1968 was the year when everything Indian was “cool” in the west. Hindu mystics tapped the vast opportunities available in English speaking markets long before the local software and BPO industry realized similar opportunities. Yoga was becoming an American invention and LSD influenced white middle-class youth found a lot of meaning behind Allen Ginsberg’s loud “Ommmm’s” without context. The Mandala explained all the secrets of the universe and every rock guitarist was forced to learn Sitar.
While Indian godmen migrated west to make it a better and frivolous place, things got a lot more serious in
Given that the movements of 1968 were largely led by students, often from a privileged or a Jewish background, the vast majority loathed them. As a result, police repression was often sufficient to wipe out these movements within a short period. But 1968 led to more subtle changes. Western militaries learned how to manipulate media and also how to recruit soldiers without problems. For the last time, Marx, Mao and Marcuse became pop idols with Che’s picture becoming more common than traffic lights. And English abuses, of the four letter kind now so synonymous with
The best moments of 1968? Probably the time when Mario Savio, while protesting at Berkeley, took off his shoes before standing on top of a police van to avoid scratching it, or when Cohn Bendit gave a big smile to the police accosting him (see picture) or when Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin nominated a pig for President during the Democratic Convention protests. It is widely reported that the pig called “Pigasus the immortal” was later arrested by the