Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Paranjoti who was All India Radio’s first Station Director

Charming with PR and music

I had known of Victor Paranjoti as founder and Conductor of the Bombay-based Paranjoti Choir and a person passionately involved with Western Classical music in India. What I didn't know was that he started his career in Madras with All India Radio and moved to Bombay where he became a pioneer in the production of house journals, something I was into many years later. It was while searching for some information on All India Radio, Madras (AIR-M) that I caught up with these other facets of Paranjoti.

Picture Courtesy: The Hindu
In Madras, he joined All India Radio in its fledgling days when it operated from a house on Marshall’s Road (opposite the Rajaratnam Stadium). It was Paranjoti who was All India Radio’s first Station Director, Madras, when it began broadcasting on June 16, 1938. Deeply committed to music, he introduced a substantial musical content in the programming, including Western Classical. To improve AIR-M’s programmes, he constantly sought feedback. And for this, he not only visited many a listener’s home but he would also anonymously mingle with the crowds on the Marina, in Panagal Park (T.Nagar) and Mylapore Beach adjoining what is now the Fishermen's and Foreshore Estates - where, from little booths equipped with loudspeakers, AIR-M programmes were broadcast every evening - to get the views of man-in-the-street listeners. In the process, he no doubt honed the skills he was to use in the world he was to move into after 15 years with All India Radio, Madras - the world of Public Relations. But even while working in this world he never lost contact with radio; he did a lot of music programming for AIR-Bombay.

From Madras, Paranjoti moved to Bombay in the 1950s to head the Public Relations Department of ACC Cement, where he introduced one of the first house journals in India. While there, he became the founder president of the Association of Business Communicators of India and played a major role in getting business houses to publish house journals as an essential public relations measure. On retirement, he joined The Times of India as its first national Business Editor and, once again, became a founder president, this time of the Indian Association of Industrial Editors. Moving on from newspapers, he founded his own company to edit house journals for others and produced them for many a leading Bombay company.

It was in 1960 that Paranjoti transformed the Bombay Amateur Light Opera Sabha into the Paranjoti Academy Chorus, whose conductor he was for the rest of his life. It was the first Indian choir to perform in Europe and, in the years that followed, it visited, during Paranjoti's lifetime and his leadership, two dozen countries. Today, it performs abroad at least once a year.

The Paranjoti Choir has sung in 22 languages, including most of the Indian languages, and offers, apart from Western Classical music, spiritual, folk, traditional and modern music. Several of its songs are compositions of Paranjoti. And these too live up to the Choir’s motto: ‘International harmony through international music.’

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/ Via MADRAS MISCELLANY S. MUTHIAH in his "Love this historian" article published on October 26, 2012