A young champion helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic
RJ Harsh Bhatariya tells positive stories of COVID-19 patients and spreads the message that COVID-19 can be defeated.
A mechanical engineer by education, a popular radio jockey (RJ) by profession, a singer-composer out of interest and a Young People’s Action Team (YPAT) member by passion – Harsh Bhatariya belongs to India’s young brigade that has the potential to perfect the future.
Before becoming RJ Harsh, the multi-talented youth was a dreamy-eyed wannabe techie like most in his class at Gandhinagar Institute of Technology. Despite lapping up a cushy job in the Oil and Natural Gas corporation, Harsh felt it wasn’t his calling.
“I left a job and decided to chase my creative pursuits. And then Radio happened. It wasn’t as if I had set out to become an RJ but the prospects were alluring. Having a free hand to create, to express and to share this with people is gratifying,” says Harsh who is known for his engaging radio broadcasts on Radio Awaj 90.8 FM Dahod.
“Being an RJ isn’t about just following a script, we need to be spontaneous and creative in order to strike connect with audience.
Every listener should feel I am personally speaking to her/him,” says Harsh.
Harsh is conscious of his responsibility as an ‘influencer’ and he incorporates content in his show to create mass awareness on important issues. “I have raised and discuss issues pertaining to novel coronavirus, precautions to be taken, promotion of the nation-wide vaccine campaign and many more such topics that need immediate attention,” he shares.
In 2020, Harsh released a short film called ‘COVID Awareness’ on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. Filmed at local COVID-Care Centre, while he had tested positive, the film traces the highs and lows of patients at the COVID care centre.
“I tried to tell positive stories of COVID patients in their own words to spread the message that Corona can be defeated with proper care and treatment,” he says.
Harsh also produced a song - ‘Dahod Mask Pehro’ - to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a mask. The song, that went on to become a sensation, proved to be an effective strategy, encapsulating useful information on COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and the importance of prevention and early detection.
During the lockdown, RJ Harsh was also a key part and organizer of the initiative wherein he invited various subject experts to his show, and they helped students by solving their queries.
As part of the UNICEF - AROI Radio4Child partnership, RJ Harsh has conducted interviews with medical and UNICEF experts including Dr Narayan Gaonkar (Health Specialist, UNICEF) and Dr Sravan Chenji (Health Officer, UNICEF) for the ‘Vaccine-Varta’, a large-scale initiative to dispelled rumours surrounding the Government of India’s vaccination drive.
During the pandemic, social media has become a powerful mode of raising awareness regarding COVID-19 and on the importance of getting vaccinated especially among the young people.
Harsh regularly shares accurate and verified information on his social media in an engaging and entertaining format. He hasn’t stopped at this and since the beginning of May, he has started the distribution of sanitizers, masks and basic medicines to the needy in his hometown of Dahod.
On what motivates and drives him, Harsh says: “With power comes responsibility. Youth today have power. So naturally they have responsibility towards the community. Let’s not just sit back and be a spectator. Let’s work towards the positive change collectively.”
During the lockdown, RJ Harsh was also invited various subject experts on his show to help answer questions from his audiences, especially students. As part of the UNICEF - AROI Radio4Child partnership, RJ Harsh conducted interviews with medical and UNICEF experts as part of the ‘Vaccine-Varta’, a large-scale initiative to dispel rumours and misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccine.
When he's not on air, Harsh regularly shares accurate and verified information on his social media in an engaging and entertaining format. He also started distributing sanitizer, masks and basic medicines to the needy in his hometown of Dahod, Gujarat.
“With power comes responsibility. Youth today have power. So naturally they have responsibility towards the community. Let’s not just sit back and be a spectator. Let’s work towards the positive change collectively,” says Harsh.
The writer is a member of Gujarat Young People's Action Team.