Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Politics of Bobby

Another gem from Guha:
“The elections [of 1977] had been scheduled for the third week of March. The opposition campaign [against Indira Gandhi] kicked off with a mass rally at the Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi on Sunday, 6 March. In a desperate measure to reduce the size of the crowd, the government chose to show a popular romantic film, Bobby, on television at the same time as the rally was being held. In 1977 there was only one television channel, run by the state, and in normal circumstances half of Delhi’s adult population would have been huddled around the screen. But, as one pro-Janata paper gleefully reported, on this day Babuji won over Bobby. A million people heard JP and Jagjivan Ram [“Babuji”] speak, along with the leaders of the other opposition parties, all now pledged to a common fight against Indira Gandhi and the Congress.”


Gary said...

I still need to see this one all the way through ...

rodney k said...

Hi Gary,

Have you seen that hilarious neo-benshi piece Summi Kaipa did to "Bobby"? She transplants the scene to Silicon Valley, which turns out in the light of Guha's anecdote to be as pointed as it is funny, since it seems India's professional classes in the '70s were pretty solidly pro-Indira and pro-Emergency, and later, pro-Rajiv G. and his computery enthusiasms.