US leaders and Indian namesakes

You would know the old jokes about Seshappa Iyer and Sheikh Pir who moved to 16th-century Britain and became famous playwrights.

These got a fresh lease of life when Al Gore was Vice-President and later Presidential aspirant, for he had a connection in Maharashtra:

who was associated with this place:

And his wife “Tipper” Gore clearly had some connection with Tippu Sultan.

The combination of Bill and Hillary was known as Billary, which fits in well with the renamed Bellary:

Later, Barack Obama became President. He visited India more than once but did not visit this place:

Perhaps he had visited Barrackpore in Trinidad. That is the birthplace of cricketer Darren Ganga.

Trump and Pence did not have any ready-made jokes like this. There is more scope for PJs now, starting with the former VP and new President:

This is west of Prayagraj.

The new Vice-President has numerous places fitting her name, like this one:

This is near Kadapa (Cuddapah) in Andhra Pradesh.

The surname Harris can be matched to the Muslim male name of Haris.

The venerable 80-year old Speaker of the House also has a place name in India, known for a decisive 18th-century battle:

Dead Centre

A continuation of “Go West, young man”

There are 5 large stations in India with the suffix “Central”:

Strarting with the northernmost, we then move down to:

Where the word Central is transliterated to Hindi and Marathi.

It may not be commonly known that the local station existed before the terminus was opened in 1930. It was earlier called Bellasis Road.

Down the west coast to:

In Hindi and Kannada here.

Further along the coast to:

While the top inscription looks like a single word, it does include “central” transliterated into Malayalam.

And finally to

Which is now

Has the Tamil inscription for Central changed? In the old sign it follows the trend of transliteration from English. In the new sign the correct (?) term “Mattiya” is the first word of the 3rd line, while the Hindi sign is like all the others. (Though one character in the old sign looks quite odd).

There is also a Metro station in Kolkata called Central:

Where Central is transliterated into Bengali.

Onwards to East, South and North.

Long quiz-Sep 2020

  1. What is special about this station?

2. What is special about the BG siding here?

3. What is unusual about these two station signs? Explain.

4. What additional language is on this sign?

5. This is often labelled as “Nawab Station”, although no such name is in the timetable. Which station is this?

6. With luck, you may be able to get tuna at Tuni station. But there was another station called Tuna in the past. In which present-day state is it?

7. Bengali travelers can try to get fish at this station restaurant. Which state or province is it in?

8. Many clocks at stations and other public places were supplied by P. Orr & Sons of Madras. This small station is far from Madras. In which state?

9. Consider these two pairs of stations:

9A

and 9B:

What do the pair in 9A have in common with the pair in 9B?

10. What is unusual about this station which is not in India?

11. This shows the abandoned station which used to be a ferry terminal as well as being adjacent to a zonal headquarters until the mid-60s. Name it.

12. The fate of Dhanushkodi is well known. But you can still see the remains of it. A small terminus in the North-East was less fortunate as it fell into the Brahmaputra after an earthquake in the 1950s. Which was it?

ANSWERS:

The best response was by Biswarup Basu. Honourable mention to Ganesh Iyer and Bharat Parashar:

  1. Kot Kapura is the northern most point of metre gauge in India. It was connected by MG to Bathinda and Fazilka, which are to its south.
  2. The Tirap siding is beyond Ledo, and is the eastern most point of IR in India. BG goods trains run there. Further east there is the abandoned MG line to Lekhapani. There are also non-IR industrial lines nearby.
  3. The normal practice is to have the state’s official language on top. In Nagaland (Dimapur) and Mendipathar (Meghalaya), English script is used for official purposes so it is on top.
  4. Dogri language, which is one of the 22 official languages.
  5. This is a part of Rampur station (between Bareilly and Moradabad in UP). This platform had been used for the royal train of the Nawab of Rampur. The dilapidated platform and coaches are probably still there.
  6. In Gujarat, on an abandoned portion of the Cutch State Railway.

7. Balochistan, at the foot of the Bolan Pass going to Quetta. This station, like Karjat, is the base for banking locomotives for uphill trains.

8. Madhya Pradesh, on the Kota-Bina section.

9. These are connected with unusual gauges which were not used anywhere else on IR. The Arconum-Conjeevaram line was initially constructed with 3’6″ and was soon converted to metre gauge, and finally to broad gauge more recently. The Azimganj-Nalhati section was initially constructed with 4’0″ and was soon converted to broad gauge. This loco was converted at the same time and can still be seen at the National Rail Museum.

10. Quasba (Kamalasagar until the late 40s) is in Bangladesh on the main line from Akhaura to Chattogram. It is practically on the border with India and trains can easily be observed from the Indian side.

11. Pandu, on the south bank of the Brahmaputra. A ferry service from Aminigaon ran there until the mid-1960s. The NF zone headquarters was initially here and later moved to Maligaon.

12. Saikhowa Ghat, on a branch from Makum. This branch now terminates at Dangari.

 

If at first you don’t succeed……

 

You may aspire to winning a Nobel Prize. But you may have to be satisfied with an Ig-Nobel Prize.

And there is at least one person who won an Ig-Nobel Prize before getting a Nobel Prize a decade later:

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

especially this bit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Geim#Ig_Nobel

Similarly, if you cannot reach Singapore during the lockdown you can go to:

This place in Odisha was once listed as Singapore Road. Later it became Singapuram Road before settling on its present name.

If you cannot reach Kuala Lumpur, there is

This is in the hills of southern Assam.

If you want to visit the capital of New Zealand, there is

in the Nilgiris. Both are named after the same person.

Riga is the capital of Latvia in Europe. For this we have one in Bihar:

This Riga was of some interest to steam enthusiasts, as you can see above.

If you wish to venture further to Dundee in Scotland, there is

near Jabalpur in MP.

Not sure if you really want to go to Accra in Ghana. For that, we have this place near Kolkata:

A smaller country in Africa is called Guinea-Bissau. For that we have Bissau in Rajasthan:

However, you have to draw the line somewhere. If you are going to Jakarta and you are sent to this place instead, you should not accept it.

This is in one of the more remote parts of Uttarakhand, where the Special Frontier Force roams. Even the elite troops of the Mukti Bahini trained here in 1971.

 

Common names in India and Pakistan

The two Hyderabads are well known:

Older timetables mention these as Hyderabad (Deccan) and Hyderabad (Sind). I could not find pictures of these older signs.

Then there is Gujarat state in India and this place in Pakistan’s Punjab:

Sheikhpura in Bihar and in Pakistan’s Punjab:

Here the one in Pakistan is more important, as it has held Test matches.

You should also know that this is where Shakepeare is from. Do not believe the Tamilians who say he was Seshappa Iyer.

Kartarpur in India’s Punjab and Pakistan’s Punjab:

The latter one is the one which is more famous now.

Kutch district in India and Babar Kachh in Baluchistan:

Now the outskirts of Delhi and the outskirts of Lahore:

At the end, we have Ziro in Arunachal and Zero Point in Sind. The latter has been renamed Marvi more recently.

Afterthought: Gadra Road station on the way to Munabao used to serve Gadra town in Sind about 15 km away across the border.

Matching station names: India and distant countries

A few examples of stations with the same names in India and distant countries:

Wellington in India, and the capital of New Zealand:

Salem in India and in Oregon, USA. Could not get a suitable picture for Salem in MA.

Riga in Bihar and the capital of Latvia:

Riga is covered in more detail here: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/railfanning-in-riga/

This is not exhaustive but just a few samples. For instance, there is Runneymede station in the Nilgiris which has counterparts in Britain and other Commonwealth countries*.

There are more examples from India and neigboring countries.