly helped me in understanding my role,” he says, adding that the programme became a hit with farmers because of its strong rural connect. “It’s a mix of education, entertainment and social message,” adds Bhakhari.

Apart from masterji, the show’s other characters, including Fauja Singh, Bhaiaji, Thandu Ram, Raunki Ram, Mitha Singh and Rulia Ram, are also quite popular among the villagers. 



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