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  • Writer's pictureKuzhali Manickavel

From cow-worship to satellite communications ranges the progress made by Indians.

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Hay yougaiz! Remember once upon a time like about a week ago everyone kept talking about something called AnnaHazareIssue? Remember that? Since we’re not talking about that anymore, does it mean we won? Please answer me yes or no. Anywaiz, this blog post title is stolen from The Illustrated Weekly of India Annual 1973- The New Landscape of India. It is from the essay on Gujarat and these illustrious words can be found nestled beneath a black and white picture of a very large satellite dish and in front of said satellite dish there are cows tooling about and doing cowish things that cows are wont to do. So in that way, the line makes sense.

I recently read The Illustrated Weekly of India Annual 1973- The New Landscape of India although maybe ‘read’ is too strong a word. I glanced through it but not really also. Sometimes I smelled it and wondered why some old magazines have that somewhat kind of smell because basically I have poor reading skills. Anyway, I think the aim of this issue was to feature essays on how all the Indian states and union territories were awesome in 1973. Independence had been won, the Green Revolution was bringing on hybrid seeds and insecticides, life expectancy was up, literacy was up, the snail was on the thorn, morning was at seven and we were just the dopest flyest OG pimp hustler gangster player hardcore motherfucking third world country in the world yougaiz. Here are some things I thought were neat about The Illustrated Weekly of India Annual 1973- The New Landscape of India.

The civics section of one of my school text books taught me that one of the reasons for population explosion in India is ‘the fatalistic outlook of the common man.’ Basically Common Man is going around saying hay yougaiz India is depressing and we’re all going to die, let’s go make baybeez. Similarly, this magazine taught me the following

“Naga women have the reputation of being excellent housewives. They are hard-working, smart and faithful to their men”.

Luckily that first sentence is there because if you read the second sentence on its own, you’d think you were reading about some exciting breed of domestic animal they have in the Nagaland. Also, isn’t it neat how back then, peeps probably had no idea where Nagaland was because that was 1973  but now in 2011, peeps are like, Nagaland is like ManipurMizoramTripura types place, right? Somewhere over there, no?

Mizo girls who only a few decades ago sent their young men on head-hunting sprees are now modernized and sing soulful love songs to the tune of the modern guitar.”

So many amazing things happening in this sentence that I feel it needs to be on a really big t-shirt with flashing lights so that people can read it in the dark and from very far away also.

“Kashmir is renowned for the beauty of its women and the skill of its artisans”.

Later we are informed that’ the greatest ornament of a Kashmiri woman is her modesty’. So basically you just need to mix the Nagaland womans with the Kashmir womans to create ultimate Indian wife, no? For some reason, none of the writers felt the need to make such fabulously sweeping statements about the various dudes in the various states. Why such blatant sexism in 1973? Is modesty not the greatest ornament of a Kashmiri man too? Or do Kashmiri men not wear ornaments because that would be gay? Are the Mizo men not modernized and singing soulful love songs? After all, they don’t need to go out headhunting anymore, no? What they are doing in this spare time now? Why has no one said ‘Naga men have the reputation of being all-round excellent dudes.’? Is all this the early ruinous effect of naansensefeminism in modern India? I think so yes it is. Another thing that my school text books told me was that we are all Indian caste. We are casteless but we are Indian. Indian is my caste. Or something. Anywaiz, this magazine also propagated against the caste and region-based ebils by perpetuating caste and region-based stereotyping in the following manner

“The Kammas, compared with the Reddis, are known to be urbane, astute and sophisticated.”

If I was a Reddi I think I might be thinking about whether I should be thinking about whether I should get offended by that or not but I’m not a Reddi so it doesn’t matter. Anyway, this following one is my personal favorite

“Self-pity comes as naturally to the Andhra as self-praise does to the Tamilian.”

My Tamilian self would now like to say that I am awesome. Zomg, I just self-praised myself. Self-praising Tamils is like SO TRUE YOUGAIZ!!!11 See? Stereotypes really ARE real!!11

Let us now desist with the unfair practice of cherry-picking lines from the magazine, mainly because there are too many of them. Now let’s look at the pictures. We have already spoken about the large satellite dish juxtaposed with tooling cows. Other interesting pics included the strikingly dramatic black and white pics of the authors and the alarming number of pics of topless young women accompanied by descriptors that said things like ‘beautiful and bold naked tribal girl being beautiful and bold and naked’. In stark contrast, there were no pics of topless young tribal men, possibly because they are not as beautiful, bold and naked as the tribal girls. I feel like the fact that all the essays seemed to be written by men was neatly balanced by this profusion of pics of young women and their boobies. In this way, the magazine accommodated men and women in the different capacities that they are most proficient in. Because men and women are different yougaiz and they are good at different things, as is wonderfully expressed in this following ad that was also found in this magazine.

This ad has a foreigner (or an Indian who looks very foreign), foreign language spoken by white people, kamasutra pic and a really funny joke. No really, it’s funny. Really. This makes it a relevant banking ad because there is a difference between a bank and a bank yougaiz. We can see this is successful ad because I have gone to the trouble of taking a pic of it and posting it on my blog. But that is not my favorite ad. This one is. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that ‘figure developer’, really means ‘this will make your boobies big yougaiz.’ When I first saw this, I thought it was for ladies personality development course because you can see that in the ‘before’ pics, the ladies are sad and wearing sleeveless. In the ‘after’ pics they are smiling even though they have somehow lost their sleeveless and are only wearing bra. So maybe that is personality development in a way yougaiz. Again, doesn’t seem to cater to the men but that’s probs because manboobs are gross yougaiz.

Wow, so much man/woman whining in this blog post, no? I must be on my period or something! Anyway I want to end this by saying that it is very unfair to snark about a 1973 magazine in 2011, especially when I didn’t really read it in the first place. But I feel like in order to understand where we are and where we are going, we need to understand where we were and the best way to do that is to read magazines from 1973 and make fun of them. Also it is important to remember that we are now in 2011 and we are awesome because we have internet and there are many Indians living in America. This means we no longer stereotype or make sweeping statements about people with uteruses and people from different regions, different castes and different stratas of society. We don’t even do it in ads anymore, as is clearly illustrated in this ad from TataDocomo about the thieving maidservant. Because maids really do steal everything yougaiz!


ps- Didn’t You Kill My Brother by Alexei Sayle. This is one of the best things I have ever seen in my life yougaiz


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