Over time we become increasingly aware about aspects of our behaviour that adversely affect our health and the eco-system around us. Even in the early history of Air India, this is very evident. The airline prided itself in high quality gifts to passengers and business contacts. Often in the 1950s all the way through to the 1970s, these were cigarette lighters and ash trays. You can see images of these elsewhere in our website as well (https://www.airindiacollector.com/gifts-and-souvenirs.html).
Over time the airline became more aware of the ill-effects of tobacco, and participated in a campaign to create awareness of the harmful effects of smoking.
The poster itself was released in July 1977, and was ironically sponsored by the Cigarette Manufacturers Association. In classic Air India style, it features our Maharajah, and a touch of humor consistent with his unique personality.
Bobby Kooka himself was a bon vivant, and enjoyed his smoke, so this is hardly surprising. What is amazing is the transformation of the image of the airline from one that prided itself in promoting smoking into one that promoted awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco.
This story does not end with smoking alone. Kooka himself was an avid hunter, and it is not surprising that in the early years the airline glorified this bloody sport.
In June 1969 the airline published it’s Shikar (hunting) poster
A product of the Air India art studio, this is an adaptation of an old Indian Miniature painting. This version shows our Maharajah on horseback, out for Shikar (hunting), and his attendant is spearing a tiger to death. At one time, Shikar was considered a royal sport. The Maharajah on Shikar made an appearance also on the cover of the January 1967 timetable.
There is another depiction of a hunt, on the cover of the June 1967 timetable. In perhaps the most unforgivable depiction of our maharajah, this one has him hunting using a long barrel rifle, and an innocent deer is the unfortunate victim. One cannot help but shed a tear at this sight. There is nothing sporting or manly about such a shameful act.
However, the airline did finally redeem itself. Kooka himself was closely associated with the World Wildlife Fund in his later years, and Air India released a series of posters encouraging protection of the animal species. Here are some of the wonderful creations that were to follow.
A series of advertisements and posters were prepared, and I must say the designs are outstanding. Alas, I have not seen any of them myself, but the booklet shown above has images of these. I am reproducing some of these posters below, starting with the teaser poster designed to arouse curiosity, and then on to a series of posters designed to run through the first year of operations. The booklet goes on the detail out other publicity measured the airline planned for the first year including press advertisements, direct mail, route maps, a series of four introductory brochures etc. All in all, an extremely well thought through and executed campaign.
You can download the pdf by clicking the link here Indian Airlines Corporation - Viscount.
“Agar firdous baroye zameen ast, hami asto, hami asto hami ast” – Amir-e-Khusru Dehluvi
(If there is paradise on earth, It is here, it is here, it is here).
The serene beauty of Kashmir has attracted visitors from far and wide. One of the oft-used symbols for India travel, just like the Taj Mahal, the Dal Lake and the Shikara (house-boat) epitomise all that is sublime about the valley. I recently came across these 1950s travel posters.
Clearly, the India Tourism office had issued these posters first, and also supplied copies to the airlines, who overprinted their names. Wonder if I come will come across examples of these posters used by other airlines.
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