Rahul Bose on Bollywood Bole Toh: Moments when India has made me truly proud
The 1983 World Cup is the most influential sporting incident in our history
As we enter the 71st year of our independence here are, in no particular order, a few personal memories of when India was an inspiration:
1983 Cricket World Cup win: It was live, it was on TV and it was glorious. Unbelievable, like a pre-written fairy tale. You saw Kapil Dev dismiss Vivian Richards with that stunning catch and dared to dream despite all your superstitions. And one by one, they all came true. To my mind, it's the most influential sporting incident in our history.
Shekar Kapur's Bandit Queen: I was riveted by the energy, finesse and emotional heft of the film. It's still being imitated by ageing enfant terribles making rustic gangland stories.
Calcutta's Metro: It seemed lifetimes went by staring at hills of debris across the heart of the city till one day it opened, and sitting in Mumbai (then Bombay), all we heard was how miraculously clean Calcuttans were keeping it, guarding its pristine-ness jealously. Our hearts broke with pride to think that given a fresh start, Indians could care and love their cities.
Nek Chand's Rock Garden in Chandigarh: The wonder of the man's imagination and ambition coupled with how he gathered materials from demolition sites to make something of beauty and scale was the first time we ever experienced public installation art. Children ran amuck with joy at the site while adults, grudgingly at first and then quite willingly, gave into an Indian's deep-seated capacity for humour and wonder.
Five (imperfect, I agree) acts of Parliament that convinced me humaneness, collective good and compassion are not words, but powerful and alive concepts — the Right to Education, the Right to Information, the Right to Food, the NREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. India will reap the benefits of these seminal pieces of legislation forever. We should protect them by putting our bodies on the line.
Rakesh Sharma's space voyage: Some of us will remember when Mrs Indira Gandhi asked him how India looked from outer space, he said, 'Saare jahan se accha.'
Sachin's farewell at Wankhede: End of an era where we had linked our hopes for the country with this cricketer's fortunes. When he walked to the ground, put his hand on the pitch and then to his head, it was hard not to cry, with joy, with gratitude, with sorrow for a time that would never return. I certainly did.
Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children: I saw it as a torn love poem to India. Never had words been strung together with such anguish, such sweetness, such felicity, such feeling. Clever as it was, its soul beat like a massive, warm drum.
Post-26/11 Gateway protest: While some of the protests were jingoistic and bellicose, it signalled something deeper connects us all — an anger at being taken for granted by the system, by politicians, by the powerful.
I think I've opened memory's floodgates. Many more moments are hurtling in. Prakash Padukone's win at the All England Championship, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain playing into early morning at the IMG festival at St. Xavier's in Mumbai, Mangalyaan, Mother Teresa's Nobel Prize for Peace, Satyajit Ray and almost everything he made...
May this next year contain some of the compassion, excellence, inventiveness and humanitarian spirit that my memory tells me we are capable of.
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