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India Junction: A Window to the Nation Hardcover – Unabridged, 6 Jun 2014
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The first section contains 10 essays by 8 different authors, including some very illustrious names. The first contribution is from Sir Mark Tully, who writes on the early railways of India with much erudition. This is followed by another essay with a historical perspective from the pen of the eminent historian Ian J. Kerr. Other notable contributions in this section are an essay on the hill railways of India by Gillian Wright and the connection of railways and Bollywood presented by Jerry Pinto.
The second section on travelogues begins with Ruskin Bond’s piece on the arrival of the first train at Dehra Doon (then spelt as Deyra Dhoon). The descriptions are so detailed and vivid that one can believe that the author was present on that occasion – but for the fact that the event took place in the year 1900, more than 30 years before his birth! The other notable travelogues are by Omair Ahmad who describes his journey from New Delhi to New Jalpaiguri, and Shoba Narayan who recalls her experiences with food from different parts of the country, that she had tasted while travelling by train during her childhood. Premola Ghose has contributed a travelogue on Kangra Valley Railway, in which she wrongly mentions a “small metre gauge track” – KVR actually runs on a narrow gauge (762 mm) track. In fact, as Gillian Wright has rightly pointed out in her essay in the first section, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the only hill railway which runs on metre gauge track – it also has a rack and pinion arrangement, which is unique in the country.
The last section on photographs presents 4 photo-essays on different aspects of Indian Railways. Apart from the photographs in this section, the book is profusely illustrated by a varied collection of coloured and black & white photos.
The book is well designed and printed on high quality paper. On the whole, as the jacket says, this book “will interest readers of all hues: students of history, travel buffs, and everyone who loves a good railway yarn.”