Rajni Kaul, 90, opens up about her life in conversation with her her fellow broadcaster, Pervaiz Alam. She regales her audience with amazing stories from her career, starting from All India Radio to the BBC Hindi Service in London.
Born in the city of Peshawar on 15th July 1929, Rajni got married to Kashmiri Pandit, Mahendra Kaul, who would go on to establish himself as a legendary broadcaster, working with the VOA in Washington and BBC in London.
Mahendra Nath Kaul was decorated with Order of the British Empire in 1975, after the World War II for services to race relations through his BBC TV programmes. He was the first NRI to be awarded an OBE.
As Rajni Kaul shares fascinating anecdotes from her life of which large part was spent in Peshawar, Delhi, Washington and London. Above all, Rajni says with a huge sense of pride, she will always remain a Peshawari girl. She gets emotional the moment Peshawar is mentioned. Her voice chokes and she starts reminiscing about her childhood that was spent in Peshawar.
She talks about her late husband Mahendra Kaul in great detail. He was 95 when he died on 11 July, 2018 in London. She met him at All India Radio where Kaul started his journey in broadcasting in July 1948 with Radio Kashmir. He later joined All India radio in Delhi, where Rajni met him for the first time.
Rajni Kaul was the first woman to join BBC Hindi Service as a staff member. She was also the first woman to read a bulletin of news on air in the Hindi Service. That was in 1961! Later, Achala Sharma went on to become the head of the Hindi Service in 1997.
Since then several women have held senior positions in the BBC Hindi service. Seema Chishti was the editor of BBC Hindi Service in India. Salma Zaidi became the Editor of BBC Hindi online. Currently, Rupa Jha is the head of languages in India, including the Hindi Service.
This interview was recorded in the month of August, 2019, at her apartment in London.