The bald quartet – Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Patel – in an ad for hair oil

This is possibly from a time when a head full of ideals was more important than a head full of hair. What else can explain the presence of India’s most revered baldies in an advertisement for a hair care product.

This advertisement for Jai-Hind Amla Goonnidhi Hair Oil features the stalwarts of India’s freedom movement – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. With the exception of Maulana Azad, the other four were not exactly known for a dense crop. Even the Maulana didn’t actually have flowing locks, but his was mostly hidden underneath the famous fez hat.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in an ad for Jai-Hind Amla Goonnidhi Hair Oil

Jai Hind Amla Goonnidhi Hair Oil
An effective dressing for hair
Prepared with pure vegetable oil with amla and other Indian herbs

Registered
Manufactured by
Jai Hind Chemical Works

This ad also reminds me of the famous anecdote where Nehru during a Parliament debate on Aksai Chin described it as an area where “not even a blade of grass grows.” Panditji was attempting to convince the House that by losing Aksai Chin to the Chinese, India had little to lose. And quick came the riposte from Mahavir Tyagi, “the Prime Minister’s head does not have a single hair but that doesn’t make it useless.”

Some other sources I checked suggest that Tyagi had in fact pointed to his own bald plate rather than that of India’s first Prime Minister’s. Also the first time I heard about it as a child, it was attributed another famous bald head – Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.