Prasar Bharati Corporation (PBC) is sparing no effort in giving independent India’s first Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister his due.

Both All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD), which come under the PBC, will be dedicating substantial chunks of prime time to mark the occasion, turning it into a blockbuster event.

Among the directives to officials in AIR, which The Hindu has seen, and there are six, is this one: “A magnificent portrait may be conceived showing Sardar Patel with a background of fragmented erstwhile princely states at the time of partitions and in another part of the same portrait, Sardar Patel be shown with the backdrop of one unified India as it exists today. This portrait will be superscribed with ‘Akashvani Salutes the Imagination and Determination of the Great Unifier of India’ and the same would be said in Hindi”.

All these decisions emerged after a meeting on October 13 under the chairmanship of I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

A week has been earmarked to observe Mr. Patel’s anniversary — from a theme-based Sandesh Mela, based on his speeches, to a discussion on the Transfer of Power, Amalgamation of Princely States and the Creation of Modern India. Doordarshan will follow suit, with similar programmes on prime time.

Interactive session

But it is not just DD and AIR, an official from the PBC said the Press Information Bureau (PIB) has also been instructed to mark Mr. Patel’s anniversary.

Instructions have also gone to AIR’s External Services Division and social media managers to highlight Mr. Patel’s speeches from their archival collection, and also run an interactive platform inviting people to write about Mr. Patel’s lesser known aspects. An official in DD, who did not wish to be on record, said elaborate planning on such a large-scale was absent for Congress leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

All India Radio also hosts an annual lecture as a mark of respect to Mr. Patel, India’s first Information and Broadcasting Minister, a convention that was started back in 1955, with C. Rajagopalachari delivering the first address.

This time, Mr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State at the PMO, is delivering the address on Cooperative Federalism.

All the wings of the government, including the PIB, have been instructed to observe and mark the day. – The Hindu