Showing posts from December, 2013

National Railway Museum

The railways were first introduced in the Indian subcontinent from Bombay to Thane, a modest 34 km journey. In 1951, the railway system was nationalised as one unit, known today as the Indian Railways, becoming one of the world's largest networks. Today, Indian Railways is the world's ninth largest commercial or utility employers, by number of employees. Hence, it would not be wrong to say that India has had a rich railway heritage. 

The static exhibition of railway relics began in the late nineteenth century when items from the early days of the railways were put aside, rather than being discarded or sold as scrap. To such men goes the credit for the preservation of early railway history. The first museum devoted purely to the railways is said to be that of Hamar, in Norway as it was set up in 1896. John Westwood in his book Railway Preservation writes, "One of the world's most beautifully situated museums. Its collections include documents, pictures, track and signal…

ON AIR: The HAL Museum

As India emerges as one of the fastest growing aviation sectors worldwide, the absence of dedicated aviation museums in India are a huge disappointment. India's aviation history goes back to 1932 when J.R.D. Tata, flew an airplane from Karachi to Bombay. Hence, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum in Bangalore is a pleasant surprise for an aviation enthusiast. The HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum is open for the general public and also permits photography at very minimal costs.

The unique museum was formulated by Dr. Krishnadas Nair, the then chairperson of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, one of Asia's largest aerospace companies. It was formally inaugurated on August 30, 2001. Through meticulous descriptions and carefully illustrated exhibits, the museum narrates the tale of India's aviation progress and in particular, maps the growth and progress of HAL. The museum, with its extensive collection of aircrafts and two mock-ups,…

Book Review: Randamoozham

Book: Randamoozham

Author: M.T. Vasudevan Nair

ISBN: 9788122608311

Pages: 300

The Mahabharata defines the Indian literary sphere. As an introductory statement in the original Sanskrit version states: "The tree of the Bharata (Mahabharata) inexhaustible to mankind as the clouds, shall be a source of livelihood to all distinguished poets." In hindsight, one realises the truth in such a prophetic statement made by Vyasa. While the Mahabharata has had multiple retellings and interpretations in Indian languages, in Malayalam, the Mahabharata finds a perspective in Bhima, the mightiest of the Pandavas. 

Randamoozham begins from the point where Krishna is not such a revered figure but a local king who failed to take revenge on Jarasandha and instead uses Bhima to seek revenge. We have known him as the second Pandava, the mightiest of the five, unequaled in wielding the mace, a fine general in war, a ruthless adversary, a fierce warrior who made every one afraid by his very presence. Her…