We wish you a happy new year in 19 languages-via Google Translate

It is that time of the year where we take stock of how far Google Translate has progressed.

Here we take the phrase “We wish you a happy new year” and see what comes out in all the 11 Indian languages now available, besides a few other world languages. See how accurate the translations are.

There seems to be  improvement in some Indian languages such as Bengali and Hindi. Other languages such as German seem to be better served.

We wish you a happy New Year!

In various Indian languages:
Bengali: আমরা আপনাকে একটি শুভ নববর্ষ চান
Gujarati: અમે તમને એક હેપી ન્યૂ યર માંગો
Hindi: हम आपको एक नया साल मुबारक इच्छा
Kannada: ನೀವು ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ನ್ಯೂ ಇಯರ್ ಬಯಸುವ
Malayalam: ഞങ്ങൾ നിങ്ങൾക്ക് ഒരു ഹാപ്പി ന്യൂ ഇയർ നേരുന്നു
Marathi: आम्ही आपल्याला एक नवीन वर्षाच्या शुभेच्छा
Nepali: हामी तपाईं सुखी नयाँ वर्ष इच्छा
Punjabi: ਸਾਨੂੰ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਇੱਕ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਨਿਊ ਸਾਲ ਚਾਹੁੰਦੇ
Tamil: நாங்கள் உங்களுக்கு ஒரு இனிய புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்
Telugu: మేము మీరు ఒక హ్యాపీ న్యూ ఇయర్ అనుకుంటున్నారా
Urdu: ہم آپ کو ایک نیا سال مبارک ہو چاہتے ہیں

And other languages:

Arabic: نتمنى لكم سنة جديدة سعيدة
Chinese (simplified): 我们祝你新年快乐
French: Nous vous souhaitons une bonne année
German : Wir wünschen Ihnen ein frohes neues Jahr
Latin: Optamus tibi felix novi anni
Portuguese: Desejamos-lhe um Feliz Ano Novo
Russian: Мы желаем вам счастливого нового года
Spanish: Le un Feliz Año Nuevo deseamos

People born on December 25

To begin with, Jesus Christ’s real birth date is not known. It is generally understood that he was born between 6 BC and 3 BC. Even Pope Benedict XVI has written on these discrepancies:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/22/pope-benedict-disputes-jesus-date-of-birth/

Numerous articles can be seen on the net which mention that his birth was not in the year 1 BC or 1 AD, there being no zero year used by historians. 1 BC was followed by 1 AD. (However astronomers do have a zero year between 1 BC and 1 AD.) For all these details see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0_%28year%29

Anyway, it is interesting to see that a number of prominent figures in recent South Asian history were born on December 25. The link below is useful for locating famous people born on your birthday and even on the same day and year when you were born.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_25#Births

1861: Madan Mohan Malaviya

1876: Muhammad Ali Jinnah

1924: Atal Behari Vajpayee

1949: Nawaz Sharif

(There was a time when the Indian and Pakistani PMs shared the same birthday)

But it would be fair to say that this scientist and mathematician was the most influential of those born on December 25:

1642: Isaac Newton*

From other walks of life we have actors, film-makers and musicians:

1899: Humphrey Bogart

1919: Naushad Ali

1936: Ismail Merchant

1949: Sissy Spacek

1970: Nagma

Sportspersons:

1891: Clarrie Grimmett

1975: Marcus Trescothick

1984: Alastair Cook

Politicians:

1916: Ahmed Ben Bella

1918: Anwar Sadat

1971: Justin Trudeau

Miscellaneous:

1887: Conrad Hilton

1890: Robert Ripley

* It has been pointed out that Newton was born on 25 December 1642 according to the Old Style or Julian calendar then used in England. It should be 4 January 1643 according to the New Style or Gregorian calendar now in use. See if this makes things clearer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton#cite_note-OSNS-1

 

Man of the moment-Kirti Azad

Kirti Azad is not the only Indian international cricketer to have entered politics-but his impact on cricket may well have been more than that of more distinguished players who went into politics (e.g. Navjot Sidhu, Chetan Chauhan and Azharuddin).

He was born into a political family-his father Bhagwat Jha Azad was a freedom fighter and was briefly a Congress CM of Bihar in 1988-89. In contrast, Kirti is now a third-term MP of the BJP, presently representing Darbhanga. This is what the Lok Sabha website has to say:

http://164.100.47.192/Loksabha/Members/MemberBioprofile.aspx?mpsno=25

But we now concentrate on his relatively undistinguished cricketing career which nevertheless had some high points. We start with the Cricinfo player page:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/26325.html

As you can see, Cricinfo does not think he is important enough to rate a photograph.

It can be seen that he played 7 Tests with a top score of 24 and best bowling of 2-84. By some criteria one could consider him among the worst Test players of all time, since there might be only a handful of players who played that many Tests without scoring above 30 or taking a 3-for.

His main contribution to Indian cricket was in the 1983 World Cup, where he played a small supporting role in most of the matches-but came good when it was needed in the semi-final against England:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/65088.html

He took a miserly 1-28 off 12 overs (while Mohinder Amarnath took 2-27).

The one wicket he took was that of Botham.

Old-timers would remember how he almost single-handedly won a match against Pakistan-which was not an official ODI or even a List A match:

http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/141/141520.html

In domestic FC cricket he had a fairly impressive record, more as a batsman (20 centuries) than a bowler (5 fivers, no tenner).

But he seemed to have some strange power over England’s batsmen. His two best bowling analyses were against touring MCC teams. His best innings figures of 7-63 and match figures of 9-134 came in 1981-82 when he was still in contention for Tests and ODIs:

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1980S/1981-82/ENG_IN_IND/ENG_PRES-XI_17-19NOV1981.htm

Much later, long after he had played his last match for India, he took 6-30 for Delhi against the ill-fated 1992-93 MCC team:

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1992-93/ENG_IN_IND/ENG_DELHI_03-05JAN1993.html

This was one of the last FC matches he played.

Anyway, the contest between a BJP backbencher and top leader is likely to generate enough heat and light in the days to come.

Update: As expected, Kirti Azad was suspended from the BJP on disciplinary grounds on Dec 23, 2015.

Later he joined the Congress, but lost in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

 

 

The Satpura Railway still exists!

Note: This was written in December 2015 and has not been updated.

In the last few months, there have been a number of articles in the popular media and rail fan groups regarding the demise of the network of narrow-gauge lines in Central India known as the Satpura Railway, now coming under the South East Central Railway.

If you were to take these articles seriously, you would imagine that these lines were being permanently closed down leaving this area without rail communication. They are, of course, being converted to broad gauge and this network has been gradually converted over the last decade. You can expect the conversion to be over within a couple of years.

Here we have an 1964 map of the then SER which shows all the NG lines long before Project Unigauge was even thought of.

SER 1964 001

Note the numerous NG branches all over the zone. However, the Raipur branches and everything east were not part of the Satpura system.

For the moment, however, there still exists one functioning narrow gauge line between Nagpur and Nagbhir which has three pairs of trains a day. This will also face the conversion axe sooner or later, but you can certainly travel there now. Thanks to local expert Alok Patel for this tipoff.

Here you can see the overall list of trains (from an official website, but errors are not impossible):

Nagpur-Nagbhir:

Nagpur Nagbhir

Nagbhir-Nagpur:

Nagbhir Nagpur

Here are the timetables for the first trains in either direction:

Nagpur-Nagbhir:

Nagpur Nagbhir TT

Nagbhir-Nagpur:

Nagbhir Nagpur TT

Note that the station of Moti Bagh was known for its narrow-gauge loco shed and other workshops (besides a small railway museum) but was not used for regular passenger services. I do not think it appeared in passenger timetables until now.

For instance, it is not there in the printed timetable of 2014. That shows the first train leaving from Nagpur at 05.55. The second train given above is shown at Itwari at 10.10/10.15 and then at Nagpur at 10.45.

So the laments for the demise of the narrow gauge Satpura Railway were a little premature. Ride this 110-km route south of Nagpur while you can. There are also a few BG trains running through Nagbhir. These include an express between Chennai and Bilaspur (once weekly in each direction) and between Yesvantpur and Korba (twice weekly).

This map showing part of Nagpur may be helpful:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@21.1552413,79.1014885,15z

Incorporating a few comments received from my old friend Alok Patel:

“Conversion has been sanctioned for the NGP-NABN line but no serious allocations done yet. I suspect they will want to complete the main Satpura lines first since the Nagpur-Chhindwara-Jabalpur-Gondia network had surprisingly high traffic. Also note that the station code for Nagbhir Narrow Gauge has been changed to NABN to signify NG. The BG station must now be using the code NAB”

“I haven’t been to MIB for a long time now but the trains don’t start from MIB per se. They start from the MIB yard, go to NGP, reverse at NGP, go down the same route till the triangle at MIB where they stop to pick up passengers, bypass the MIB yard at the triangle and continue towards Itwari. I suspect the one kilometre or so long NGP-MIB stretch won’t stay operational for much more time, now that the key Chhindwara side traffic has ceased to exist.”

 

 

Spotlight on the Arakkonam airfield

Arakkonam (formerly Arkonam) is well known to railway followers because it is an important junction as well as electric loco shed, but has recently come into prominence because the inundation of Chennai airport caused some commercial flights to be operated from there. To be precise, this is the NAS (Naval Air Station) at Arakkonam which the Navy calls INS Rajali.

Most basic information can be seen here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Rajali

Although it started off as an IAF base in the 1940s, it was abandoned soon after WW2 and was reactivated for the long-range reconnaissance aircraft of the Navy during the late 1980s. The TU-142s and now the Poseidon P-8s have made good use of the 4.1 km runway which has been claimed to be the longest military runway in Asia.

Here you can see the locations of Chennai international airport (MAA), IAF Tambaram and INS Rajali marked with the small gold stars.

Chennai area

One can see that INS Rajali is about 50 km west of MAA, while IAF Tambaram is only 10 km away. At least there is no chance of a confused airline pilot landing his 747 at INS Rajali by mistake, though this has happened once at Tambaram in recent years.

Here is a closer view of INS Rajali:

INS Rajali

Though it is not very clearly shown, the railway line from Chengalpattu runs along the highway right by the boundary wall of the base. The Railways have been planning to electrify this section for a long time but the Navy have objected to the presence of the traction equipment being an obstacle to the flight path. Thus an alternative line is being built further from the airfield, but this seems to have dragged on for several years.

The diverted rail line was completed in mid-2019. EMU trains could now run all the way from Chengalpattu to Arakkonam. It was proposed to run circular EMU services on the Chennai-Chengalpattu-Arakkonam-Chennail in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.

This new line is not shown in this map.

This is not the first time that military airfields have been used a a backup. Sulur for Coimbatore and Avantipur for Srinagar are other examples. The inaugural flight of Jet Airways to Coimbatore did land at Sulur by mistake. Apart from the Saudia 747 which wrongly landed at Tambaram, there have been several incidents including a mid-air collision and another which totalled a DC-8 which were caused by the proximity of BOM to Juhu. More about these later.

With all these movements of heavy aircraft, it is fortunate that this airfield has not seen a major aviation accident yet. However, India’s experimental AWACS on an Avro frame did crash a few km away in 1999, apparently putting an end to DRDO’s efforts in that direction.

Lies, damn lies and statistics in cricket

It has been said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. And Test cricket is a good place to check this out.

After the conclusion of the India-South Africa series we ask Statsguru a few questions. The answers will not be what you expect.

Q1: Who is the best opening bowler in Tests in the 2010s?

A1: Consider all those who bowled at No 1 or 2 since 01 Jan 2010 and took at least 50 wickets while doing so, and rank them by their bowling averages.

Opening bowlers since 2010

Didn’t realize it was a spinner, did you?

Q2: OK, something more conventional. Who is India’s best opening bowler of all time?

A2: Consider all Indian bowlers who bowled at No 1 and No 2, and took at least 50 wickets while doing so. Rank them by their bowling averages.

India-opening bowler

Probably you should have seen that coming.

Q3: OK, but wasn’t Kapil Dev India’s greatest all-rounder?

A3: Let us consider all Indians who scored the double of 1000 runs/100 wickets, and rank by them by the difference between their batting average and bowling average. This measure is as good as any other means for ranking all-rounders.

India-allrounder

Well, you should have seen that one coming too.

It is up to you to decide how seriously you take these figures.

 

One year of this blog-some figures

After one year of this blog is over on December 4, 2015 it is interesting to look back at some of the statistical data which WordPress collects. This data is normally available only to the blog creator, but it may be of some interest to my regular readers.

In this one year there have been 170 blogposts (excluding this one), 17,841 views and 11,289 viewers.

That works out to approximately 0.5 posts, 49 views and 31 viewers every day.

Here are the most popular posts (i.e. the ones with the most viewers):

Blog-1 year subject

Next to the “Home Pages/Archives” which accounts for 28.1 % of the views, the most popular post is “Famous Indian trains of the past and what happened to them (Part 1)” which accounted for 442 views or about 2.5 % of all views in the year. In general the posts connected to the Indian railways seem to have been most popular, and a few about cricket and aviation have also been popular. The last one seen here is “More from the border from hell-1” which deals with the Indo-Bangladesh border at Hili – this accounted for 158 views or about 0.9 % of the total. All the posts which accounted for over 1 percent of views (178.41 and above) are listed above. You might like to read them now if you missed them earlier.

The most unpopular posts with the least views are “Onwards to the World T20 championship”- 5 views and “Billy Joel meets the dotcom bust”- also 5 views.

What may also be of interest is the country-wise breakup; although with VPNs and the like this data may not reflect the true locations of the readers. Here it is complete with a world map:

Blog-1 year country

The Indian total of almost 9600 accounts for 53.3 % of total views, followed by the US with almost 5000 (28.0 %) and the UK with just over 600 (3.4 %). Then we have other predominantly English-speaking countries, though Spain has shown a surge in the past few months. The UAE has just over 1%.

It would be interesting to know whether the readers in (say) Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland are from the Indian diaspora or “original” residents of these countries.

The countries which contributed exactly one view each (about 0.006% each) include Bulgaria, Vietnam, Montenegro, Kenya and Lithuania as well as a few tiny countries/territories such as the Bahamas, the Comoros, St Maarten, Reunion and St. Kitts & Nevis (perhaps the global equivalents of Jhumritilaiya)

 

Banihal and its tunnels

Banihal

This is the station at Banihal, a somewhat nondescript place but an important point on the way from Jammu to Kashmir. In the vicinity we have:

  1. The longest railway tunnel in India, which is likely to remain the longest in the foreseeable future.
  2. For the moment, the longest road tunnel in India though it is likely to lose this position some time in 2016, and
  3. In a few years, a new road tunnel which will be among the longest in India. It will replace the existing road tunnel.

Let us take a closer look at these. The Pir Panjal rail tunnel was opened for traffic in 2013 and links Banihal with Qazigund (though there is a smaller station at Hillal Shahabad just north of the tunnel). This tunnel is 11.2 km long. The next longest rail tunnel is the Karbude tunnel on the Konkan line which is a mere 6.5 km long.

More about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pir_Panjal_Railway_Tunnel

It may be noted that the distance by rail between Banihal and Qazigund is 17 km as compared to 35 km by road.

If you travel by road, you would cross the Jawahar Tunnel which at 2.85 km is the longest road tunnel functioning in India at the time of writing. It was opened in 1956. More about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawahar_Tunnel

This map gives an idea of the distance saved by the rail tunnel. Its ends are marked by the little gold stars.

Banihal rail

The long straight portion of road seen slightly to the right of centre marks the Jawahar tunnel.

However, that is not the end of the tunnel story for Banihal as a new road tunnel 8.45 km long is expected to be opened within a short time:

“New double road tunnel

Construction of a new 8.45 km (5.25 mi) long Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel started in 2011 to widen NH 1A to four lanes. It is a double tube tunnel consisting of two parallel tunnels – one for each direction of travel. Each tunnel is 7 metre wide tunnel and has two lanes of road. The two tunnels are interconnected by a passage every 500 metres for maintenance and emergency evacuation. The tunnel will have forced ventilation for extracting smoke and stale air and infusing fresh air. It will have state of the art monitoring and control systems for security.

The new tunnel’s average elevation at 1,790 m (5,870 ft) is 400 metre lower than the existing Jawahar tunnel‘s elevation and would reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km (9.9 mi). The new tunnel would also be less prone to snow avalanche as it will be at a lower elevation. The vehicles will have to pay toll tax to use the tunnel.

Most of the boring has been completed.”

This will probably be the third longest road tunnel in India, after the so called Patnitop bypass (9.2 km) in the Jammu region and the Rohtang tunnel (8.8 km) in Himachal Pradesh which are all likely to be functioning by 2017 if not earlier.

 

 

Update to the Lumding-Silchar line

This is an update to my earlier post of June 25-you may like to have a look at it first:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/bg-link-to-silchar-is-finally-ready/

As things turned out, our optimism was misplaced and the Commissioner of Railway Safety felt that the line was not fit for passenger traffic, although goods trains continued to run.

After all approvals, regular passenger services were formally inaugurated on Nov 21. The only passenger train on this section is a passenger train from Guwahati, which has  SL and unreserved class at the moment. It can be called a fast passenger as it has only one stop between Guwahati and Lumding.

Here are the timetables for these trains:

Guwahati-Silchar:

GHY SCL 001

Silchar-Guwahati:

SCL GHY 001

This also marked the resumption of direct trains between these cities, which had stopped since the early 1990s when the broad gauge reached Lumding. Prior to that there were two express trains, the 11/12 Barak Valley Express and the 201/202 Cachar Express running on this route. In Nov 1983 there were two other passenger trains on this route, one between Lumding and Badarpur and another called the Tripura Passenger, between Lumding and the then railhead at Dharmanagar.

It will be instructive to compare the timings of these trains from the Nov 1983 Bradshaw with the present timings.

Barak Valley TT

The broad gauge conversion and associated realignment (which shortened the route by about 16 km) has resulted in considerable speeding up-13 hours as compared to 17-19 hours in the past. Presumably these trains were hauled by YDM-4s at that time.

More trains can be expected on this route in the near future. Once the connecting lines to Agartala and elsewhere are completed, we can look forward to Rajdhani and Sampark Kranti Expresses as well.

 

 

Mitchell Johnson-a statistical tribute

Some interesting angles on Mitchell Johnson’s career as a bowler and all-rounder in Tests:

There have not been too many left-arm pace bowlers who lasted long in Tests. Here is a list of all 12 who took over 100 wickets:

MJ-1

Johnson is in third place here, having crept past Zaheer Khan in the course of the Perth test. He stands 5th out of 12 in the bowling averages. Now we come to something strange. He has the worst economy rate of 3.33 as well as the best strike rate of 51.1 among his fellow left-arm pacers.

Now we see how he compares with other Australian bowlers of all varieties-13 of whom have taken 200-plus wickets in Tests:

MJ-2

Note the inevitable omission of the Aus-ICC XI Test.

Here Mitchell is 4th in wickets taken, a little ahead of Brett Lee. His average of 28.40 is 10th in this list. As in the above table, his economy rate and strike rate are quite divergent. His economy rate of 3.33 is better than only that of Brett Lee. But his strike rate is the best at 51.1, a little ahead of McGrath and Lillee.

Considering his all-round ability: he did not reach the levels of the “next Miller” as his early 90s and 100 seemed to indicate, but he did achieve 2000-plus runs in addition to his 313 wickets.

Here we compare oranges with oranges, i.e. with other all-rounders who batted left-handed, bowled left-arm pace and crossed 2000 runs and 100 wickets:

MJ-3

Only four players in Test history fit these criteria, and Mitchell ranks 4th among them if you take the difference in batting and bowling averages.

Finally, we compare his figures to Australian all-rounders of all kinds who scored 2000 runs and 100 wickets:

MJ-4

Only 4 here-and not everyone would call Warne an all-rounder. Here Mitchell comes third, ahead of Warne.

Anyway let us wish him a happy retirement as he has retired from all international cricket as well as first-class cricket.

 

The Non-Government Railways of India in 1964, and what happened to them

Apart from the privately published Indian Bradshaw, there was the All-India Railway Timetable which, until 1976, provided information about all the zones of the Indian railway system. All the 9 zones (which existed from 1966) had individual timetables which were bound into a single volume, along with some other pages of general information.

I used to have a copy of the 1964 edition which had all the 8 zones existing then (as the SCR was yet to be created). There was a small section at the end titled “Non-Government Railways”. These lines were also covered in Bradshaw, but were scattered all over and not segregated into one section.

These were the non-government railways mentioned in 1964:

1) Dehri-Rohtas Light Railway

The Martin Burn lines:

2) Howrah-Amta Light Railway
3) Howrah-Sheakhala Light Railway
4) Arrah-Sasaram Light Railway
5) Futwah-Islampur Light Railway
6) Shahdara-Saharanpur Light Railway

The McLeod & Co lines

7) Burdwan-Katwa Light Railway
8) Ahmadpur-Katwa Light Railway
9) Bankura-Damodar River Railway

The Amta and Sheakhala lines were 2’0”, and all the others were 2’6”

Here is some information from a talk I had given in 2007. Some further developments have occurred since then which I have updated, but this information may not be fully accurate.

1) The Dehri-Rohtas Light Railway ran south from Dehri-on-Sone to Rohtas and later Tiura Pipardih; the last extension was in 1958. It was built by Octavius Steel, and later became part of the Sahu Jain group which also owned Rohtas Industries in Dehri-on-Sone.

It had considerable passenger and goods traffic, mainly stone and marble.

It closed in 1984 due to problems with the parent company, which went into liquidation. There is no apparent plan for revival or conversion.

Tail piece: In 2007, the Railways acquired the land of Rohtas Industries at Dehri-on-Sone which would be used for the Eastern Freight Corridor.

The Martin Burn Light Railways

2) & 3) The Howrah-Amta and Howrah-Sheakhala Light Railways were amongst the very few 2’0” lines in the plains. They carried an extensive suburban traffic for commuters into Calcutta-and may well have been the most heavily used narrow gauge lines in the world.

These lines originally ran from Telkul Ghat, but were running from Howrah Maidan in 1964. They were closed due to losses (and labour trouble) on 01-06-71.

The Howrah-Amta line was gradually converted to an electrified BG line over the years. It remains a single-track section. It can now be found in the SE suburban timetable, with several pairs of trains daily. It also included the branch from Bargachia to Champadanga which remains closed.

The Howrah-Sheakhala line was supposed to be converted, but there is not much progress even though the Railway Ministry was controlled by the Trinamul Congress for several years. This also includes a short branch from Chanditala to Janai, near Janai Road on the Howrah-Barddhaman chord.

4) The Arrah-Sasaram Light Railway, like the Dehri-Rohtas line, passed through rather backward areas. It connected the Patna main line with the Grand Chord.

It was closed on 15-02-78. Conversion to BG was started and has been completed by the late 2000s. It is now on the East Central Railway. Local services run between Ara (formerly Arrah) and Sasaram, including an intercity express between Patna and Bhabua Road.

5) The Futwah-Islampur Light Railway ran south from a point near Patna on the main line. It was closed on 01-02-86, and was converted to BG around 2000. It now sees a few passenger trains and even the superfast Magadh Express from New Delhi. This is also part of the East Central Railway. Futwah is now known as Fatuha.

6) The Shahdara-Saharanpur Light Railway was the only such line in North India. It had considerable commuter traffic into Delhi as well as goods traffic. It had a separate station at Shahdara which could be seen till the mid-80s.

This also fell victim to losses and closed on 01-09-70. However it was converted to BG in the late 1970s, probably due to the influence of one-time PM Charan Singh whose constituency Baghpat was on the route. It now forms part of the Northern Railway. After this the trains terminated at Delhi Jn rather than Shahdara. A small diversion was made at the northern end where the line now branches off at Tapri rather than Saharanpur itself.

It now carries several crowded passenger trains including DMUs and a Saharanpur-Delhi express (since extended to Farukhnagar off Garhi Harsaru). There is also a tri-weekly express between Haridwar and Ajmer. Although the line is not suitable for high speeds, it has sometimes been used as an emergency backup for trains like the Kalka Shatabdi.

The McLeod & Co Light Railways

7), 8) The Burdwan-Katwa and Ahmadpur-Katwa Light Railways continue to run as part of the ER. They were transferred on 01-07-67 and 01-04-66 respectively.

Ahmadpur features in the famous “jackfruit letter”.

NG services with railcars and diesels continued until recently, The former line had 5 pairs of trains daily. The entire line is now electrified and now sees 6 pairs of EMU trains in a day.

The Ahmadpur-Katwa line was closed for conversion to BG in the past year. BG conversion was completed by early 2018, although full services have not been restored. There is one pair of MEMU trains running between Ahmadpur and Katwa.

9) The Bankura Damodar River Railway ran from Bankura to Rainagar. It was handed over to the SER on 01-07-67.Conversion to BG was completed in the late 2000s and extended to Gram Masagram, adjacent to Masagram on the Howrah-Barddhaman section. DEMUs are running on this route.

Other “Non-Government lines” which existed after 1947:

The Port Trust BG lines in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Visakhapatnam were extensive but not part of the IR network. They never appeared in the timetables as they had no passenger traffic.

The NG lines around Murtazapur and Pulgaon are still owned by the Central Provinces Railway Company, but have been operated by the GIPR and then CR for many years. They appear in the main timetables, as they have done during the GIPR days.

Martin Burn had two lines which were not mentioned in the 1964 timetable:

The Barasat-Basirhat Light Railway closed on 01-07-55. It later became part of the Barasat-Hasnabad BG line of the ER which now has EMU services from Sealdah.

The Bukhtiyarpur-Bihar Light Railway was replaced by a BG line in 1962, which ran beyond Bihar Sharif to Rajgir. It now has several long-distance services including a section of the Shramjeevi Express from New Delhi and a passenger train from Howrah. The line has been extended south of Rajgir to Gaya via Tilaiya and Manpur, though only one pair of DMUs presently run on this route. It was part of the ER and is now in the ECR.

McLeod & Co had the Kalighat-Falta Light Railway which closed on 01-04-57. There is apparently no chance of revival.

References:

All-India Timetable of 1964 and current timetables.
The Great Railway Atlas by Samit Roychoudhury (2005 and 2010 editions)
Information about locomotives can be found in Indian Locomotives (Parts 3 and 4) by Hugh Hughes.

Gandhi and the shirts

Whatever the British rulers of India may have felt about Mahatma Gandhi, he had captured the imagination of the general public around the world. His shirt (or rather the lack of one) was a recurring theme. Here are a few examples.

A cartoonist from New Zealand created a cartoon described below:

Gandhi shirt

The only unfamiliar name may be Leon Blum, one of the prominent leaders of France in the 1930s.

In the 1930s, Hitler and his brown shirts as well as Mussolini and his black shirts were well known in Europe.

A less profiteering form of Gandhigiri explained his popularity among English liberals and prompted a verse in that Bible of the fashionable left, the New Statesman and Nation, that C.F. Andrews cited,

Hitler with his Brown Shirts, riding for a fall,

Mussolini with his Black Shirts, back against the wall,

De Valera with his Green Shirts, caring not at all,

Three cheers for Mahatma Gandhi, with no shirt at all.

By the time World War II came around, British soldiers had modified it to:

Mussolini with his Black Shirts, backs against the wall,
Hitler with his Brown Shirts, heading for a fall,
Churchill in his dress shirt dominates them all,
Three Cheers for Gandhi – no Shirt at ALL !!!!!!!!

This did show some affection for him-as the British working class were good at creating sarcastic songs about their enemies. Hitler and his associates would have been well aware of that:

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