The Mystery of Golden Age

My Musings / Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

A few days ago I was watching Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen after a long time. The first time I saw the movie few years ago, I missed on many references as I was not familiar with various characters portrayed in the movie. Then I did some research and saw the movie again. Now every time I watch Midnight in Paris I get some new information, I stumble upon new characters and new theories. One of the major theories the movie discusses is of the ‘Golden Age’. In the movie the main character considers the 1920’s in Paris as golden age where as a character from 1920’s considers 1890’s as a golden age. They both were right from their perspectives and there I started wondering what is the golden age exactly?? Along with this, too many questions started making home in my head. So I did what I always do in such situations… I googled it! After some not so easy research I was left wondering, why I did not catch on this earlier??

‘A Golden Age’ is a metaphor originated from the works of Greek and Roman poets. People usually use this term to discuss a specific period in time (specially in past) where the society and the people were happy, prospering and were enjoying a true utopia. If we get into proper definition, a golden age is always a great and prosperous time period which happened in the past. Almost all the cultures and societies around the globe have determined their ‘Golden Age’. This golden age works as a goal for them. They work towards obtaining progress and prosperity keeping the ‘Golden Age’ as example. Everyone dreams of living in that age and that is what drives them to be successful. That is used as the key of motivation in many societies.

If we consider the Indian scenario, we always here how India was a gold mine once and how chimneys in every house used to produce smoke of gold! Well gold or no gold, India surely had its ‘Perfect Golden Age’ once upon a time. Theoretically the period during 3rd and 6th century CE is considered as India’s ‘Golden Age’ by researchers. The period was ruled by the Gupta empire. The Indian peninsula prospered in various fields over this period. The root to many Indian philosophies can be found in this era. Many advancements were made in the fields of mathematics, science and literature. This is the period when Aryabhatta developed the concept of zero, Kalidasa wrote Shakuntala, Vatsyayana developed Kama Sutra, Aryabhatta made ground breaking theories on astronomy and in this period chess is believed to be originated in.

That’s why even today many Indian scholars, politicians discuss the ‘Golden Age’ in their speeches, many films have dialogues referring to this golden age and students still write essays narrating the beauty and prosperity India once had.

But again in reference to Midnight in Paris, I realized that not only societies or cultures but people, individuals, also have their own ‘Golden Age’. If I get a chance to travel into past and live in my Golden Age, I would have two options: 1920’s and 1970’s in India. 1920’s was a period of revolution, fighting and taking back whats rightfully ours from the Britishers. I personally believe that 1920’s are the center point of Indian Freedom Struggle. As India witnessed many great freedom fighters in that decade I would definitely be proud to travel back in that era and fight for our freedom along side Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Nehru, Azad and Jinnah. Considering my second option of 1970’s, I believe that it was the most happening decade after independence till date. The 70’s had war, emergency, extreme political change, rise of regional powers, era of bell bottoms and of course Amitabh Bachchan! It was a life of struggle, unpredictability and yet peace and monotony. The 1970’s would give a perfect mixture of boring and exciting life at the same time. Just like pouring hot chocolate sauce of cold vanilla ice-creme (I know the analogy is a stretch, but it fits perfect!).

As I have two Golden Ages in my mind to go back to, how many do you have? And why would you choose that era??


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