Oct 10, 2009
Amrita School of Communication, Coimbatore
Balaji Patturaj just loves to talk.
This graduate from the Amrita School of Communication in Coimbatore is the radio jockey for Radio Mirchi‘s prime-time morning program, Hello Coimbatore.
Modeled after popular American shows of the same genre, these programs are very popular among college-going and working professionals in urban Indian towns and cities.
This past Sunday, Balaji, who has been with the program since its inception, two years ago in Coimbatore, was honored by the Rotary Club for spreading positive energy every morning in the city and helping make a difference in people’s lives.
Also honored along with him, were four other individuals — all attempting to make a difference in different ways. There was a nun, a teacher, a social worker and an individual running a home for mentally retarded kids. Balaji, now 23, was the youngest among them.
“I feel honored to have shared the same platform with those who have put in decades of service to humanity,” he stated later. “It is because of the encouragement that I received from my family, my grandfather who taught me to read a lot, my teacher at Amrita who gave me the right guidance, believed in me and mentored me.”
Balaji was part of a class of just seven students in the Postgraduate Diploma course in Journalism, during 2006-07. The students received a lot of time and attention from their teacher, Prof. Rakesh Katarey. “He would give us DVDs to watch, and help us critically review films. This is helping me today, where I have to frequently review movies on my program.”
So what does Balaji do on his show, in addition to reviewing movies and playing songs for listeners?
“I take up social issues and call up the people in-charge, live on the show, for a solution. For example, when Avinashi became a six-lane highway, I was there, during the inauguration, doing my show live, from location. Two weeks later, however, when people were complaining that the lanes were not wide enough, I called up the Commissioner. He promised to look into it, and he did.”
Balaji has called up both high-ranking officials and lay people to solve problems. He has tried to rally people behind worthy causes. When he heard that blind schools in Coimbatore had no audio libraries, he promoted the idea on his show. 40 donated CD players were soon sitting in his office at Radio Mirchi, that were subsequently gifted to blind schools in the city. Balaji and his colleagues now try to ensure that the schools get a steady supply of audio CDs, as well.
“In college, I had a lot of raw energy,” Balaji recalls, while reminiscing about the times he spent on the Amrita campus. “Amrita helped channelize it in the right direction. We could walk to the canteen with our Professor, discuss issues with him and learn how to see them in a broader perspective.”
Balaji fondly remembers his meeting with Chancellor Amma. “Many people tell me that they hope to receive Amma’s darshan one day. I was fortunate to meet Amma, within 15 days of joining Amrita.”
Balaji Patturaj, India’s leading radio program presenter, we, at Amrita, are proud of you.
“During a specially organized ceremony at Park Plaza, Balaji’s work was cited as an example of how mass media can be used to make people introspect and act for the well being of society,” proudly noted Prof. Paranjothi Ramalingam, HoD, Amrita School of Communication.
“Thanking the organizers for the honor bestowed upon him, Balaji singled out his teacher, who motivated and trained him at Amrita, on how one could use even a song-based mass-medium like radio for the betterment of communities. He also thanked Radio Mirchi for giving him the freedom to experiment.”
Our best wishes that Balaji continues making a difference to life in Coimbatore, through creativity and excellence in his vocation.