Community radio: Jalsa Fiji in Hindustani

Community radio: Jalsa Fiji in Hindustani

Jalsa Fiji Radio, which is broadcast weekly on Plains FM96.9 in Christchurch, has evolved as a two-part programme that provides both local and overseas news on Indian culture.

Broadcast live every Saturday, the show now takes the form of Jalsa Fiji Radio Dip Chick Moments, which is presented from 5.30pm to 6pm; and Party Hour, between 7pm and 8pm.

“Our purpose is to provide something for our Indian community – news, information and entertainment from their own culture. It’s a programme that belongs to them,” says the leader of the team that presents Jalsa Fiji Radio, Vinesh Prakash, who migrated to New Zealand from Fiji.

“The show is spoken mainly in Hindustani, with a bit of English occasionally, while Fiji Hindustani also contains some English.

“We mainly talk about events in Christchurch, such as the recent kite-flying festival and other cultural activities.

“Occasionally broadcast in Indian, it’s mainly an Indian programme, with some Fijian aspects. The Bollywood news basically comes from India, while other news, such as rugby, comes from Fiji.

“After the devastating cyclone in Fiji about a year ago, we broadcast a report on the damage direct from a popular Fijian broadcaster. We also passed on information to local Fijian Indian residents on how to donate money and other things, such as clothes, to the victims.

“Besides Fijian news, in Party Hour we talk about events throughout New Zealand. We tell people they have a right to vote, including in local elections, and encourage them to do so but without our show getting politically involved.”

Jalsa Fiji Radio started on Plains FM96.9 in October 2014 on the initiative of Christchurch Multicultural Funding, which has assisted about half a dozen cultural groups to present their own radio programmes.

“My wife, Rajneeta, started the show once a month. She enjoyed it very much and brought me in. It’s been evolving ever since, and we were thrilled to be a finalist of 2015 New Zealand Radio Awards in Best Music Programme in Any Language Category,”  says Vinesh.

Vinesh and Rajneeta are assisted by groups of people from both Fiji and India who go by the names of the Dip Chicks, the Desi Boys and the Bad Boys, who present the news and music.

Their real names are D.J. Avi, Monil Nand, Shahil Sharan, Smrita Tiwari,  Rahul Tiwari and Krish Krishna.

“People tell us that they are thrilled and pleased, and have become quite proud that there is a show in Christchurch that they can listen to. There are lots of Indian and Fijian groups here and we tell them what the others are doing,” says Vinesh.

- Hans Petrovic

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