Sunday, September 17, 2006

From Janata to Jet

I was talking to a friend of mine a few days back and during the course of the conversation, we realized that the 70s and 80s were the age of the Janata (public). There were "Janata" expresses, "Janata" stores, "Janata" parties and almost everything was either prefixed or suffixed with Janata. Today Janata is as much a symbol of public as it is a symbol of the old India. Today people no longer want Janata - which essentially is bare bones service - no frills. So Janata express trains were trains with reservation with those without reservation could travel as well. Janata buses were no frills bus services with no chance of comfort - they transported people (a little better than animals) from point A to point B. If there was a Jet airways or an Air Deccan in the 80s, I suspect they would have named themselves Janata Airways.

Today, there is little chance that a Janata airways would survive in India. Even Air Deccan, which, really is Janata has a sporty name. From the 70s, which was the age of scarcity this is the age of the entitled generation which is almost the same size (if not more) as the "middle class" of the 70s. This entitled generation though calls itself middle class is more upper middle class and prefers Janata to Jet. For the real middle class which in reality is the lower middle class, Jet is an aspiration. Over the next few decades, the shift from Janata to Jet will be complete. Comfort, value for money, good service will be valued as much as functionality.


Siva Rajendran said...

This is also helped by our national policy's drifting from Nehruvian's Socialistic theme to Singh's and Chidambaram's Capitalistic musings.

Anonymous said...

hey..this comment is nothing related to this particular article...i think you blog more frequently...i like your articles but they are very short..i donno whether thats good or bad..but keep on blogging..

manoj said...


thats neel for u. short and to the point .. no unnecessary explanation and no pandering to the masses.

Neelakantan said...

Thanks manoj! I do realise that I need to write more and think more but I am kind of strapped for time. But Anon, thanks for the encouragement, will try and blog more.