Wednesday, 12 August 2020

A travelogue of India’s journey since Independence

Updated: September 6, 2018 1:55 pm

Modern India, like the proverbial Rome, was not built in a day. It is a unique experiment in crafting an idea of a citizenry, of nationhood, without a single language or religion, but coming together for progressive values and ideas. India watchers in the early decades believed it would not last more than few years. Yet, for all its turbulence, turmoil and chaos, India has flourished to cock a snook at those who predicted its demise well before it got going. Against this backdrop, this book provides for each of the seventy-one eventful years since Independence, a Hindi film song which was composed, heard, sung and spoken about in that year. Though intricately linked, this song is not just meant as an anthem for that year–it also links the story of India over the years. Flowing with the tale of the song is also the story of each of independent India’s seventy-one years: the two mostly run parallel, merging and diverging

at moments in history. Each of the seventy-one chapters in the book is a harmonious synthesis of Hindi film song and modern Indian history, a note about India’s journey, It is the rhythm of modern Indian history played to the beat of Hindi film music.

Note by Note: The India Story 1947-2017

BY: A. Bhardwaj, S. Chishti, S. Singh published by: HarperCollins India

Price: `499/-

page: 327

In the book, the songs picked for each year may not always have been the most popular or the best known. But as a shaper of mood, witness of its times, each of the seventy-one songs in the book emerges as a parable for that year. Through all the vicissitudes and twists of the past seven decades, in looking at each year, there is also a story to be told and a thought to be shared. Every year, there is a story of political change, social emancipation and economic growth which has been forgotten, pushed to the recesses of our memories. According to authors of the book, those memories need to be refreshed. It is the story of independent India, with the flavour of Hindi film music, ‘not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially’.

In 1947, as the subcontinent was torn into two, India went on to find its feet, its spirit and its moorings. It was perhaps only in part, as India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru remarked, but substantially — a young nation reached out to embrace its destiny and achieve a sense of being one, even if it was not a perfect entity. As the colonial yoke was thrown off and India

settled down, a decade of hope and expectation, a search for a naya daur followed. India dreamt big then, both domestically and globally, for all its characterisation as a large and hopelessly diverse poor country; a ‘functioning anarchy’, as John Kenneth Galbraith, former US ambassador to India and a renowned economist, called it. But today’s resurgent India has completely belied him. According to

the book, the story of India, over the past seven decades, has been one of

development and social and political change, which has often been forgotten, put to the recesses of our memories. In a nutshell, the book is a tribute to India and captures the rhythm of modern Indian history.

By Ashok kumar


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