Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Heavy Haulers

Some Heavy Motors and etcetera Advertisements from year 1972

The big hauler
Hindustan 7 1/2 tonner truck
For extra strength,
Extra safty,
Extra life, extra power
Hindustan Motors Lts.

Perkins 6.354v
Vehicle diesel engine
The most reliable and
Inexpensive power unit
-Simplons genuine Spare parts

Research has proved COPPER-LEAD
to be the right
material for
Bimetal Bearings Limited
Check out rest of the Ads in the series here

That Old Radio fondly called Transistor

Ad for Remco Radio
1972 Ad of REMCO Radio & Electricals Manufacturing CO.LTD.
from The Reader’s Digest

A slice of ( radio and other) history from this Ad:

  • November 1949: Remco started commercial production of India’s first multi-band radios.
  • In the same year they were the first to manufacture domestic, control, screened and co-axial cables made of PVC.
  • First Indian company to actively enter into collaboration with a Japanese Firm – Toshiba – to make India’s first electrical watt-hour meters in 1952.
  • First to produce water meters of Swiss design in India in 1956.
  • First to make electronic bandswitches for the Communication Industry in 1958.
  • In the same year, they started production of India’s first electrolytic capacitors
  • In 1967, first to build Indian designed lighting arresters, with nonlinear elements made from basic raw material.
  • In year 1972(the year of this Advertisement), they manufactured the first high-fidelity “Cross-Over Sound” radios in India.


Two things from the Ad that caught my eye:

The line India can make it on its own – and make it better.
This again is an effect of the 1971 war on Imports-Starved Indian Industry and gets reflected in other similar ads.

The other thing about this ad is that with so many “firsts” under its belt, Remco promised that we would ‘soon be hearing from’ them ‘again – first’.
Searching for the details about this company on the Internet, curiously, I came across an old American radio manufacturer with the same name REMCO ( statistically speaking that would make Remco a fine name for a radio ) but nothing much on this Indian radio manufacturer. Many be the answer lies in the fact that when the next big wave came they had their knobs tuned into some other station.
The Case of Old Radio fondly called Transistor
Old Ad for Radio cases by GarwareThe Doordarshan had already arrived and AIR (All India Radio) played the perfect host for the services( the two were separated in 1976). In 1972 (the year of this particular Ad), television services were extended to Bombay (now Mumbai ) and Amritsar. The stage was set and Doordarshan went truly national in 1982 with the telecast of Asian Games. Radio still retains its charm in India but radio manufacturers do not.

we are
closer to you
than you think

Take the case of your transistor

Garware Plastics Pvt. Ltd

March, 1972


Check out rest of the Ads in the series here

You might also like to get the signature tune of All India Radio

More on War Ad

Continuing with the theme of Wartime Ads. Adulation for the victorious leader and prayers for peace were not the only response after the war.

Old Ad of ITC

Jai Jawan Stall
Lending a helping hand
India Tobacco Company (ITC)
March, 1972

An entity like a Tobacco Company was helping people rebuild life and telling the ensuring stories. Other industries, hit by heavy curtailment in imports during the war, were making a call to the nation – Innovate or Perish. The foreign exchange saved (in the one below - a handsome sum of 18 lakhs annually) through innovation was a nice touch to the sharpness of such Ads.

Innovate or Perish

A Call to the Nation: Innovate or Perish
Jhaveri Thanawala PVT. LTD


Check out rest of the Ads in the series here

Old Ad: Say TATA to War

Ad of TATA during 1971 War“Peace hath her victories
no less renowned than war”
A nation united as never
before, we stand behind our
leader in grappling with the
immense tasks ahead.

An Ad(Statement) by TATA Engineering and Locomotive CO. LTD.
March, 1972
Scanned from The Reader’s Digest


Bloodied dust was settling on the eatern front after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. By the time war ended a new nation was carved out and named Bangladesh. As a side drama we had USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal and Russian ships trailing U.S. Task Force 74 in the Indian Ocean

Indira Gandhi was our leader at the time. Her government had won its second term on the plank of ‘Garibi Hatao’ and now after the war “Indira is India” was the pulse of the victorious nation. On July 2, 1972 Indira Gandhi and Z. A. Bhutto met in Shimla and signed the The Simla Agreement, an agreement that was meant to ensure a lasting peace between India and Pakistan. Having recently turned 19, accompanying her father young Benazir Bhutto was the talk of the town.

Check out rest of the Ads here

You Said It for free

You Said It by R.K Laxman
Old Ad for ‘You Said It’ book by R.K. Laxman, the most famous Indian cartoonist
from The Reader's Digest
March, 1972


At the age of seven, I laid my hand on one of the books from R.K Laxman's You Said It series. The series was a collection of cartoons draw by Laxman and having affable common man lurking in odd corners of each one of the strips, listening.
It was the first book I picked up, read and enjoyed.
I found it in a dusty glass paned almirah stuffed with all sort of books. The next book I found in that almirah was a biology textbook; a note below a sketch of human skeleton educated me that 206 bones made up the human body.


Check out rest of the Ads here

Tonic for Toddlers

old Ad for Incremin tonic

Old Ad of Incremin Tonic
March 1972
All kind of stuff was fed to toddlers to make them bigger.

Check out rest of the Ads from this series here

Happiness Book: Price Rs.6 Only !

Old Ad for Happiness book
Are some people born lucky - and others doomed to failure, sickness and accident?

From Here to Happiness!
Everybody could use some happiness especially when it came so cheap.

These super books still sell, they are the NewAge.

Check out rest of the Ads here

Read, those book clubs

Old Ad for Orient Book Club
March, 1972

Some known and unknown writers
Price almost Unbelievable

They had:
Prince - Mulk Raj Anand and also his Death of a Hero
Days of Longing - Nirmal Verma
Bye-Bye Blackbird - Anita Desai
Kanthapura - Raja Rao and also his The Serpent and the Rope
A Passage to England - Nirad Chaudhuri and his To Live or Not to Live
My Dateless Diary - R.K. Narayan
Indira Gandhi - K.A. Abbas
Between the lines - Kuldip Nayar
A Crisis of Conscience - Rajinder Puri
How to Stop Worry and Start Living - Dale Carnegie


Check out rest of the Ads from that era here

Just Apple Juice

Old_Ad_for-Goldcoins apple juice
Mohun's Gold Coin
Real Apple Juice
March, 1972

Seeing all those colors (and that oh! so 70s' font) who would have thought that the lady was sipping just apple juice.


Found another Ad of this brand at Cutting the Chai, the best place to look for Indian Ads.

Year 1965 and this one featured a real (white) woman sitting by the poolside wearing a bikini and sipping apple juice


Check out rest of the Ads at the Index

Absurd, Hope and Vaclav Havel

I have always been deeply affected by the theater of the absurd because, I believe, it shows the world as it is, in a state of crisis. It shows man having lost his fundamental metaphysical certainty, his relationship to the spiritual, the sensation of meaning – in other words, having lost the ground under his feet. This is a man for whom everything is coming apart, whose world is collapsing, who senses he has irrevocably lost something but is unable to admit this to himself and therefore hides from it.

The kind of hope I often think about (especially in hopeless situations) is, I believ, a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t. hope is not a prognostication – it’s an orientation of the spirit. Each of us must find real fundamental hope within himself. You can’t delegate that to anyone else.

~ Václav Havel, Czech writer and dramatist. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003).

Fanning the Air Power

old Ad for Rallifan

old Ad for Bajaj fan
Old Ad for Usha fan

Old Ads of Fans manufactured by Rallifan, Bajaj and USHA
year, 1972
Check out rest of the Old ads here

Public and Private photo paper

Old Ad of Agfa photo paper
Old Ad of Indu photographic paper
Old Ad of Indu photographic paper and Agfa

These Ads were published in
Indian Edition of The Reader's Digest
March, 1972

The Private

In 1966 Allied Photographics Limited, and Agfa India Limited merged in India, to form Agfa-Gevaert India Limited, subsequent to the merger of Agfa A.G. (West Germany), and Gevaert N.V. (Belgium) in Europe, to form Agfa-Gevaert.

Read more at Allied Photographics

The Public

Hindustan Photo Films Mfg. Co. Ltd., (HPF) was established as a Govt. of India Enterprise in 1960. Hindustan Photo Films Mfg. Co. Ltd., built at the outskirts of Ooty (Ootacamund) was inaugurated by Mrs. Indra Gandhi, Prime Minister, in January, 1967. The place where industry was built got the name Indu Nagar.

Read more at Indian Public Sector


Check out rest of the Ads at Index of Indian Print Ads

Fortune was only a Rupee Away

Old ad for Mysore state Lottery Published in Indian edition of the Reader's Digest
Old ad for Mysore state Lottery Published in Indian edition of the Reader's Digest, 1972

Karnataka State Lottery was launched in the year 1969 with the state governed Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL) as the Sole Selling Agent for lottery tickets.

According to this news report from year 2003:
“Prices of these tickets range from Rs 2 to Rs 20. One can win prizes worth Rs 3 to 5 lakh depending upon the schemes.”
On 16th April, 1972, luckiest ticket could win you almost the same amount of greens.

Check out rest of the Ads here

Polish with Cherry and Blossom

An Old Ad of Cherry Blossom shoe polish

An Old Ad of Cherry Blossom shoe polish
Indian Edition of The Reader's Digest
March, 1972

Are you polishing your shoes often enough?
For the
Longest life-
Brightest shine
New Improved
Protects your shoes while it shines them
A Reckitt & Colman product

For some reason, these things are always new improved.

By applying appropriate pressure at the point marked ‘Press Here’, one could open this black box of shoe wax. Opening a tin can of boot polish was one of the first great puzzles that I learnt to solve.

A chemist working for Briton brother duo Dan and Charles Mason, who were running the Chiswick Soap Company, invented this product in 1878. The product was launched in 1906, at 1d per tin and was an immediate success. In 1954, Reckitt and Colman were manufacturing this brand of boot polish after they acquired the business. By this time Cherry Blossom had already reached the Indian shores as it was launched in India from Calcutta in 1943. The brand celebrated its centennial year in 2006.

In India the brand is synonymous with Charlie Chaplin due to the 1980s ads created for television by Indian ad guru Alyque Padamsee. Lately, the use of Chaplin imagery for selling the Shoeshine caused a strange set of problems for the brand. In 2007, Bubbles Inc, the Switzerland-based company managed by Chaplin’s legal heirs, slapped a legal notice on Reckitt Benckiser’s Indian subsidiary for unauthorised use of Charlie Chaplin. In response, Alyque Padamsee, the creator of the original ad said, “I modelled the character on the Indian Charlie, Raj Kapoor, after Mera Naam Joker’s release (1970)”.

Bubbles Inc was formed by Charlie Chaplin in 1972 to own and market his merchandising rights, the Chaplin name and image.


Check out rest of the Ads at The Index of Vintage Indian Print Ads


Recommended read:

History of Reckitt Benckiser

Amulspray made Bita chubbier

Old Ad of Amulspray
Old Ad of Amulspray
March, 1972

Bita doubled her birth-weight at 4 months – a real winner!

In 1968 Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) co-operative launched Amulspray milk food for Infants. In 1972, the brand was completing its fourth year since inception and was controversially being promoted as an ideal substitute for mother’s milk.

Read the more about important milestones and history of Amul at PRSI (Public Relations Society of India)


Check out rest of the Ads at the Index of Vintage Indian Print Ads

Advertising Aldous

The Machiavelli of the mid-20th century will be an advertising man; his Prince , a textbook of the art and science of fooling all the people all the time.
- Aldous Huxley

Any trace of literariness in an advertisement is fatal to its success. Advetisement writers may not be lyrical, or obscure, or in any way esoteric. They must be universally intelligible. A good advertisement has this in common with drama and oratory, that it must be immediately comprehensible and directly moving.
- Aldous Huxley, Essays New and Old


Aldous Huxley once tried his hand at writing advertisements. Charles Lamb and Byron also did so. So did Bernard Shaw, Hemingway, Marquand, Sherwood Anderson, and Faulkner – none of them with any degree of success.

Recommended read:
J G Ballard reviewing
Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual
by Nicholas Murray

Vital notes on Pakistani Music and its Signs in India

Vital Signs, the pioneer of Popular music in Pakistan had its first hit 'Dil Dil Pakistan' in early 90s. It was such a wonderful song that it became an unofficial anthem for Pakistanis all over the world. It was so good that India had to respond with the song Dil Dil Hindustan composed for some c grade Hindi film.
Rohail Hyatt from this band gave the wonderful background score for the film Khuda ke liye.

Shoaib Mansoor, director of the film Khuda Ke Liye, too was associated with Vital Signs as he wrote and composed the songs like 'Dil Dil Pakistan' for the band.


Vital Signs proved vital in the growth of popular music in Pakistan and thereby in India. Salman Ahmed left Vital Signs and went on to form the legendry 'Sufi-Rock band' Junoon along with Ali Azmat and another former member of Vital Signs, Nusrat Hussain. They became famous in India for the song Sayonee from their album Azadi (Freedom). Salman Ahmed was at his best playing guitar for the song Khudi from the album. Parvaaz, the fifth studio album by Junoon, didn’t take off well in India because it wasn’t marketed enough and because even music lovers were worried about the Kargil War. I bought this album right when the nation was busy with Operation Parakram. It remains the best album by Junoon. On the cover of the album was a note of thanks from the band, to among others, someone named Vatsala Kaul. It was an unusual tale of friendship between a Pakistani musician and an Indian journalist.


Another name that comes to my mind is Junaid Jamshed, one more ex-member of Vital Signs. His 1999 album Us Rah Par (On that path) was released in India but due to timing of its release suffered the same fate as that of Parvaaz.
I read that he has completely left singing the popular music and become more religious. Now in his melodious thick voice he sings Haamd and Naat


One more name from the 90s that I remember is Shehzad Roy. He had a great voice and an even greater hair, and the ensuring fame led him to do Shampoo Ads and some charity work through the NGO called Zindagi Trust. He was among the first to work with Indian musicians. He sang with Indian pop artists like Sukhbir and Shaan.


String, the band comprising Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia, had their first hit in early 90s with the song Sar kiye yeh pahad. The song had U2 written all over it. It was their tribute to I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. And their music or rather the sound still remains inspired by U2. Their album Duur, the one that made them popular in India, had songs composed by Bilal Maqsood’s father Anwar Maqsood, a multifaceted veteran of PTV known for having written scripts of many popular Drama Series.


I didn't think much of music by Ali Haider , wasn't my kind of music. But, India went crazy wearing his purani jeans. The fellow even worked on Pakistani Television, in one drama series he played an aspiring musician.


I also remember Abrar-ul-Haq, the favorite of Pakistani eve-teasers, who sang about going to Billo’s house asking around if anyone else was interested. Who would have thought that he  runs a tax-exempt charity organization called SAHARA that promotes health and education. Abrar-ul-Haq is also known for his Collaboration with Indian Punbaji actor - folksinger Gurdas Mann, the man with dafli.


I also remember Arif Lohar, the man with the chimta . The jugni singer is a very popular punjabi folk singer from Pakistan. He visited India for the first time only last year and was a big hit.


Hadiqa who shot to fame with her Punjabi folky pop song Boohey Barian. For some strange reason ( I think it was the video) people assumed that it was a kashmiri folk song. The song became so popular that someone in India had to copy it and include it in a forgettable Hindi film.


More recently, the band that comes to my mind is: Zeest of BC Sutta fame. Rumors in India were to claim the band as Indian.


The last Pakistani band that I liked was Fuzon. Bad band name but good music. 


Some obvious omissions:

Jal/Atif Aslam of Aadat fame

Reshma of Lambi Judai fame. Balwant Garg in his semi-autobiography novel The Purple Moonlight wrote a few lines about her . He painted her as a money hungry women with a genuinely soul touching thunderous voice.

Salma Agha , the green eyed woman of Dil ke Armaan fame who starred and sang in a few forgettable Indian films of the 80s.

Power Up

Ad of Index Battery

Ad of Amco Battery

Ad of Standard Battery

Of course, this device is now used to power up our homes; 'inverter' deity lies in its pious little corner, meditating taking the name of the godhead - The Baghdad Battery.

Check out rest of the Ads here

Sunsilky Important Cosmetic for Girls

Agency Lintas
From Indian Edition of The Reader's Digest
March, 1972

A girl’s most important cosmetic. Sunsilk Shampoo – it builds in beauty.
Sunsilk is the only shampoo that works like a cosmetic. It contains a special hair conditioner to build beautiful texture into your hair – leaving it sunny…silky…Sunsilky

SunSilk was launched in India in the year 1964 by Hindustan Lever Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of Dutch giant Unilever, the world’s major consumer-products manufacturer. The Shampoo brand was first launched in 1954 in the United Kingdom. This Ad is from the year 1972, SunSilk was competing its 8th year in India. While its sales were declining exponentially in support in the United States and UK, the Band was busy capturing the Indian and other international hold. They had the bright idea of putting cleansing agents and conditioning chemicals together. Who in India could afford a bottle of Shampoo( it’s not counted as cosmetic) and then buy a bottle of Conditioner (it’s counted as cosmetic) too. So we bought Sunsilk, the only shampoo that works like a cosmetic. Even though Indians have started buying conditioner, Sunsilk is still there for the girls. Don’t even talk about a whole generation of men’s hair that grew up on the same pink silky stuff.


Read the story of Sunsilk.


Check out rest of the Ads  here

Only BOAC for some people

Old Ad of BOAC airlines
An old two page Ad of BOAC published in
Indian Edition of The Reader's Digest
March, 1972

For some people there was only one airline
The 747. it’s the most advanced, most exciting aircraft in the world, with more room and more freedom.
But even the 747 wouldn’t be same without BOAC service.
The kind of service that had given more thought than ever before

The BOAC 747 – from Delhi, every Friday night
Tehran, Beirut, Frankfurt and London. Every Sunday morning to Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. Though Bombay from April 6, every Sunday to Zurich and London.
BOAC with Air-India & Qantas

I would have reproduced the entire text of the Ad but then Ads for airlines are always the same. All that talk about no cabins, instead it having rooms with spacious lounges with walls and ceilings. Two wide aisles and individual overhead lockers (they always promise the biggest we have even seen). The armchair Wide and Deeper , Headrest adjustable yet soft. Stewards and stewardesses that you would like to take home to your mom. At our fingertips complete entertainment center: seven channel of pre-recorded music – 4 in stereo –and an extra channel for motion picture.*
That * of course meant that you have to shelve out a nominal fee for this.

This Ad is from 1972, the year in which BOAC and BEA were combined under the British Airways Board. Not much later in 1974, the two airlines combined to form British Airways.

As Karachi was originally a port city in India which we lost to Pakistan, we had no big airport except Calcutta to receive international flights. So Palam airport in Delhi operated by the IAF was allowed to be used by the new Pan American Airways and BOAC. Other international airlines such as Air France, KLM and SAS, as well as BOAC were using Calcutta

Read how India learnt to fly.

An Interesting footnote:
Many do not know that Nehru was a chain-smoker. We get a very interesting glimpse of Nehru in a relaxed and informal mood with a burning cigarette on his lips, in Homai's photograph. This photograph shows Nehru lighting a cigarette on the lips of Ms.Simon, wife of the then British High Commissioner to India. The photograph was taken inside the BOAC Boeing on its inaugural flight to London from New Delhi.

Check out the photograph and read about the photographer Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photojournalist.


Check out rest of the Ads at the Index of Vintage Indian Print Ads

TWA offers 'new twin seat in economy'

Old Ad of TWA

Old Ad of TWA from Indian Edition of
The Reader's Digest
Year 1972

TWA’s New
To Europe and
The U.S.A.
Daily departure from Bombay
Only TWA gives you this new twin seat in economy.
Offices in Bombay. Calcutta. Delhi. Madras. Ahmedabad. Kathmandu

India had no international airline until 1950 when Air India International was formed to operate between Bombay and London via Europe. Our international traffic was mostly to the UK at that time. In 1947, the US Government had negotiated with India and obtained traffic rights between India and the US, enabling two airlines — Pan American Airways and Trans World Airlines (TWA) — to operate into and through India.

Read the story of Indian Aviation Industry told by a pilot who joined TWA in Delhi in 1947


Check out rest of the Ads at the Index of Vintage Indian Print Ads

Wah Taj! Wah Zeenat!

Zeenat Aman in Taj Mahal Tea Ad
India’s finest CTC tea
Brooke Bond

Stronger liquor
Plus superb taste
To give you
Total tea

This Ad of Taj Mahal Tea featuring Zeenat Aman is from the year 1972. Zeenat Aman's film Hare Rama Hare Krishna had been recently released in the year 1971 making her the most famous Indian hippie and the quintessential Indian sex- symbol. This particular Ad could be older as she looks really young in it.
Who would have thought that kohl eyed Zeenat Aman could sell tea wearing a purple suit, big danglers in ear and having a centrally parted two-chowtyeed hair. Wah Zeenat! Wah!


Wah! Ustaad Wah!
Arre huzoor, wah Taj boliye

Wah Taj! catch line was adopted in the late 80s when tabla maestro Zakeer Hussain was employed (or rather his peculiar hair was employed) to promote the hazaron me ek chai.


This is the first post from the series on Vintage Indian Print Ads based on Ads I collected from an old edition of The Reader’s Digest
Check out rest of the Ads at the Index of Vintage Indian Print Ads


An interesting footnote:
While drinking her tea, for instance, she no longer posed as a society lady or model on a television commercial. Or if she did, we no longer noticed these poses as poses – they had entered the physical being of her character. Previously, while she drank tea, we would think: ‘Oh, she imagines that she’s Zeenat Aman on the Taj Mahal Tea commercial.’ Now we focused on the drinking of the tea itself, its relaxing effect and the change in the rhythms of the body.
Rustom Bharucha writing about Sulabha Deshpande in his book Theatre and the World: Performance and the Politics of Culture. Sulabha Deshpande, Marathi theatre artist, has also acted in critically acclaimed films like Salaam Bombay! and Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai. She was a regular on Doordarshan and acted in many mainstream Masala movies too. For those who don’t recall her face: her recent film Monsoon


Vintage Indian Print Ads: An Index

Vintage Indian Print Ads from the 70s that I collected from an old edition of The Reader’s Digest.
Also made a little video of some of these Ads:

Curious about the AIR tune, get it here

Collage of Vintage Print Ads from the 70sList of Ads posted (click to go to the individual pages):
  1. Wah Taj! Wah Zeenat!
  2. Daily twin seated departure from Bombay
  3. Only BOAC for some people
  4. Sunsilky Important Cosmetic for Girls
  5. Power Up
  6. Amulspray made Bita chubbier
  7. Polish with Cherry and Blossom
  8. Fortune was only a Rupee Away
  9. Public and Private photo paper
  10. Fanning the Air Power
  11. Just Apple Juice
  12. Read
  13. Happiness: Price Rs.6 Only !
  14. Tonic for Toddlers
  15. You Said It for free
  16. Say TATA to War
  17. More on War Ad
  18. That Old Radio fondly called Transistor
  19. Heavy Haulers
  20. That '70s Man: Suits, Swooning Women and Bond Age
  21. Did you give your Frige a paint job?
  22. Hindustan, Toilet – Bathroom
  23. Silver Prince Tainless Blade
  24. MRF best dressed tyre of 1972
  25. Ad Cheeslings
  26. Machines, Industries and other Oddities
  27. Lalitaji in Surf Det ergent wars
  28. Man and Women, Nailing Distance: as close as It could get
  29. Kurti, Kameez and Sari from the 70s
  30. one more Sari ad  (Is that Persis Khambatta?)

This one is from 1988 Annual issue of great Target Magazine
 A different series on Vintage Indian print Ads from late 70s and 80s

Vintage Edition of The Reader’s Digest from 1972

The cover of The Reader's Digest in its first issue published in February 1922 announced:


The magazine, now published in more than 50 editions in 21 languages across more than 70 countries reaching almost 100 Million people, has since had the same central theme.

The image at the top is of the Indian edition of The Reader’s Digest Vol. 100 No. 599 March 1972. In 1972, the magazine, then published in 13 languages, was celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
In the same year, the United States Government gave DeWitt and Lila Wallace Medal of Freedom, its highest civilian honor. In his presentation speech President Nixon mentioned that the award was being given to them for their “ towering contribution to that freedom of the mind from which spring all our liberties.” Watergate soon broke water on June 17, 1972 with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel complex in Washington, D.C.

The March 1972 issue had greetings from World Statesmen, it reads like who’s who of the time. The Statesmen who sent in their greetings included Richard Nixon (U. S President), Rt. Hon Edward Hearth (Prime Minister of Great Britain), Jacques Chaban-Delmas (Prime Minister of France), Eisaku Sato (Prime Minister of Japan), King Hussein I of Jordan, Willy Brandt (Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany), Golda Meir (Prime Minister of Israel), Juan Carlos (Prince of Spain) and Rt. Hon William McMahon (Prime Minister of Australia). While all the others mostly talked in a formal tone about how its reach spread to million, spreading knowledge, removing ignorance, bringing forth better understanding among humans and so on so forth, the comment of Japanese Prime Minister and King Hussein offered a glimpse into what the magazine meant to non - western nations and developing nations.
Japanese Prime Minister Sato said:
“ I was impressed when barely a year after the termination of the Second World War, the Japanese edition of the Digest was published in Japan. Isolated from foreign publications during the war years, a great many Japanese read avidly through the pages of this informative magazine and have been, since the, faithful readers.”
King Hussein of Jordan had this to say:
“ Since my tender years, I have been impressed by the easy reading and yet captivating features published in this handy magazine, which was available and within easy reach of all.”

The scenario in India must have been no different and it must have found its readers who wanted to read its condensed and compact articles. The first Indian Edition of the magazine was published in 1954 and had a circulation of 40,000 copies. In 1972, a princely sum of Rs. 42 a year was the subscription rate (that included postage). That year, the Editor for the Magazine was a British national - Michael R. S. Randolph. The Resident Associate editor for the magazine was Rahul Singh, son of Khushwant Singh. He was the Magazine’s first Indian Editor. Rahul Singh went on to be the editor for The Indian Express and Khaleej Times and authored a book "Khushwant Singh - In the Name of the Father".

Earlier, the Indian Reader's Digest was published here under a licence granted by the US-based Reader's Digest Association Inc. to RDI Print & Publishing Ltd, a 100 per cent Tata owned company. The Reader's Digest is now published in India by Living Media India Ltd., and sells over 600 thousand copies - a Fifteen fold increase to the circulation figure of 1954.

To write in the Digest’s language:

How I saved a Magazine and lived to tell it?

About 7-8 years ago, an elder cousin of mine was about to get married and his folks were having a big house cleaning party. On this particular day, much to my own dismay and to the disgrace of my lazy disposition, I decided to give them a little hand. Maybe the good sunny weather was to blame. I would never know but I would always be glad because, my act of revolt against my own nature proved to be a blessing in disguise, and out popped this ancient magazine from one of the old wooden drawers that contained my cousin’s old school books. I was obviously excited knowing the magnitude of my discovery. My joy was heightened by the fact that the state of the magazine wasn’t too bad except for the fact that the magazine had clearly been to an Indian tea party; an ordeal it survived but in the process getting only some nasty tea stains that mercifully hadn’t penetrated all the pages. In my heart I knew that the magazine had survived only because it hadn’t been discovered, no body from that house knew about its existence in a secret dark corner. At that very moment, I knew that by discovering its hiding place I had put its existence in danger. I knew that a stinking dustbin, wet with leftover daal of previous night was waiting to receive the magazine, keeping its retractable mouth open. If I won’t act soon the orphaned magazine would die an unknown and horrible death. I called upon the evil deep inside my heart to help me. And then the miracle happened. I heard a voice as clear as the one that I heard some years later coming from a Digital Dolby System. The voice, “ To steal a book is not a Crime”. At that exact moment, I found a reserve of some unknown strength in me and I carefully sneaked the magazine inside the safety of my Bangladeshi shirt. I went around the house the whole day without any one knowing what was going on deep inside my shirt. Once home, I hid it at a secret dark place of my own. This was the day when I saved a magazine. I forgot all about it until now. Recently, I heard about other magazines, which who too went through similar if not as much horrid ordeal. I heard that their stories are being scanned and beamed up for posterity on this medium called blog. This is great. Also, I remembered that the magazine had some great Vintage Indian Print Ads, all of then unique, that people might like to see.

What now?

I am going to post the Vintage Indian Print Ads at my blog.

The Reader’s Tale of the First Digest

The Reader’s Digest was founded in 1922 by husband wife duo Lila Acheson Wallace and DeWitt Wallace. During World War I, DeWitt Wallace, having enlisted in the U.S. Army, received shrapnel wounds in France during the Battle of Verdun. He spent four months in a French hospital, recovering from his injuries and passing the time by reading American magazines. According to one account, this was the period of inspiration for Wallace. He realized that some articles had far more enduring appeal than others had and that the impact of most articles could be improved by vigorously condensing them, focusing on essentials. The idea took shape in his mind: Reader’s Digest that offered “An Article a Day of Lasting Interest in Condensed, Permanent Booklet Form.”

The idea was finally given a body on 5 th February 1922 with the publication of the first issue. For this first issue all the selecting, condensing, editing, titling, copy reading, etc., was performed by DeWitt and his bride, Lila Acheson Wallace. They worked on the digest in their garden flat at MacDouglas and Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, New York City and they looked for material to be published at the New York Public Library, where they had access to all the publications they couldn’t buy. The copies were printed in Pittsburgh, where DeWitt Wallance had worked briefly for Westinghouse Electric while still putting the finishing touches on his new invention – a pocket- size publication, The Reader’s Digest that offered “ An Article a Day of Lasting Interest in Condensed, Permanent Booklet Form.”
Aided by a group of girl recruits paid by the hour, the young couple stuffed the magazine into envelopes in a one-room windowless basement storeroom below a prohibition speakeasy at No. I Minetta Lane, also in Greenwich Village. Total capital for the venture was Rs. 13, 140. The magazine took no advertisement and was sold only by subscription, but it had great popular appeal. The couple never had to go to the bank to finance their venture. Lila Wallance paid the rent for their flat out of her salary from the social-welfare work she managed somehow to do in addition to her editorial duties.
The Wallanc edited the Digest in New York for a year. Then they moved to a flat above a garage an attached stable on a hilltop estate in Pleasantville, 65 kilometers north of the city. The popularity and reach of the magazine grew beyond the dreams of its founders.
In 1922, the first issue had reached 5,000 subscribers and already in 1926, it had 50,000 readers 1926. This growth was exponential as in 1929 it reached 228,000 people.
The first international edition appeared in Britain in 1938.

The cover of the digest’s first issue published in February 1922 had announced:


The magazine, now published in more than 50 editions in 21 languages across more than 70 countries reaching almost 100 Million people, has since had the same central theme.


Read about Corporate Timeline and Milestones of The Reader’s Digest here
Read about 1972 Indian Edition of The Reader's Digest

French acclaim for Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt
Pyaasa (1957) by Guru Dutt. Possibly one of the most remarkable transpositions of poetry on screen. Dutt plays the poet himself and when he says the verses, he actually sings (using the beautiful voice of Mohammad Rafi). It's just out of this world. More than once I've had tears in my eyes listening to the audio tape I bought in Delhi in the late eighties.
~ French filmmaker Olivier Assayas in Sight and Sound magazine on the topic of The Best Music in Film. The question asked of him:
What is your favourite film soundtrack music and why do you like it so much?
Music of Pyaasa was not his first choice, instead his first choice was:
"With not a second of hesitation David Mansfield's music for Heaven's Gate "
Besides its music Heaven's Gate (1980) is famous for being the film that sank the studio United Artists.
Olivier later in the article comments that
“[Music in Pyaasa is] even sadder than the music in Heaven's Gate.”


The French discovered Guru Dutt in1984 when Pyaasa premiered in France and went on to be a critical and commercial success. In presenting the film to French audience, acclaimed film critic Iqbal Masud played a key role by spelling out the significance of the film to the new audience. Accompanying Iqbal Masud that year were the then acclaimed actresses of New Wave cinema in India - Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi.
Iqbal Masud wrote about the whole experience in one of the chapters for his book Dream Merchants, Politician & Partition: Memoirs of an Indian Muslim

Article Muslim Ethos In Indian Cinema by Iqbal Masud.
Read it here
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