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Themes & Thoughts of the day : July

31 July : Mohammed Rafi's death anniversary
Mohammed Rafi

"If God had a voice, it would be Rafi`s voice." - Film Director Manmohan Desai`s line for Mohammad Rafi.

"If there had been no Mohd. Rafi, there would have been no O. P. Nayyar." - Music Composer O. P. Nayyar`s line for Mohammad Rafi.

Mohammed Rafi (b. 24 December 1924 - d. 31 July 1980) is considered as one of the greatest Indian playback singers of the Hindi film industry. Rafi was born in Kotla Sultan Singh, Amritsar, in a middle class Muslim family. His elder brother, Janab Hamid Sahab, was the first to take notice of the divine gift in Rafi’s voice. He decided to concentrate all his efforts in providing all the support needed by his brother to make it big in the music world. At the age of seven, Rafi learnt Hindustani Classical music under the renowned Ustaad Bade Gulam Ali Khan and Vahida Khan.

In his lifetime, he was awarded the National Film Award, Best National Singer Award and six Filmfare Awards. In 1967, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India. His singing career spanned about 35 years. Rafi is noted for his ability to sing songs of different moods and varieties: They ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans. He is best known for romantic and duet songs and, as a playback singer, his ability to mould his voice to the persona of the actor lip-synching the song.

29 July : J. R. D. Tata's birth anniversary
J. R. D. Tata

"(The) Future belongs to the young. We must not only trust them with responsibility but must thrust it upon them whilst they are still young and full of energy, zest, hope and even illusions. However heart-breaking it may be to ourselves, we must make way for the new generations even when we feel we are still in our prime." - J. R. D. Tata.

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (b. 29 July 1904 - d. 29 November 1993) was a French-born Indian aviator and business tycoon. J. R. D. Tata was inspired early by pioneer Louis Blériot, and took to flying. On February 10, 1929, Tata obtained the first pilot licence issued in India. He later came to be known as the father of Indian civil aviation. He founded India's first commercial airline, Tata Airlines in 1932, which became Air India in 1946, now India's national airline. He and Nevill Vintcent worked together in building Tata Airlines. They were also friends. He joined Tata & Sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. In 1938, at the age of 34, JRD was elected Chairman of Tata & Sons making him the head of the largest industrial group in India. He took over as Chairman of Tata Sons from his second cousin Nowroji Saklatwala. For decades, he directed the huge Tata Group of companies, with major interests in Steel, Engineering, Power, Chemicals and Hospitality. In 1983, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour and, in 1992, India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

23 July : Chandra Shekhar Azad's birth anniversary
Chandra Shekhar Azad

"If yet your blood does not rage, then it is water that flows in your veins. For what is the flush of youth, if it is not of service to the motherland." - Chandra Shekhar Azad

Chandra Shekhar Azad (b. 23 July 1906 - d. 27 February 1931), popularly known as Azad ("The Liberated"), was an Indian revolutionary who reorganised the Hindustan Republican Association under the new name of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) after the death of its founder, Ram Prasad Bismil, and three other prominent party leaders, Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqulla Khan. He is considered to be the mentor of Bhagat Singh and chief strategist of the HSRA.

23 July : Bal Gangadhar Tilak's birth anniversary
Bal Gangadhar Tilak

"Progress is implied in independence. Without self-government neither industrial progress is possible, nor the educational scheme will be useful to the nation…To make efforts for India’s freedom is more important than social reforms." - Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak or Lokmanya Tilak (b. 23 July 1856 - d. 1 August 1920), born as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, was an Indian nationalist, journalist, teacher, social reformer, lawyer and an independence activist. He was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities called him "Father of the Indian unrest." He was also conferred with the honorary title of "Lokmanya", which literally means "accepted by the people (as their leader)".

Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) and a strong radical in Indian consciousness. He is known for his quote, "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!" in India. He formed a close alliance with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, later the founder of Pakistan, during the Indian Home Rule Movement.

14 July : Madan Mohan's death anniversary
Madan Mohan

"The mysteries of the mind, the interpretations of dreams and the monumental probing into certain aspects of my thoughts provoked me to concentrate on film music. Music was in my blood. Nothing could curb it from coming out. Destiny decided that I part with my musical gift to music lovers." - Madan Mohan

Madan Mohan Kohli (25 June 1924 - 14 July 1975), better known as Madan Mohan, was a famed Hindi Film music director of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He is particularly remembered for the ghazals he composed for the film industry, mainly using the voice of Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood and Mohammed Rafi.

Born at Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, where his father Rai Bahadur Chunilal was working as an Accountant General with the Kurdistan Peshmerga forces, Madan Mohan spent the first five years of his life in the Middle East. After 1932, the family returned to Chunnilal's home town of Chakwal, then in Jhelum district of Punjab, British India. They were left in the care of a grandparent while Chunnilal went to Mumbai to seek business opportunities. He subsequently became a partner in the Bombay Talkies studio and then in the Filmistan studio.

At the behest of his father, Madan Mohan attended the Colonel Brown Cambridge School and joined the army and received his first commission (emergency) in 1943. Personal traits like courtesy, endurance, discipline, physical fitness and punctuality were all fostered in him during those years. Though as history would have it, he quit the armed forces and turned to his first love—music. He joined All India Radio in Lucknow, where he brushed shoulders with such ghazal and classical luminaries as Ustad Faiyyaz Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Begum Akhtar, and Talat Mahmood. He picked up their influences and carried them with him to Mumbai when he entered the Hindi Film industry. Not many know that he aspired to becoming an actor but ended up directing music. In 1975, at the age of 51, he died from cirrhosis of the liver.

9 July : Guru Dutt's birth anniversary
Guru Dutt

“Life mein, yaar, kya hai? Do hi toh cheezen hai – kamyaabi aur failure. There is nothing in between.” (”What's life about, friend? It's only about two things - success and failure. There is nothing in between.”) - Guru Dutt (On failure of Kaagaz Ke Phool and success of Chaudhvin Ka Chand)

Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone (b. 9 July 1925 - d. 10 October 1964), better known as Guru Dutt, was a film director, producer and actor. He was born in Bangalore to Shivashanker Rao Padukone and Vasanthi Padukone in a Konkani Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin family. His father was initially a headmaster, and then a bank employee. His mother Vasanthi wrote short stories and translated Bengali novels into Kannada. Guru Dutt spent his early childhood in Bhowanipore area of Kolkata and he grew close to Bengali culture and intellect. He started his film career at Prabhat Film Company in Pune in 1944 and later moved to Mumbai.

Guru Dutt made 1950s and 1960s classics such as Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool , Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Chaudhvin Ka Chand. In particular, Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool are now included among the greatest films of all time, both by Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies and by the Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll, where Guru Dutt himself is included among the greatest film directors of all time. He is sometimes referred to as "India's Orson Welles". In 2010, he was included among CNN's "top 25 Asian actors of all time". He is most famous for making lyrical and artistic films within the context of popular Hindi cinema of the 1950s, and expanding its commercial conventions, starting with his 1957 film, Pyaasa. Several of his later works have a cult following. His movies go full house when re-released; especially in Germany, France and Japan.

4 July : Swami Vivekananda's death anniversary
Swami Vivekananda

“Perfection does not come from belief or faith. Talk does not count for anything. Parrots can do that. Perfection comes through selfless work.” - Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda (b. 12 January 1863 - d. 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta was an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world[2] and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech which began, "Sisters and brothers of America ...," in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna's death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India. He later travelled to the United States, representing India at the 1893 Parliament of the World Religions. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India.

1 July : Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy's birth and death anniversary
Dr. B. C. Roy

“Along with independence of India from the British Colonial rule, physical and mental development of masses is necessary for rebuilding the nation.” - Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy

Bidhan Chandra Roy, MRCP, FRCS (b. 1 July 1882 - d. 1 July 1962) was the second Chief Minister of West Bengal in India. He remained in his post for 14 years as an Indian National Congress candidate, from 1948 until his death in 1962. He was a highly respected physician and a renowned freedom fighter. Bidhan Roy is often considered the great architect of West Bengal, who founded five eminent cities, Durgapur, Kalyani, Bidhannagar, Ashokenagar, Habra. He was an alumnus of the Medical College Calcutta of the University of Calcutta. He is one of the few people who completed both F.R.C.S. and M.R.C.P. simultaneously within only two years and three months. In India, the National Doctors' Day is celebrated on the date of his birth (and death) 1 July every year. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy constituted a trust for his properties at Patna for social service and made eminent nationalist Ganga Sharan Singh (Sinha) the trustee. He was awarded Bharat Ratna on 4 February 1961, India's highest civilian honour. He was also a member of the Brahmo Samaj.

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