Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Sare Jahan Se Acha" : Rakesh's Message

Rakesh Sharma, then squadron leader and pilot with the Indian Air Force embarked on the historic mission in 1984 as part of a joint space program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program and spent eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7space station. Launched along with two other Soviet cosmonauts aboard Soyuz T-11 on the 2 April 1984, was 35-year-old Rakesh Sharma. During the flight, Squadron Leader Sharma conducted multi-spectral photography of northern India in anticipation of the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the Himalayas.
The trip made Rakesh Sharma the first Indian in Space but the event is also remembered for a conversation from space that he had with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She asked him, 'How does India look from Oopar?' He famous reply, borrowed from Allama Iqbal, was, ' Saare Jahan Se Achcha, (better than the whole world).'

Here's  the video of that famous conversation: 

Movie that Broke the Mould

“Nargis…recognised that in Mehboob’s Mother India she had an immortal farewell vehicle to her career – a film that her millions of fans would remember her by forever. Nothing in her future could be greater than Mother India…”

(Bunny Reuben in “Follywood Flashback: A Collection of Movie Memories”)

In light of the theme of 102 Years of Indian Cinema that defines this year, the above quote stands as significant testimony to the immense, overwhelming power the iconic image of Nargis in her role as the ‘Mother’ figure holds for audiences even today, and serves as almost a template for Indian constructions of female identity within a larger cultural and social framework.

 Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India” (1957) is a tremendously complex film; impossible to sum up in one reading. What has been spoken of at length is its thematic portrayal of the nation as ‘mother’, the issue of ‘honour’ in terms of female identity, the ‘mother-son’ relationship, and so on.

What these issues mean in feminist terms — within the larger iconic universe of Mother India — is a question that is central to an understanding of the film’s extraordinarily layered meaning and to Hindi films today. Film scholars have attributed its importance to its alignment with the ideology of India that Nargis portrays. As Javed Akhtar once remarked, “All Hindi films come from Mother India.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

Nehru's World through the lense of Vyarawala


Homai Vyarawalla (9 December 1913 – 15 January 2012), commonly known by her pseudonym "Dalda 13," was India's first woman photojournalist. First active in the late 1930s, she retired in the early 1970s. In 2011, she was awarded Padma Vibhushan.
She has closely captured the movements of Young Independent India with Nehru as an important man.

Nehru's body at Teen Murti House, with Indira Gandhi looking on, 1964. photo.

Nehru releasing a dove as a sign of peace at a public function at the National Stadium in new Delhi, mid 1950's
Ho Chi Minh, former President of North Vietnam being escorted by Pandit Nehru and Dr. Rajendra Prasad; 1958
Former Prime Minister Nehru waiting for a dignitary to arrive at the Red Fort; 1950’s 
Gelatin Silver Print
Dr. Helen Keller, who was calling on former President Dr. Rajendra Prasad at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, being greeted by, former Prime Minister Nehru who had come to see her; 1955
 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, with Prime Minister Nehru during their visit to India; 1959

Prime Minister Nehru with Mrs. Simon, the wife of the British Deputy High Commissioner, on board the first BOAC flight in India.

Monday, April 6, 2015

India's Defeat.... Nehru's address to nation

Fifty two years after the 1962 Sino-Indian war, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's role in it is still debated in Assam. 

After Nehru's speech on All India Radio (AIR) following the fall of Bomdila to the Chinese, many in Assam's Tezpur felt he was not concerned about the Brahmaputra Valley. Some veteran Congressmen though believes the people of Assam misunderstood Nehru. 

In his address to the nation on AIR on November 20, 1962, Nehru said, "Huge Chinese army invaded our country in to the northern part of NEFA. They attacked our army fronts, there was a severe war. Large number of army was installed into the borders by Chinese as a result our smaller forces were defeated." 

People in the north eastern states of India were disturbed by this speech of Nehru as our army was defeated at NEFA (North Eastern Frontier Agency) and few notable reactions of common man and political figure’s were:

The speech changed Saikia's perception of New Delhi. "I strongly feel Assam would not have got that much of importance from the Centre had the India-China war not taken place," said Saikia. 

Veteran Congress leader Bedabrata Barua said Nehru was almost weeping when he spoke after the capture of Bomdila. "I remember Nehru speaking this and he has a choked voice. But I was very confident that the Chinese would not enter Assam. Had they attacked Assam, the course of the war would have taken a different turn. Possibly, other countries would have come to India's aid to stop the marauding Chinese soldiers," said Barua.

Nalini Deka, a retired school teacher in Tezpur, said, "I was very young then. Someone explained to me Nehru's speech. I realized if the prime minister of the country was so helpless, how could the common people withstand an attack by the Chinese? We were left in the lurch after the speech." 

Atul Saikia (77), a resident of Dekargaon in Tezpur, said, "Assam was almost given away to China when Jawarhar lal Nheru, in his speech after the capture of NEFA, announced on the radio." 

After Nehru's speech was broadcast, people in Tezpur became hysteric. "They began fleeing. There was chaos everywhere," said Pranab Sinha (71) of Tezpur.