The India Today [[http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20051226/|30th Anniversary]] edition is a true collector’s edition. Its as good an account of contemporary Indian history as any. Besides, Rs. 20 for 384 pages of good reading material is a good deal any day!
I really enjoyed reading this issue for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don’t follow Indian politics very actively and I’ve never really had a good grasp of how the Indian political scenario evolved in the post-independence era. This issue had a three year concise summary for each year — the highs, the lows, the oomphs, the oops — covering everything from sports to politics. So after this whirlwhind tour of the last 30 years, I atleast had some vaguely consistent picture of what has been going on in the country. For one thing, it made me feel much less guilty for not having a strong opinion (in favor) of any of the politic parties in India.
The second reason why this issue struck a chord with me was that it was a glimpse into the past. A sort of looking glass. So much has happened that we soon forget. And while its not good to live in the past, its not good to forget it altogether either. Reading the issue brought back floods of memories of things I had heard but not understood, seen but not felt. And though none of these events personally affected me, I still somehow felt connected — be it the bhopal gas tragedy, or the Godhra massacre, or the tsunami or the earthquake(s), the demolition of the Babri masjid, the emergency and so on. I just felt that I understood a little more, absorbed a little more of India.
Of course then there was the ego boosting factor: its always good to look at your achievements over 30 years if you pile them up all together. I was inspired by what India had achieved in cinema, in economic terms, in sports, in fashion, in literature etc. The issue had sections on “Living Legends” and “Turning 30″ (some newsmakes who were born in 1975) which made for a very good read — and there were plenty of names in there that I had never even heard before.
Last, but the funniest, was this sarcastic “Whammy Awards” section done by Dilib Bobb that was just hilarious. Here’s a teaser: Manmohan Singh won the “Best Supporting Actor” award, Lalu won the “Milk the Cow” award and Jaya Lalitha won the “Amma Dekh” award. A must read.