The Hindi Service of Radio Veritas Asia known as Satyaswar, which means the voice of truth, has earned an important place among the International Radio Broadcasts. Over the last 24 years, it has become an important name in the list of the international radio broadcasting stations that makes a difference in the lives of thousands of listeners. The central province of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) has taken the responsibility to cooperate with RVA in preparing the programs. The “Satyaswar” programs are prepared under the leadership of Most Rev. Chacko Thottumarickal SVD in Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra, Indore and the Jesuits’ Communication centre Ravi Bharti, Patna.
Catholic Church in the Hindi area is a missionary Church, engaged in educational, evangelical and developmental activities amidst a population that is almost 98%non-Christian. There is very minimum use of media in the Church’s various activities. Therefore, the Church hierarchy in the Hindi region saw a place for a Catholic broadcast along with other Christian broadcasts. A Catholic radio service in Hindi could make a definite contribution to the evangelical, educational, and developmental activities of the Church in the Hindi area and RVA was the only Catholic Radio station in Asia that was best suited to meet the need of the Catholic Church.
The Hindi Section of RVA went on the air for the first time on July 3, 1988 on the feast of St. Thomas the apostle of India. Since then it has been broadcasting programs daily for the past 23 years. It has been an instrument for thousands of its listeners in molding their lives, bringing awareness of their situation and empowering them mentally, spiritually and socially. It has become an effective instrument for human development through its variety of programs through the years. True to its vision and mission, it is making earnest efforts to turn in every stone so that the programs have sure impact on its listeners. Since then, it has continued to broadcast uninterrupted from the Philippines and is tuned in by thousands of its listeners in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Mauritius etc.
It is so heartening to hear that the Hindi Section of RVA Satyaswar has thousands of listeners. The encouraging comments of its listeners make the producers proud and happy. But when one turns the pages of history, one realizes that to start the Hindi Service of RVA was not that easy. In the `70s, the Church in Asia was looking for a powerful medium for the spread of the Gospel. That search was accomplished by establishing Radio Veritas Asia. The first official broadcast of Radio Veritas Asia went on air on 11th April 1969.
It is good to note that Radio Veritas Asia, in its early years of broadcast, had very good response from its listeners. As a result, many other Asian languages were included.
Sadly, the Hindi Service was not yet included in the first two decades of Radio Veritas Asia’s existence. Those responsible in the planning of the Hindi broadcast were well aware of the potential of the language service in reaching its audience effectively. The primary reason for the delay in the transmission of the broadcast was mainly technical. Those responsible for providing the technical infrastructure could not avail of an antenna that could reach the northern part of India.
When the antenna was finally secured, Bishop Patrick D’Souza of Varnasi doubled the efforts to commence with the Hindi broadcasts. Navjyoti, Patna shouldered the responsibility in preparing the programs for the broadcast. June 1978 was the target year for the Hindi programs to go on air. The operation of the Hindi Service was confronted with two major problems. Finding trained and talented producers to do the programs was not easy. Equally difficult for the Hindi Service was that it was confronted with severe technical difficulties. In 1982, Fr. Sebastian Kannekatil, SJ who was then the Director of Ravi Bharti, Patna attempted to make another go for the Hindi broadcast. This time, financial problems pulled down once more the efforts to give the Hindi Service a push in its attempts to undertake its radio apostolate.
In the 1980s, Fr. Joseph Kayanni SVD was then in Manila, Philippines pursuing his Masters studies in Communications at the University of the Philippines IMC. His thesis was about the feasibility of transmitting a Hindi broadcast from Radio Veritas Asia. It was at this point that the broadcast of Hindi programs from Radio Veritas Asia took its solid roots. Armed with his thesis knowledge about the need for a Hindi broadcast, he undertook continuous contacts with his superiors in Central India, Indore as well as with the Management of Radio Veritas Asia, Philippines.
The Bishop of Indore, Bishop George Anathil SVD, together with the Central Indian Provincial and Fr. Clarence Srambical, SVD who was the Director of Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra, Indore combined their efforts to work on the Hindi Service Project. Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra, Indore and Ravi Bharti, Patna were given the responsibilities of producing quality programs for the Hindi broadcast. Finally, on the 3rd of July 1988, the first Hindi program successfully went on the air.