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Celebrating 60: Industry honchos share the agonies and ecstasies of India @ 60

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Celebrating 60:  Industry honchos share the agonies and ecstasies of India @ 60

Piyush Pandey, NCD and Vice Chairman, APAC, O&M: As a country we have come a long way. If the people, who achieved what they achieved for this nation in 1947, are watching from the skies, they would be cheering for us -- India as a country has achieved so much. And Indian advertising has mirrored this growth of our economy. It has only made India look better in every way. Mahatma Gandhi would've said, "Well done, India at 60!"

Prathap Suthan, NCD, Grey Worldwide: Sixty years of Independence means everything and nothing to me. I have food at home, but my poor cousin hasn't eaten in a week. I have water in the taps, but they are dripping with bacteria and viruses. I have air to breathe, but it's terribly polluted. I have roads to drive, but they are full of jams, maniacs and road rage. I have parks to picnic, but I am scared of cops and criminals. I have power to switch on my fans, but it goes off whenever. I live a good life, but my sister may be burnt after marriage. I have the right to vote in my Government, but all they do is bicker and fight among themselves. I am a proud Indian, but I am ashamed of scams, corruption and fanaticism. I have the freedom to write, but no freedom from black money and bribes. I have everything, but I also have nothing.

Chintamani Rao, CEO, India TV: I am sad -- that after being in charge of our own fate for 60 years, we continue to live in poverty and ignorance; that there is so much internecine conflict; that corruption is endemic in public life. I am hopeful -- because there is light at the end of the economic tunnel; because our democracy thrives and we have hung together despite all divisive forces; because I believe in today's youth and have the faith that they will ditch the bad old ways of their forbearers.

Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN and IBN 7: Sixty years ago, few gave India any chance of surviving, leave alone prosperity; several historians suggested that India would crack apart into several small countries. Sixty years later we can say with some pride that the idea of India has not only remained, but has grown and prospered. That to me is a reason enough to celebrate 60 years of Indian Independence. We have shown the world the power of democracy, of people, of one-man-one-vote, and a Constitution in which the common citizen can have faith. I think this is a great achievement.

There is an Indian way of life that we can all share, but above all, there is democracy, which makes India stand out today. It's true that a large number of Indians live in abject poverty, that there are many inequalities in our society, and religion and caste can still divide us. But 60 years on I would like to see the glass as half full and not half empty. Life begins at 60, so India has much to look forward to, and every time I see the Tricolour and hear the National Anthem, I feel proud to be part of this great country. Certainly, there is no other country in the world as diverse as India where I would like to work as a journalist.

AP Parigi, MD and CEO, ENIL: We have achieved several milestones in the last 60 years. India today has entered the global mainstream. Sixty years have seen more of plusses than minuses, in terms of achievements. We have matured into a far greater secular democracy. We are now at the threshold of a major breakthrough in terms of growth over the next 15-20 years.

The Indian media and entertainment sector has grown by leaps and bounds. Together they have been a formidable force multiplier in terms of the whole polity. We as Indians have always treasured our freedom. Any oblique or mild initiative from whichever quarter, in terms of control or regulation of media, is worrying. Going forward, we should ensure that we bequeath a legacy of confidence and capability to the youth for managing their future. The youth should be able to decide what is good or what is not for themselves.

Sam Balsara, Chairman and MD, Madison Communications: 'You've come a long way baby!' Having said that, I must say for a major part of the 60 years we lost out, by not understanding or appreciating the power of advertising and the role it can play in stimulating the economy and driving growth, we need to make up for lost time in the next decade.

Srinivasan K Swamy, Chairman and MD, RK Swamy BBDO: As a product of post independent India, I can only understand the meaning of freedom from what happened in my lifetime. I was witness to the shortages and long waiting periods in the '60s, '70s and a good part of the '80s for worthless cars and scooters, expensive telephone and gas connections, impossible conditions for overseas travel, etc. Economic liberalisation lifted the nation from such deprivation to choice of plenty, and I was witness to this transformation. I am sure the same sense of deja vu was felt by my father and others when we attained Independence, and they saw significant progress in agriculture, heavy equipment manufacture, etc.

At the time of our Independence, India's advertising expenditure was $ 1 million (at current exchange rate). Thirty-five years later the expenditure moved to about $ 40 million. Over the next 25 years the volume has increased to $ 3.5 billion. This is the power of liberalised thinking.

My children belong to the post-liberalisation era. They have not seen shortages of the kind I have seen. They have not seen my father bowing to his incompetent white bosses. They are confident people who will raise India to a very high level of competitiveness, which, as Goldman Sachs study of January 2007 has indicated, will make India the second largest economy by 2040. I will hopefully live to see a good part of this journey. Jai Hind!

Josy Paul, NCD, JWT: Picasso once said that it took him 60 years to think like a child. That's so true about my India, and the way we feel right now. Sixty years... and we are more imaginative, more willing to come out and play with the world around us, and excited enough to dream the big stuff. We believe anything is possible. It feels like we are born again... 60 years makes me feel six again!

Diwan Arun Nanda, Chairman and MD, Rediffusion DY&R India: These 60 years of Independence means the resurgence of a new India. Enhanced pride in being an Indian; proud of the achievements of individuals in various spheres despite the most difficult conditions, circumstances and obstacles; proud of our continued belief in and living the right values; proud of India's spirituality and spiritual soul; proud that our youth will now conquer the world as they believe in themselves. And a regret that I am too old to not belong to today's Indian generation. Jai Hind!

Rajeev Nambiar, President and COO, Hello FM: India is 60 years young. Private radio is five years old. Yes, one is a nation -- that is daring to dream even after being 60 years down the road. And the other, still being a notion -- fearing to chase the rainbow that's smiling just around the corner. Come on, radio… it's time to come of age. Take a leaf from India.


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