History

Watch: Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Maino’s wedding video

Rajiv Gandhi Sonia Gandhi wedding

Whenever I have a little time on my hand (which is actually very little these days), I like to browse through archives (both physical and digital) in search for hidden gems and today stumbled upon this: Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Maino’s wedding video from February 25, 1968. (Note that the video doesn’t have any sound) [Read more]

Watch: High excitement on the streets of New Delhi on August 15, 1947

High excitement on the streets of New Delhi on August 15, 1947

This edition of the Movietone News from August 1947 captures the high excitement on the streets of New Delhi (complete with the obligatory cows) and the Parliament of India as India celebrated its first Independence Day. This newsreel, sourced from the Associated Press archives, also shows (at the beginning, before the play time starts in [Read more]

Listen: Indira Gandhi announcing the Emergency on All India Radio, June 26, 1975

President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed signed the ‘Proclamation of Emergency‘ on the night of June 25, 1975, but it was in the morning of June 26 that the nation got to know via an unscheduled broadcast on All India Radio (also sarcastically referred to All Indira Radio) at 8 AM. Listen to Indira Gandhi’s Emergency announcement [Read more]

40th anniversary of Emergency: The unofficial Google doodle

(This post is a part of a series on the 40th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency in India) This unofficial Google doodle pays tribute to the Indians who put in their best to uphold the principles of democracy in the dark days of the Emergency. The doodle draws its obvious inspiration from the iconic [Read more]

Proclamation of Emergency, as published in The Gazette of India 40 years ago

(This is the first in a series of posts on 40 years of Emergency) 40 years ago on June 25, 1975 that the President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed toed the line drawn by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to sign the proclamation of Emergency and heap upon the democracy its darkest 21 months. This one-sentence [Read more]

Telangana statehood: Unofficial Google doodle

Telangana statehood: Unofficial Google doodle

Even though creation of new states is not a very uncommon event in India, but the last time this happened was 14 years ago. So ek unofficial Google doodle to banta hain. This animated doodle shows how the political map of India has changed since Independence (this is based on the animated timeline of the [Read more]

Adieu Hindustan Ambassador. An unofficial (and animated) Google doodle

Ambassador local taxi with red beacon

The good ol’ Amby has finally shuddered to a halt. And here’s an unofficial Google doodle (albeit a little late) honking in honour of the grand old lady of Indian roads. In the hills, where I come from, the incline is steep and the load is heavy some Mark IIIs and IVs still ply – [Read more]

Indian political party election symbols from 1951: When Congress had bullocks and the hand was Forward Bloc’s

Indian political party election symbols from the first Lok Sabha elections held in 1951

I just can’t seem to get over my fascination over Indian election symbols. And there are more posts to follow on this theme, here on Cutting the Chai (Also see: An alphabet chart of Indian political party symbols). Before the elections to India’s first Lok Sabha, back in 1951, the Election Commission (as it still [Read more]

Gory Kali-inspired 1940s poster salutes Subhash Chandra Bose

The art of poster art is slowly fading away. What we have now are mostly half-funny memes, that for most of the time don’t make any sense to me (I too occasionally create a few). Today is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 117th birth anniversary, and I had saved this poster from the 1940s – a [Read more]

Illustrated Weekly cover: Varadarajan ‘Nayagan’ Mudaliar, the ‘most feared man in Bombay’

Varadarajan Mudaliar, the man who inspired Nayagan and Dayavan, on the cover of Illustrated Weekly of India

The Bombay underworld, is full of stories fit to be made into movies and they have been – lots of them. One of these films unfailingly finds a place in the list of the best movies ever made in India – Maniratnam’s 1987 film Nayagan based on the life of Varda Bhai (Varadarajan Mudaliar) who [Read more]

Cinema century: May 3, 1913 – Raja Harishchandra and the beginnings of a national obsession

Cinema century: 3 May, 1913 - Raja Harishchandra and the beginnings of a national obsession

(This is an edited version of a post first published on April 21, 2012, that was also cross-posted on my other blog at IBNLive.com) In India, cinema isn’t just a passion. It is an obsession. We have perhaps inherited this acute addiction from the man who started it all, 100 years ago – the Father [Read more]

1962: Newspaper front page from 50 years ago when China attacked India

It’s been 50 years since the ‘Himalayan Blunder’ of 1962 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unexpectedly rampaged into Indian territory and reached the outskirts of Tezpur in Assam before making an unexpected retreat. The war was fought much before I was born, but being born into North East India, I heard a lot of [Read more]