Fri, Jul 28, 2017 | updated 12:25 AM IST

Recollections of a Communicator: The resilience of war ravaged Vietnam is inspirational

Updated: Sep 03, 2016 15:41 IST      
Recollections of a Communicator: The resilience of war ravaged Vietnam is inspirational

By I. Ramamohan Rao

New Delhi [India], Sept. 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on a one-day visit to Vietnam today said that his host country, a victim of war, had adopted a path of "Budh not Yudh" (peace via Buddhism and not war) and that was lesson to all nations.

Three decades ago when I had visited Vietnam, that too was my a country had single-mindedly shut the door on conflict and made peaceful living its way of life.

As head of the News Services Division of All India Radio in 1984 , I was sent to Vietnam on the request by the Asian Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) to conduct a course to train personnel of Radio Voice of Vietnam in preparing news bulletins.

The request was an offshoot of my visit to Philippines where I had participated in a conference on broadcasting. The head of the AIBD, Mr. Balakrishnan, who was engaged in the task of training journalists of newly independent countries of Asia, had asked me if I would be interested in training young journalists. He said that he would request the Government of India to depute me to conduct a course in Vietnam.

When I asked him why All India Radio and why not say the BBC or CNN, he replied that Vietnam was unlikely to welcome western media organizations to run such a course, particularly after the violent conflict that the country had gone through and India would be a welcome option.

Soon after my return to India from Philippines, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting received a request from the AIBD to send me to Vietnam to organize the course. My three-week stay in that country was very educative for me too.

The route to Hanoi was through Bangkok. I recall having landed in Bangkok and waiting for a Vietnamese commercial aircraft to take me to Hanoi. I got into the plane and asked for my seat. I was told that the seats were not marked and I could take any. That was a first for me! The plane was soon full and there were many standing passengers too. The passengers were mostly Vietnamese migrant workers from the East European countries and were visiting their homes for a short holiday. At the time of take-off and landing, they sat on the aisle. During the flight I went to the washroom, when I returned my seat was occupied. I then had to wait for another person to go to the washroom and then go grab his seat. That was the norm I was told and nobody created a scene.

The airport in Hanoi was similar to a suburban Indian airport in the early fifties, very basic and dare I say, primitive. The drive to the city was through farmlands. Ho Chi Minh City had some buildings of the French colonial period style that had survived the American invasion. The crowded streets were packed with people cycling to their offices. The bazaars had local produce which was very similar to vegetable markets of South India. My first taste of Green Tea was in Vietnam and I soon developed a liking for it.

The paddy fields and the thatched roofed homes in the countryside was very similar to north-east India. The people were hesitant to speak about the War or about pain and terror of those years. The war ended on 30th April, 1975, and its people were determined that door was to remain closed. It was time to move on.

I visited the areas, which were ravaged by war and also the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The communist leader's body is preserved in a glass case in the central hall where a military honour soldier stands in guard.

The broadcast course I taught was attended by sixteen participants, seven of them from the Radio Voice of Vietnam and the rest from the provincial stations. I was told that they had experience of ten to twenty years in journalism. The opening session was attended by Le Quy, Vice President of the State Committee for Vietnam Radio and Television.

Soon, I realized that their exposure to the techniques of radio journalism was minimal. They could not distinguish the difference between printed news and the spoken word, and that each news item had an introduction giving details of the position occupied by newsmakers and the news itself appeared at the end.

In consultation with Le Quy, I altered the course and taught them how to prepare a news bulletin and compile and edit current affairs programmes. It took a couple of days for me to make them understand the concept of the lead sentence and the 'inverted pyramid' style in drafting items.

I had to drill into them the need to keep in mind the interest of 'listeners' and impress them of the need to utilize the medium of radio effectively as a catalyst for social change. Many of the techniques I had the fortune of picking up from the legendary Mr. Melville D'Mellow at the All India Radio, New Delhi

On the final day, the bulletin drafted by the participants was played and Le Quay, who presided, pointed out that it carried fourteen items, while the earlier bulletins had only four. Many of the participants said that the course had 'opened their eyes' to the need for writing in talking style, while writing for the radio. At the end of the course, I invited a team from Radio Voice of Vietnam to visit the newsroom of the All India Radio in India.

The youth in Vietnam in the eighties were keen to wipe out the ravages of war. Many said that their parents spoke of the destruction of their country first by the French and then by the Americans. They had managed to expel foreign powers, now they wanted to rebuild their nation. Thirty years on, Vietnam is a rising Asian power now, but a gentle non aggressive one. Hope it stays away from any conflict.

[Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India. He can be reached on e-mail at raoramamohan@hotmail.] (ANI)

TN: PM Modi flags off weekly express train at Rameswaram

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 23:53 IST     

Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) [India], July 27 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the weekly express train Shraddha Sethu Express in Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram.

Full Story >>

Flood situation in Assam under control: Rijiju

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 23:38 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): The flood situation in Assam is under control and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) with the state government is keeping a constant round the clock watch on the situation, the Centre said in Parliament on Thursday.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Thursday sentenced Abid Khan for five years of rigorous imprisonment and asked him to pay Rs. 5,000 for hatching a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and owing allegiance to the banned terrorist organisation ISIS.

Full Story >>

J-K: Terrorists fire upon joint party of Army, Police

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 23:30 IST     

Shopian/Kulgam (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], July 27 (ANI): Few terrorists fired upon a joint party of the Army and the Police on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir, which was returning from a cordon and search operation at Shopian district's Materbugh area.

Full Story >>

Ministry of Defence enhances financial powers to Armed Forces

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 22:49 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): The Ministry of Defence on Thursday decided to delegate substantial financial powers to the Armed Forces for undertaking works for the perimeter security of sensitive military installations.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July27 (ANI): Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday announced that the state government would soon launch a mobile app for farmers to apply online for the loan waiver and for this, the government has opened nearly 26,000 facilitation centers to help them fill the forms.

Full Story >>

Howrah (West Bengal) [India], Jul 27 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the flood-affected areas on Thursday, said she has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dam does not release large amounts of water which has been causing flood in several areas.

Full Story >>

Party had no idea about CM Nitish's plan, claims JD(U)

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 22:11 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): Surprised with the overnight change in the government in Bihar, Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) senior leaders on Thursday asserted they had no idea about the decision being taken by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): The Congress on Thursday remained unperturbed after three of its members from Gujarat joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said the deflection won't affect the party's prospects in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

Full Story >>

Chhagan Bhujbal files fresh plea in special PMLA court

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 21:42 IST     

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July 27 (ANI): Ex-deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Thursday filed a fresh bail plea in special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court here.

Full Story >>

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Jul 27 (ANI): Former deputy inspector general (Prisons) D. Roopa on Thursday said she wouldn't apologise and is ready to face the court proceedings after former Director General of Police (Prisons) H.N. Sathyanarayana Rao sent a legal notice asking her for her unconditional apology into the alleged bribery remarks she had made against him.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): With the latest political ruckus in Bihar, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) on Thursday lashed out at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stating that the recent episode in the state politics has brought his dubious character to fore.

Full Story >>

CBI arrests garrison engineer employee for accepting bribe

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:54 IST     

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], July 27 (ANI): The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday arrested Lt. Colonel J.S. Bath of Garrison Engineer and R.B. Chauhan, an assistant in Garrison engineer for accepting bribe for clearing pending bills of civil contractor.

Full Story >>

LS passes Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:49 IST     

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): The Lok Sabha passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Several amendments were moved by the government during the passage of the Bill.The Bill amends the 2013 Act to address difficulties in implementation with respect to compliance requirements and facilitates ease of doing business.

Full Story >>

Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid talk about nationalism on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra's show

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:49 IST      By: Bani Simer Kaur

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra recently invited Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid on his chat show 'Shut Up Ya Kunal' on YouTube with the aim of providing them an opportunity to speak their mind.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): Delhi's Patiala House Court on Thursday issued a notice to National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Tihar Jail authorities on a plea seeking interim bail on medical grounds by an alleged ISIS suspect Mohammed Shareef Moinuddin Khan for allegedly recruiting and financing people to join the terror outfit.

Full Story >>

BJP's Odisha delegation meets EC to disqualify CM Patnaik

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:24 IST     

New Delhi [India], Jul 27 (ANI): An Odisha Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation led by party leader Sambit Patra on Thursday met the Election Commission seeking to disqualify Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as MLA over alleged irregularities in the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) election-funding.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], July 27 (ANI): A day after a legal notice was served to former deputy inspector general of police (DIG) (Prisons) D. Roopa for defaming Director General (Prisons) G. Sathyanarayan Rao, the latter's lawyer on Thursday stated that they would initiate civil and criminal proceedings in this matter.

Full Story >>

Congress MLAs are frustrated with party's ideology: BJP

Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:00 IST     

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India] July 27 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said that the Congress MLAs are annoyed with the party itself and its ideology, and therefore, are resigning in frustration.

Full Story >>

Gurugram (Haryana) [India], July 27 (ANI):To mark the 18th Kargil Vijay Diwas, the DLF Foundation, in partnership with NGO Citizen4Forces, hosted 'Symphony of Victory', a series of events dedicated to the heroes in uniform who perished in the line of fire.

Full Story >>