Aapki Farmayish… Jhumri Telaiya Se….

Agli farmaish hai, Jhumri Telaiya se Rajkumar ki…. echoed Ameen Sayani’s inimitable baritone voice on Radio Ceylon, The first broadcasting station of South Asia. Have you wondered why the name Jhumri Telaiya has occurred regularly on Radio, Tv and movies? Jhumri Telaiya is a legend…. a part of folklore, a name that has been a part of every radio freak, since the 1950s! It isn’t a person, (well almost) … Jhumri Telaiya is a small town/ city, a part of Koderma district of Jharkhand.

Believe you me, I was among those who mentioned the name numerous times, but amidst sarcasm, in ignorance of it being a REAL place! So, why does this small town hold so much weight? Why do I call it a Legend? The famous Radio Story!

jhumri telaiya

In the 1950s, when  television was still a yearning for many Indian homes, radio programmes were a huge entertainment source, probably the only one. People in Indian villages took to radio as a means to keep abreast with the news and well…. the entertainment world.  Radio Ceylon gained popularity after B.V. Kesakar, the then Information and Broadcasting Minister, banned film music on All India Radio in 1952.

jhumri telaiyaRadio Ceylon’s most popular programme for Hindi film songs was  Binaca Geetmala, hosted by the legendary Ameen Sayani. The buzzing radio sound, fine tuned to the sound of the iconic host calling out names for song requests, was a regular act witnessed in all homes and shops.   That was when a mica mining tycoon from Jhumri Telaiya, Rameshwar Prasad Barnwal, decided to join the trend.  Barnwal’s name started appearing regularly in the requests announced in this show. Tempted by the thought of hearing their name on radio, two other residents of Jhumri Telaiya, decided to join the postcard sending bandwagon, and that set the town trending.

jhumri telaiya

Their popularity and names announced regularly on the show, catapulted them to the heights of almost a celebrity. As was natural to happen, it set of a cult of sorts….  every resident of Jhumri Telaiya clamoured to hear their name over the radio too. There arose a competitive streak amongst the dwellers to send out more requests than the others, leading to forming Listeners’ Clubs! Such was the furore that the 15 seconds of fame created.

A popular belief also says that postmen were bribed by the residents to post only their letters sent to the radio show! Now what happened after, was amazing….. at one point Jhumri Telaiya boasted of being the town with the largest number of radio sets! A request a day, was the least that was sent from the town.

jhumri telaiya

In 1957, when All India Radio re-started broadcasting old Hindi film songs on Vividh Bharti Service (VBS), the whole town began sending postcards, with the request format printed on postcards, with only the song details being filled in by hand. When pure love for music transformed to such competitive passion, is inexplicable, but it sure did lend Jhumri Telaiya a fair amount of fame!

My research tells me that Jhumri Telaiya became such a pertinent part of folklore, that Jhumri Telaiya fan clubs began springing up in other states. Taking inspiration from this enterprising little town, the other smaller villages followed suit and started sending postcards to radio stations as well.

jhumri telaiya

The town’s name was immortalised in Bollywood songs too. Remember the Jagga Jasoos song, crooning “Mera gaanv Jhumri Telaiya hai, Tera gaanv shayad Timbuktu”?

Jaw Dropping Facts About Jhumri Talaiya That Are Not Spoken Of….

  • During the 1960s, Mercedes and Porsche cars, and thoroughbreds from Arabia used to be a common sight in Jhumri Telaiya.
  • It is also known for The Telaiya Dam. It was the first dam introduced in the first phase of Damodar Valley Corporation. Its scenic beauty is worth admiring.
  • The Sainik School nestled in the terrain dots another landmark on this city.
  • Jagannath Sahu, a 66-year-old flour merchant, is probably the last letter-writer to All India Radio’s music programmes from Jhumri Telaiya.
  • Now, this famously unique town is known for it’s sweet preparation, “Kalakand’.


Hats off to this trail blazing little  place that set the trend for generations…. and programmes to come! Now saying “Main Jhumri Telaiya se hoon” is so much easier, no?


About Author

Dipti Datta

Dipti is an entrepreneur and a libertarian. Previously associated with some of the most renowned television channels and personalities as a stylist and being a qualified fashion designer her creative bent is apparent. Also,Having worked copiously with a team as an Operations Manager on an online portal, her conviction to work as a team player is undaunting. Her inclination to write is very strong as well, inevitably, as she holds a bachelors degree in English literature. Dipti is A travel buff, an avid reader and a painter and also dabbles in writing poetry. She believes that creativity is the best form of reform.Dipti is determined to associate herself with people and work alike, that refine her tastes and sharpen her sensibilities.


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