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Friday, July 9, 2010

70's India

Of late this is a topic I have wanted to write. Every generation has it's high moment - a period of time which defines and brands it. We are the 90's generation because we are born in 70's........ that makes us be at the prime of our youth in the 90's. Oh!!! I am deviating from the topic, the 70's generation is the generation born in the 50's i.e the first post independence generation. They were the first ones not having seen the British rule the country, yet having grown up listening to their stories from their parents. What I want to write about, what I feel were the icons of the 70's generation (people-good, bad or ugly who stood out). This generation is now in their 60's having retired and taking an armchair view of life and the changes taking place all around.

What differentiates it from other generations is that they have seen the maximum amount of change in this country, although they may not have been a part of the change process themselves. Some icons and symbols which have stood in this generation and have defined it are :-


  1. Amitabh Bachchan :- Amitabh meaning the light which would never go off, was the screen hero symbolizing the angry young man of the 70's. Usually playing the role of Vijay (victorious). He was the defiant character who braved all odds, showed a heroic masculinity yet his characters connected to the traditional India by the ideal son, brother, or wife he played. Although he flirted with bankruptcy, a near death accident, flops yet the iconic image never took a beating. He is the 70's icon number one.

  2. Ambassador car :-This car despite it's British origins, is a truly a Indian car. Based on the Morris Oxford model and manufactured out of it's Uttarpara plant, this car remains the symbol which symbolizes India. It still is the preferred taxi in most metros in India, is used by the politician and the humble babu and remains most suited to India's terrain. It's is the 70's icon number two.

  3. Indira Gandhi :- Indira , daughter of India's first prime minister was the lady who presided over the India of the 70's.Starting off with her war on Pakistan in 1971, thereby creating Bangladesh and then creating the "smiling buddha" in remote Pokhran in 1974, the green revolution and the emergency , she remains the single most important person who straddled the political landscape then.To the 70's generation , you either loved her ( most women did) or hated her ...you could not ignore her!!!She's is the 70's icon number three.

  4. Sunil Gavaskar :- He was the sporting icon of this generation. Taking on the West Indies in their own land was the start off our birth as a cricketing power. He was the first who made the world stood up and take notice of India as a powerful cricketing nation. Although he had his bad patches of captaincy and controversies, he remained India's number one run getter for years. He is the 70's icon number four.


  5. Varghese Kurien :- Also known as the milkman of India, is the man who created the white revolution in India and made Amul a household brand. Changing dairy from an unorganized sector to a co-operative movement and making India the largest milk producing nation in the world was no mean achievement. One should go to Anand and have the feel of the transformation for themselves.I have been there and I know how milk has transformed Gujrat.


  6. Lata Mangeshkar :-Is truly India's voice of the millennium. She captivated an entire generation who have grown up listening to her songs. Although she has completed seven decades of singing Hindi and other regional songs and has won every possible Indian award upto the Bharat Ratna it is the period of the 70's which actually catapulted her to the long road to fame and history. It is in this decade that she sang the most songs composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and R.D.Burman whose lyrics were mostly penned by Gulzar, Anand Bakshi and Majrooh Sultanpuri. Beyond the 70's having established fame and a place in the hearts of the people she gradually cut down on her singing and became choosy with directors and lyrics. She is truly India's icon number six.


  7. Pt.Ravi Shankar:- was truly India's first international artist and musician. He is not only one of the greatest artist of this decade but of the later half of this century. His jugalbandi with Allarakha provided one of the greatest partnership in India's musical journey. He was probably solely responsible for popularizing sitar not only in India but also abroad. His teaming up with George Harrison was also one of the great musical success for mixing of Indian and Western music. It was in the 70's that Panditji was at his peak both in the Indian and international musical scene performing in concerts in India and across the world. A flamboyant personality off the musical stage too, he remains icon number seven.


  8. Bajaj Scooter:- Remember those days, Bajaj Chetak and Bajaj Super was one thing you saw on every Indian roads, it was like the Indian happy family's ultimate throne. The man on the driver's seat the woman behind, the little guy and the girl one tucked in between the parents and the other standing in front. Hamara Bajaj was at that time Hamara Parivar. There were competitors like Lambretta and others though but nobody lived upto the Indian family's dream better than the Bajaj scooter.


  9. Bangladesh:- Creation of this nascent nation by breaking off from Pakistan was one of the major events of this decade.Years of linguistic discrimination and economic neglect spurred a revolution triggering a break away from the mainland Pakistan. Led by Mujib and with active and open support by India this small nation was formed after a decisive military victroy. However, Bangaldesh continues to be plagued by poverty, economic corruption and misrule and still remians one of the poorest nations in the region, ironically with one of the highest density of population!!


  10. Naxalbari-charu mazumdar:- The seeds of the communist revolution and marxism were sown here. Starting with a militant peasant uprising and the birth of marxism -lennism in India this movement is something which still continues to be a part of rural political landscape in Bengal. It was as if it was the in thing then to be a Naxal, thousands of students have given up their careers mid-way to join a movement in the 70's which later lost it's way. Although it's ideals were good and revolution was in the air in the 70's it is sad that it's wrong ways and means took out the good name it could have it could have achieved.


I intend to restrict myself to ten for each decade although for the seventies I strongly felt that the smiling buddha , the moped and the green revolution should be a part of.It was a great decade and salute those who made it what it was!!!

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