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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

‘Mumbai of the Seventies had a tremendous spirit’

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Lengthy earlier than 1991, when India was imbued with a way that anybody could make it, Mumbai of the Seventies was full of people that got here from nothing and did spectacular issues, mentioned Vir Sanghvi, journalist and writer of the memoir ‘A Impolite Life’, in a session of the Instances LitFest. The examples of this can-do spirit he cited had been Dhirubhai Ambani, who went from petrol pump attendant to tycoon, and Amitabh Bachchan. “Amitabh was a enterprise govt in Calcutta who labored for an organization referred to as Hen and Firm. He gave all of it up, got here to Bombay to grow to be an actor and had robust occasions – one evening, he slept on a bench in Marine Drive – however he made it. There was that sense about Bombay, which I feel the remainder of India has maybe caught up with, that something can occur.”

Throughout the session, Sanghvi mentioned his experiences – private and political alike – spanning many years. For example, he detailed the disillusionment that was felt with Indira Gandhi as Sanjay Gandhi was thrust into the highlight out of the blue. “Individuals had vaguely heard about him. We knew one in every of her sons was a quiet pilot who didn’t wish to become involved in politics and the opposite was a motor mechanic of some description and he used to hang around with characters who might charitably be referred to as thugs.” This, he added, was the true starting of dynasty politics.

In his e book, he recounts Benazir Bhutto telling him that the ISI had persuaded Osama Bin Laden to stay round in South Asia, even after the primary Afghan conflict. Did this imply that the ISI will need to have recognized about 9/11? “The ISI had very shut hyperlinks with the Taliban which sheltered Osama. The plot was hatched in Kandahar and elements of Afghanistan managed by the Taliban, with the help of the ISI. It’s arduous to consider that a world plot of this magnitude might occur with out some ISI guys being concerned.”

The evolution of Indian media additionally got here up for dialogue. “The language they’ve adopted on tv just isn’t the language individuals used to undertake in debates, it’s the language of Twitter. Political spokespeople have successfully grow to be troll farms with their lips shifting,” he says, evaluating debates to WWF.

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