Common names in India and Bangladesh

We have already looked at places in India and Pakistan with the same or very similar names.

A few such combinations can be found in India and Bangladesh.

The most well known would be Jamalpur in Bihar and Jamalpur Town in Bangladesh:

The different names date from before Partition. Perhaps the Railway Board was more strict about avoiding duplication of names.

Going to lesser-known places:

The latter was built recently on the line from the Bangabandhu Bridge to Joydebpur and Dhaka.

Nawabganj near Ayodhya in UP and the larger Chapai Nawabganj in Bangladesh.

This is in MP, between Itarsi and Bhopal

The one in Bangladesh is probably more important.

Similarly, this station in Assam is quite small. It is between Badarpur and Karimganj. The sign in in Bangla and not Assamese as the former is the local language here. This picture was taken some years ago before it was converted from MG to BG.

While this brand-new station, also called Bhanga, is set to become a major junction in Bangladesh. It is south of Faridpur and near the new Padma bridge.

Next we come to a new station in Tripura:

The town of Belonia, like Hili, spreads over India and Bangladesh.

Earlier there was a branch from Feni to Belonia on the Bangladesh side, but it closed a few decades ago.

Finally, the notorious station of Hili in Bangladesh which is right on the border with India:

It will be connected to Balurghat in the near future. The IR station will be different from the BR station shown above.

Daulatpur Chowk, recently opened in Himachal Pradesh:

Daulatpur near Khulna:

This station near Kolkata is now closed and will be replaced by a metro station:

While its counterpart in Dhaka is on the main line going east, and has many important trains stopping there:

Review of England-New Zealand Tests-1

Here we look at the figures relating to Tests between these teams, after England won 3-0 in 2022.

First, a summary of all Test results:

As NZ was a weak team for a long time, England leads by a large margin. There have been a few 3-0 sweeps in the past. NZ has done a little better at home. They have won a few series at home and away.

We now proceed to individual performances:

Most runs (750 and above):

JE Root now has the most runs (1388) in E v NZ Tests. Next is GA Gooch with 1148.

Among current NZ players, KS Williamson has the most runs (853) which is far behind JG Wright’s record of 1518.

The most centuries are 5 by MD Crowe, and the most fifty-plus scores are 11 by Wright and R Taylor.

Highest innings scores (150 and above):

The highest scores in this series were 190 by DJ Mitchell and 176 by JE Root, far behind the triple centuries of Hammond and J Edrich. Hammond’s 336* was a world Test record (surpassing Bradman’s 334) until Hutton overtook it with 364 in 1938.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings and 35.00):

Cowdrey leads by a large margin. Root (49.57) and Williamson (37.08) have the highest averages among current players.

Highest strike rate (Minimum 1000 balls faced and 45.00):

McCullum leads by a large margin. Next is Stokes with 63.32. The highest by a current NZ player is 49.43 by Mitchell.

Bowling-most wickets (30 and above):

Sir Richard Hadlee leads with 97, and current player Broad is next with 84. Boult (70) has the most by a current NZ player. He is in the fourth position after Anderson (74).

Hadlee has the most 5wi (8), and Underwood the most 10wm (3).

Best innings bowling (including all 7wi):

No major innings hauls in this series, although Anderson and Broad have done well in the past.

Best match bowling (including all 10wm and above):

There was one ten-for by MJ Leach in this series.

Best bowling average (Minimum 2000 balls bowled, all instances):

DL Underwood leads by a large margin. TA Boult has the best among current players, followed by Anderson, Broad and others.

Underwood has the best bowling average, economy rate and strike rate. The second-best are Willis, Illingworth and Caddick respectively.

To be continued.

T20Is between India and Ireland

A total of 5 such matches have been played between these teams:

India has won all 5 of them, including the first one in 2009 which was part of the T20 World Championship.

Most of these matches were one-sided, apart from the one on Jun 28.

A quick look at major statistical achievements:

Most runs (80 and more):

Newcomer DJ Hooda has the most runs. HT Tector also did well among newcomers, and has the most runs for Ireland.

Highest innings (60 and more):

Hooda leads here as well, surpassing RG Sharma again. Tector again has the highest score for Ireland.

Most wickets (4 and more):

YS Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav lead here.

Best innings bowling (3wi and more):

Zaheer Khan still leads with his figures from the first match. From this series the best was Adair’s 3-42 in the last match.

Most dismissals (3 or more):

Four players have 3 dismissals each, Dhoni and Tucker as keepers with Dockrell and Thompson as non-keepers.

Most innings dismissals (2 and more):

Thompson and Tucker have 3 dismissals apiece, which are the highest for non-keepers and keepers respectively.

All-round (20 and 2wi in the same match):

The only instance is by MR Adair in the last match, though it was not enough to win.

Quick quiz: Places in South Asia

(Answers are given below the respective questions)

The best response was by Debatra Majumdar.

  1. What connects these places? (Hint: Think beyond the railways)

They were major air bases of the British and US air forces during WW2. Now they are disused. A few, like Kalaikunda, are still in use.

2. This may be simpler. It is easy to see what connects these places. Each of them corresponds to a station in India. Name them.




Benapole: Petrapole

Darsana: Gede

Biral: Radhikapur

Rohanpur: Singhabad

Chilahati: Haldibari

3. Each of these stations corresponds to a station in India. Name the latter.

Jassar: Dera Baba Nanak

Wagah: Atari

Zero Point: Munabao

(Note: Zero Point is now called Marvi. No picture with this board could be found).

4. This used to be an important junction in Pakistan’s Punjab, and is close to India’s border. What was it called in the 1940s? Hint: think of a place where the Dalai Lama stays most of the time.

Macleodganj Road Jn, listed in timetables of the 1940s. The Dalai Lama stays in Mcleodganj, near the town of Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh.

5. This station used to be on the NWR. But is neither in India nor Pakistan. Where is it?

Iran. This is between the Pakistan border and Zahidan. (Is the board in Farsi?)

6. This junction is for the branch to Pakistan’s northern-most terminus. Name the latter.

A branch from Taxila Cantt runs to Havelian, presently the northern-most station open in Pakistan. It is the railhead for Abbottabad. Earlier the northern-most station was Dargai on a branch from Nowshera.

7. This abandoned station was on the line connecting cities in India and Pakistan. Name them.

This is Ranbirsinghpura, the last station in India on the Jammu-Sialkot line which closed in 1947. Suchetgarh was the last station in Pakistan, although the village of that name seems to be in India.

8. What is special about this minor station in Bangladesh?

Dohazari is on a branch from Chittagong. It was built in the 1920s as the first stage of a line to Burma. No further progress was made.

9. This is a station in India. What is unusual about it?

This station is in India. Earlier there was a station with the same name in Bangladesh. The town extends over both countries.

10. What is common between these stations in different parts of Bangladesh?


Hili and Quasba are in Bangladesh but very close to the Indian border.

The Bandhan Express to Khulna

As you know, there are three pairs of trains running between India and Bangladesh: The Bandhan Express between Kolkata and Khulna, the Maitree Express between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantt, and the Mitali Express between New Jalpaiguri and Dhaka Cantt.

Of these, only the Bandhan Express has an exact counterpart from before Partition. This was known as the Barisal Express which ran between Sealdah and Khulna. The railway has not reached Barisal (now Barishal) yet, though this may happen in the near future.

The Barisal Express of 1944 is covered here;

That was running between 2017 and 2020, and has restarted in 2022. The main details are here:

Note that the rake has 4 AC-1 and 4 AC chair coaches and no other passenger coaches. In general, Indian rakes and Bangladeshi rakes are used on alternate days.

An IR diesel (normally a Howrah WDM-3D) hauls the train between Kolkata and Benapole, which is about 2 km beyond the border. A BR diesel (normally an Ishurdi WDM-3A) takes it onward to Khulna. The track is electrified up to Bangaon, so an electric loco could have been used up to there.

The timetables showing all intermediate stations:

13129 Kolkata-Khulna:

Note the stoppages at Petrapole, Benapol and Jessore

13130 Khulna-Kolkata:

The stoppages are the same.

A few pictures of stations on the Bangladesh side:


Joshore (Jessore) Jn


It can be seen that even in large stations, most boards may be only in Bangla.

World record defeat in first-class cricket

Mumbai beat Uttarakhand by 725 runs in the Ranji quarter-final which concluded today:

This is the highest margin of defeat by runs in all first-class matches, surpassing the 685 runs margin for NSW v Qld in 1929-30 at Sydney. The existing records can be seen here:

Note that the 675-run margin for England vs Aus in 1928-29 at Brisbane is next on the list.

It can be seen that the Mumbai team included only two (fringe) international players in Prithvi Shaw and Dhawal Kulkarni. The main scorers and wicket-takers are relatively unknown.

In fact, the cricket grounds at Alur are situated at a rather remote part of greater Bengaluru, near Chikkabanavara:

Long station names in Kerala

Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have a well-deserved reputation for long place names, which I have covered here earlier. Another interesting point noticed by one of my friends is the unconventional Devanagiri fonts used in station signs in parts of South India.

Here is a random sample of station signs in Kerala. They have varying Devanagari fonts. Transliteration into Hindi is not always correct.

The longest station names in Kerala would probably be these two:

The capital:

And this smaller place:

A few more at random:

Alappuzha was earlier called Alleppey, which is uncomfortably close to Aleppo in Syria.

In the above two cases, “South” has been transliterated into Hindi while “East” has been translated.

(This is close to Tamil Nadu, so Tamil also appears).

And finally a short one.

Veli is accompanied by Kochuveli or “Small Veli”. However, Kochuveli station is a terminus and much larger than Veli station.

Hindi purists would note that sometimes the script used is not “standard”.

The strange case of the AGMUT cadre

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) are the two most important wings of the India’s civil services. Here we look into the oddities in the state cadres which apply to these services. Everyone in the IAS or IPS is allotted to one of these cadres and does not move to another cadre under normal circumstances:

In Zone-1 we see AGMUT and in Zone IV we see Assam-Meghalaya.

The latter is simpler to understand, particularly as Meghalaya was part of Assam until the latter became a full-fledged state in 1972. In this cadre, one can be posted to any place in Assam or Meghalaya. (Since Assam is much larger than Meghalaya, one is likely to spend more time in the former than the latter).

In the AGMUT cadre, one can be posted anywhere in Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram or any of the Union Territories (UTs). At the time of writing in mid-2022, the UTs are:

There have been states were earlier UTs, UTs which were earlier states, and UTs which have been amalgamated. Some, like Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura are full-fledged states which have their full-fledged state cadres.

The UTs of Daman & Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have been merged in 2020.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir was split into the UTs of (Jammu and Kashmir) and Ladakh in 2019.

Jammu and Kashmir had its state cadre, but no recruitment has been made to it since 2019. Presently the officers posted there are mainly from the old J & K state cadre, though AGMUT officers are now being posted there.

In case you are wondering, Arunachal, Goa and Mizoram were UTs for some years and the services were clubbed with the other UTs as they were probably not large enough to justify a separate state cadre.

Thus, officers posted in Delhi who annoy their bosses may find themselves abruptly transferred to Arunachal or Ladakh, which happened in mid-2022 when it was alleged that their dog-walking took up facilities meant for others.

There are precedents for this. During the Emergency of 1975-77, Navin Chawla was one of the officials who was closely associated with the beautification of Delhi and the accompanying excesses. The new government promptly sent him to Lakshwadeep, which was the most remote and unimportant place he could be sent to.

Another person whom I knew was generally not on good terms with politicians and seniors. He thus found himself being moved from Delhi to Puducheri to Goa, and was then “put away” as Chief Secretary of the Andamans and finally retired in a post in the Delhi government which had little work.