Cover Story
  • Charles Dickens' famous opening words in A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...," could well be applied to the Indian political scene in 1978.
  • The times were changing in the blink of an eye. By successfully contesting from Amethi, Rajiv Gandhi, the man who would be prime minister, was getting the first taste of democracy.
  • Best and the worst moments of year 1992 in Indian history
  • A little master with humungous talent, a political leader who attained instant sainthood, a policewoman with a penchant for pitched battles and a steel king who found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Dilip Bobb takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the people who hogged the headlines.
  • The past three decades have been more than the sum of their parts. But what do they add up to? A speed read.

  • "The Jain report not only scripted history but defined the future too."
  • "Even if India lost its innocence earlier, in 1979, it turned cynical"
  • Best and the worst moments of year 1985 in Indian history
  • The year was the golden expression of national well-being. Twelve months ago, it was India as duskland of hate, its faultlines glaring.
  • "The rubble at Ayodhya represents conflicting views of Indian history."
  • 30 heart-stopping seconds in the nation's life. Frozen in time, yet eloquent in their immediacy.
  • When India Today was born in the eventful 1975, it was a time of tumult and trauma. But it was also a time of hope, of old uncertainties giving way to new aspirations. Nothing symbolises this better than the new generation born with the magazine.
  • It was, more than anything else, a year that rode the winds of change. Politics churned in this year as never before in 33 years of independence.
  • Every time there is a boisterous New Year's party, the resident bore can be heard saying, "This year went by too fast."
  • "Taking an uncompromising stand on gender justice is not enough"
  • It's not China against India. The real story may be China and India."
  • In the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, INDIA TODAY brought out a landmark edition providing solutions to the Ayodhya imbroglio. T.N. Seshan and K.P.S. Gill emerged as unlikely middle-class heroes.
  • "Sanjay's death signalled the end of majority rule in India"
  • "India's strategic world view shifted from moral speak to realpolitik."
  • The year 1986 began with the Asom Gana Parishad's surprise win in the Assam assembly elections. The party was set up just 67 days prior to the election.

  • 2004 was a year dominated not just by the unpredictable, but also the unpredicted.
  • If history is "the sum total of things that could have been avoided", 1993 will be reckoned as a year of sordid events that should have been avoided: it was in this year that corruption got institutionalised in India.
  • "Indira Gandhi proved what a great chess player she was"
  • The year of the Kargil War with Pakistan. 1999 was when the euphoria over Atal Bihari Vajpayee's bus to Lahore vanished as the Indian Army inched its way towards the posts held by battle-hardened infiltrators in the high ranges.
  • "It has broken down judicial orthodoxy and procedural shackles"
  • "The BJP's current crisis is a great opportunity for India's minorities."
  • Surat suffered an outbreak of pneumonic plague in 1994. The ISRO scandal, the Samba spy case and the sugar scam involving Kalpnath Rai came out in the open. Mulayam Singh Yadav emerged as the Backwards messiah.
  • The world lived dangerously in 1975. Even as Angola and Mozambique broke free from colonialism, in India, prime minister Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency and throttled civic liberties.
  • "Here, at last, was a man who spoke our language, free of taint and very secular"
  • "Kargil's lessons lie outside the battlefield, in policy and politics."
  • The 40th year of Indian Independence was, above all else, a year of enduring ironies, an allegro of Indian history that pianoed a pulsating but suspended symphony-leaving the audience wondering what the ado was all about.
  • It was the year of contradictions, of stock market booms and political busts, of arrivals and departures,  death and devastation.
  • The sequel to Sushmita Sen's win could be The Bold and the Beautiful
  • "Democracy had been hijacked to serve personal interests"
  • It was a year of mixed fortunes for the nation. If the hosting of the Asian Games in Delhi showcased the confidence of the nation, the Bihar sharif communal riots made us hang our heads in shame.
  • What will 2000 be remembered for? Bill Clinton's conquest of India or A.B.Vajpayee's conquest of his knee? Kaun Banega Crorepati's celebration of vicarious greed or Azim Premji's more conventional millions?
  • "Corruption in high places came to dominate political issues."
  • Nothing worked for him. Not even the mathematics of caste.
  • It was the year the Shiv Sena came to power in Maharashtra, Bombay became Mumbai and Mayawati became Uttar Pradesh's first Dalit chief minister.
  • In a list of parliamentarians in jail in 14 countries compiled by Amnesty International on April 6, 1976, India had the highest number (59) behind bars.
  • "After NTR, cooperative federalism gave way to bargaining regionalism"
  • "What we do now will determine what the next generation inherits."
  • What remained most indelibly etched in the mind's eye by the passage of 1988 are the larger-than-life people who shaped or were pushed centre stage by the year's events.
  • It was the year the USSR finally imploded and India tried her very best to follow course. The words "suicide bomber" entered the Indian lexicon as a young man's tryst with destiny ended in a nightmare.
  • From sweepers to CEOs, from curiosity to necessity, in 10 years.
  • "India is Indira, and Indira is India. Who lives if Indira dies?"
  • If Kapil's Devils made us feel on top of the world, the dreadful Nellie massacre brought us back to earth. On the one hand, the larger-than-life N.T. Rama Rao triumphed in Andhra Pradesh, on the other, Jagannath Mishra bit the dust in Bihar's political arena.
  • In ordinary times, a year in a nation's life is, at the most, a sentence in history. Not applicable to 2001. It was a four digit chapter on surviving Evil, on the fury of faith and earth.
  • "A law that could have made an impact only exists ineffectually on paper."
  • "The reforms story is only half done, but the rewards reaped are ample."
  • Watching failure is one of the grandest spectator sports in the world, second only to tracking success.
Dec 26, 2005
Next issue out on Nov 09, 2020
Dec 26, 2005
Next issue out on Nov 09, 2020

Uncommon mien

He has got this thing about crows. Understandably so. Ever-present, sharpeyed, irreverent, street smart survivor with a Chaplinesque strut, the crow could well be an emblem of the genius of R.K. Laxman, India's best known (he would say only) cartoonist, who for 57 years has delighted readers of successive generations.

Class act

If we were to choose an individual who formed the concept of Indian theatre, it would almost certainly be Ebrahim Alkazi.- Girish Karnad

God's own voice

The last time I heard Panditji live was three years ago, but I remember the programme as if it were yesterday. - Ashwini Bhide Deshpande

The social realist

Most touring repertories have shut down because of financial constraints, but Habib Tanvir just doesn't stop. - Sanjana Kapoor

In a word of her own

Mahashweta didi and I have many things in common. Both of us were born on makar sankranti, the last day of the month of Poush, in the middle of January.

Desi libido's last hope

Regardless of how history judges the irascible sardar, millions of KS (not to be confused with a condom bearing the same initials, even if it's a great fit) fans will confirm his reputation as India's most recognised byline.

The ethical tycoon

It is a metaphor waiting to be patented. The story of India's economic resurgence has no better parable than the turnaround of one of India's largest business houses. 

Born to run

About the time I ran my first race, when I was barely five or six years old, the only name in athletics we were familiar with was that of Milkha Singh. His title, the Flying Sikh, seemed so grand and appealing to us. - Ashwini Nachappa

Matinee moghul

One of the great old men of Indian cinema, B.R. Chopra has directed some of the all-time classics.


Dilip Kumar's roles were held up as a mirror to India, in which it could view itself, warts and all.

30 sporting moments

There were more than a few occasions to hold our heads high. And a few to hang them in shame. Being the good sports they are, our reporters documented them with care and, of course, with the characteristic INDIA TODAY flair.

Movie milestones

From masala mixes to New Wave flavour to crossover kitsch, the Indian moviegoer has seen it all. The multiplicity of subjects and genres is what makes Indian cinema special. Here's a quick flashback, tees saal bad.


From Booker to Nobel, from fatwas to phenomenal advances, from literary parvenus to peerless wordsmiths, Indian writing has seen them all in the past 30 years. INDIA TODAY examines the incredible evolution of post-colonial Indian literature.
Guest Column

Towards a creative and daring India

For development to become a national obsession, the tyranny of bureaucracy has to end.

Not second best, not best either

Indian sport is on the right track, but only focused training will help the players compete globally.

Getting ready for a global role

India has never been a threat to any nation. At the same time, it cannot be threatened by any nation.

From monochrome to neon lights

A somnolent Indian press was roused after being robbed of its freedom during the Emergency.

The true nature of the beast

A tongue-in-cheek look at Indian-American writers as well as their desi counterparts.

From Bharat to India

Harmonisation of taxes, standards and access is crucial to India's economic growth.

Cast in a divisive mould

Economic growth is desirable, but India desperately needs to tackle its deep social divisions.

Song, dance, spectacle

Bollywood's westward journey has mirrored the rise of the Asian Diaspora. Does it need to go further?

Big bucks, but still no bang

The truly self-made entrepreneur in India is still something of a distant dream.

Another country, another era

Mahatma Gandhi's deification of the poor in the villages has been largely abandoned. But what will it be replaced by?

Passages 1975-2005

Indian personalities and celebrities who passed away between 1975-2005.

Market matters

From socialist highs to corporate lows, from an IT boom to a stockmarket bust, from motorcycles to mobile phones, the Indian economy has travelled three decades, fast and furious.