The island was ravaged in the 1964 cyclone during which all forms of connectivity was lost. Railway tracks, roads, electricity and telephone links were destroyed in the cyclone and fishermen lost their livelihood.
Only recently a road was laid from Rameswaram to Dhanushkodi and drinking water was supplied to the people after five decades. However, the island is still devoid of power supply and so 250 families residing there do not have the luxury of enjoying technological advancements like the outside world.
Because of the absence of power supply, they are forced to rely on radios. Radios serve as not just the only means of communication but also as the sole means of entertainment for the people. Speaking to DTNEXT, Chandra Bose, a 75-year-old fisherman, said he was one of the few who had witnessed the cyclone and its aftermath. He had seen the island turning into a desert after the cyclone, with the snapping of communication and how radios started dominating their life.
“Radios are the only tool of communication in the island and we come to know about the daily happenings only through radios. Through the news, we come to know about the warnings of the Meteorological Department and act accordingly,” said Chandra Bose. He has become too old to venture into the sea and
is now involved in repairing nets. As he is always seen with his radio by his side, he is called ‘Radio Thatha’(radio grandfather) by the locals.
Sethuraj, who runs a tea shop in Palam village in Dhanushkodi, said a large number of people assemble in his shop to listen to the news and to discuss daily happenings, said Sethuraj.
Muthumari, a homemaker, said that apart from the news. radios serve as the only means of entertainment for them. Apart from Indian stations, Sri Lankan government station can also be clearly received in the island.
Mahalingam, a fisherman, said that sometimes Dhanushkodi fishermen take radios along with them to the sea to keep themselves updated about any news of fishermen arrests and natural calamities, but on several occasions their radios were seized by Indian Coast Guard personnel.
World Radio Day is observed every year on February 13 to remember the unique power of the radio to touch lives and bring people together in every corner of the globe.
Though radio use is waning across the world, World Radio Day is still relevant for the people of Dhanushkodi.