|JYOTSNA KAMATH: THE VOICE BEHIND VOICES
Those who are addicted to Mysore Akashavani can never forget Dr.
Jyotsna Kamath's voice. Not that she was a vocalist, or a musician.
She was Akshavani's Director for quite some years and had become a
part of Mysore. She was the voice behind voices, a publicist of
publicists. She was a very good administrator, one who could draw
the best out of every member of her organisation, and made the radio
station throb in all directions. Her head was a beehive of activity,
always engaged in some innovation or the other.
The station was woefully lacking even in basic facilities, having
no infrastructure. The once most dynamic broadcasting station was
reduced to the state of disrepute because our State administrators
who wanted to reduce the royal city of Mysore to the status of a
semi-urban centre, shifted the radio station to Bangalore and
Mysore's voice was throttled.
The beautiful building specially designed and got constructed by
the visionary ruler of Mysore was converted into a godown.
A clever ploy
The people of Mysore are good talkers and not achievers. Though
some of the zealous officers of the All India Radio came forward to
secure again for Mysore a powerful station, our so-called leaders
never raised their voice against the injustice perpetrated against
the city. At last one of the engineers, who was a lover of Mysore,
devised a clever ploy and got a station. But it was so weak that its
voice could hardly be heard beyond the boundaries of the then
Any way, something was better than nothing. The repeated requests
by lesser men who were more concerned about it, were of no avail.
The higher authorities were frequently threatening that even the
weak station would be closed down!
The building which was being used as a godown, was poorly
equipped. The doors were rattling. Those who participated in the
programmes had to press the door close with one hand and hold the
script with the other hand!
Some of the Directors (they were called Assistant Directors!)
tried hard to improve the situation and were partially successful.
The apathy of the authorities came in the way. It was feared that
the station might be closed any day.
One of the directors of the station was Dr. Jyotsna Kamath. She
was aware of all the hurdles against which she had to struggle, but
never minded them. Not once did she mention them. Kriyasiddhi
(achievement) comes to those who have sattva (ability). They do not
grumble about the non-availability of facilities (upakarana).
Dr. Jyotsna Kamath (1937) belongs to Kumta town of Uttara Kannada
district. Her father was Ganesha Rao and mother Sharadabai. Ganesha
Rao was a Post Master and Jyotsna had her early education at the
village schools. Her father was a lover of books and possessed a
rich library. Jyotsna pored over the books with great avidity. She
found great pleasure like Robert Southey, in the company of great
authors who were not living. When she got the BA degree from the
Kumta college, she was brimming with great thoughts imbibed from the
best books that were available then. She was a student of Dr.
Krishna Murthy, a great Sanskrit scholar. She was interested in
history also. She studied for one year and got a diploma in
education. This helped her become a high-school teacher.
She had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and this led her to
the MA Degree in history. The professors who impressed her were Dr.
B.A. Saletore, Dr. P.B. Desai and Dr. G.S. Dixit. She took up
research which continued even after she was well in the service of
the All India Radio and was married and had a child. She got the
Ph.D. degree for her thesis on 'The social life in medieval
Karnataka,' which was later published by a Delhi publisher.
She took the UPSC examination and was selected and appointed as
the Programme Executive of Akashavani. She took her profession so
seriously that she never hesitated to go to any place to which she
was transferred. It was a blessing in disguise. She acquired a
wealth of experience and got an insight into the ways of living,
culture and languages of the people of the different regions. In
addition to Kannada and English, she knew Konkani, Hindi, Marathi,
Bengali and Sanskrit.
When Dr. Jyotsna Kamath was the director of Akashavani centres in
Mysore and Bangalore, she introduced many novel programmes, tried
her best to reach out to the people and chalked out novel
pro-grammes which were both entertaining and instructive. Folk arts,
classical music, dramas, talks and discussions were encouraged and
were made attractive.
She enlisted the co-operation of all sections of the people and
drew the best out of them. The running commentary of the famous
Dasara procession reached the heights of excellence, thanks to her
zeal and enthusiasm and innovative methods. With the skeleton staff
and poor equipment, she produced excellent results. She arranged a
series of talks by eminent persons on important topics and held Kavi
Goshtis (recitals of poems by the authors).
A collection of poems read at the time of Ugadi (New Year) and a
series of talks on the relevance of Gandhi today were brought out in
the form of collections. Such work continued in Bangalore also when
she became the Station Director there. The papers presented at the
workshop on 'writing for the radio' were also published in book form
Dr. Jyotsna Kamath is a writer also. 'The charms of family life,'
'See how we are' and a few other books are to her credit. She
evinced much interest in education and her book on the educational
tradition of Karnataka (in Kannada) has won the Academy Award as the
best book on the subject. She has written numerous articles on
diverse subjects. Her husband Dr. Krishnananda Kamath was a natural
scientist, photographer, artist and writer. Theirs was a happy and
contented family with one son.