Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu released the book titled “Indian Railway- The weaving of a National Tapestry” jointly authored by Bibek Debroy (Member, NITI Aayog), Sanjay Chadha (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce) & Ms. Vidya Krishnamurthi.
In addition, Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu also launched Hi-speed free Wi-Fi services for the visitors at National Rail Museum. Chairman, Railway Board, A.K. Mital, the three authors of the book, Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India and other Railway Board Members and senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Minister of Railways said that It is really an honour to release a book by authored by Bibek Debroy and his colleagues. This book is a great contribution for Indian Railways. We can shape the future of Indian Railways by linking the past through this book. Interest of organisation cannot be overlooked..We are working on how to revitalize the organisation. We are working for making Railways as an efficient organisation, modern and tech savvy. We need to take many steps at the same time. All issues ranging from HR, Environment, finance, technological up gradation are to be taken care of. Learning from the past and shaping the future should be our priority. This book would add lot of memories of Indian Railways. Referring to the WiFi services made available at National Rail Museum, Suresh Prabhu said that this will attract more visitors to the Museum
Bibek Debroy, Member NITI Aayog said that This book traverses the timeline from 1830-1947. The book is written in a storytelling manner. The book narrates some anecdotes of Indian Railways History. The cover of the book has a steam loco which used to haul meter gauge loco in Rajputana Malwa region. Readers can expect mirth reading this book. In the book some uncovered nuggets were chronicled which were not known to Public.”
Chairman Railway Board, A.K. Mittal said that this book on History of Indian Railways will be able to throw light on many hitherto unknown facts about Indian Railways.
The theme of this book is the historical development of railways in India, organized into chapters dealing with different periods of development in chronological order. It builds its foundations from periods prior to 1853, when the first commercial passenger railway was inaugurated; like the Red Hill Railways in the south, which were primarily captive freight systems.
The authors wanted to create a cross between an academic book (well written, but “dry and boring”) and a coffee table book (“light in text”). The outcome is a narrative built around a series of anecdotes of railway history, which manages to convey considerable amounts of information in a light, conversational manner. True to its mandate it does not bring this obsession to esoterica. The story begins with the early plans for building railways in the Indian sub-continent in the 1830s, continues with the debates in the 1840s and the advent of the railways in the 1850s and 1860s. The penultimate chapter, which covers the period of consolidation and change during the 1870s onwards, is the most absorbing. The last chapter covers the period from the beginning of 20th century until Independence. The book is perhaps best characterised as Indian Railway History – An anecdotal version.
While some information is quite well documented elsewhere, but the last chapter which commences from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards provides valuable nuggets of information on diverse topics, including early movies with railway themes, stories behind the well-known railway booksellers A.H. Wheeler and Higginbotham’s; and the history of railway police forces.