On World Radio Day, Meet Odisha’s Vintage Radio Collector

A carpenter by profession, handcrafting and collecting vintage radios has been Rajendra’s passion.

2 min read
Rajendra Sahu displays one of his radios from his vintage collection.

Walking into Rajendra Sahu’s one-room house in Bhubaneswar, it is impossible not to notice the hundreds of radio sets crammed at one side.

“There are 250 sets only. Soon, there will be more,” 39-year old Rajendra Sahu says proudly.

A carpenter by profession, handcrafting and collecting vintage radios has been Rajendra’s passion. In 2009, he made his first radio using wood and has continued to add more to the fleet ever since.

I have made 13 wooden radios of different sizes. I grew up listening to radio, and was fascinated with the gadget. Though I loved listening to radio, I had no prior knowledge about making it. Gradually, I started designing them myself and used old circuits to make a customised gadgets.
Rajendra Sahu
Rajendra Sahu currently owns 250 sets of radios.
Rajendra Sahu currently owns 250 sets of radios.
(Photo Courtesy: Tazeen Qureshy)

Over the years, Rajendra, the sole earning member of his family, also developed an interest in collecting vintage radio. Whenever he had less work, he would travel to different villages to collect radios of different brands.

“Initially, my family thought I was just wasting time. Over the years, when people started giving me the tag of ‘Radio Collector,’ they realised I was doing a good work indeed,” says Sahu.

Rajendra Sahu with his family.
Rajendra Sahu with his family.
(Photo Courtesy: Tazeen Qureshy)

On World Radio Day, Rajendra, along with other radio enthusiasts, showcased their collection at the Outreach International Radio Fair, touted to be the only Radio Fair in the country.

“We have tried to bring national and international radio broadcasters at one platform and promote the knowledge about radio among masses. The exhibit has a radio repair shop and a dedicated stall where the customer can design his own customised radio,” says Subrat Pati, chief convenor of the event.

At the fair, enthusiasts like Rajendra have tried to keep the popularity alive of the gadget, which is losing its sheen.

“It is obvious that over the years, radio is gradually losing its importance. I love collecting radios, but my children, who are still studying, have no such interest in the gadget. So, slowly the popularity of radio is diminishing,” says Rajendra.

But, they are far from thinking negatively. “No, radio will not die out. Till the time radio enthusiasts like me exist, we will not let the gadget die out,” Rajendra firmly declares.

(Tazeen Qureshy is a freelance journalist based in Bhubaneswar. She has worked with national media houses such NDTV and India Today. Qureshy’s writes on a variety of topics, including women and sports.)

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