December 25, 2016
This summer on a visit to the grave of Patras Bokhari, I spent some quite time at his grave. I reflected about the lives of two Bokhari brothers and an amazing character of his times Lionell Fielden. This piece was the outcome of that exercise. Good time to pay tribute on the death anniversary month of December of AS Bokhari and birth anniversary month of January of ZA Bokhari.
Ahmed Shah Bokhari and Zulfiqar Ali Bokhari were scions of Peshawar. Both brothers were very talented, had multiple interests and excelled in their chosen fields. Bokhari brothers are associated with the history of broadcasting in India.
Radio service in India was started in July 1927 as a private and amateur venture when Bombay radio station was established. This was the birth of Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC) about seven months after establishment of British Broadcasting Company (BBC). This private venture ended in a failure and company was liquidated in 1930.
In August 1935, Lionell Fielden arrived in India on loan from BBC to start Indian broadcasting. When radio arrived in India, no one knew about the importance of this new invention. In 1935, Marconi Company offered a radio transmitter and fifty radio sets to Indian government but no one was interested in it. Central government asked provincial governments if anyone was interested in the offer. Governor of North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.) Sir Ralph Griffith accepted the offer. He chose a young recent Oxford graduate Muhammad Aslam Khan Khattak in-charge of this project. Later, Fielden organized Indian broadcasting on a professional level and soon radio became the main instrument of information and entertainment.