Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gems From The 'Indian State Railways Magazine', (Late 1920s - Early 1930s)

The 'Indian State Railways Magazine'...

...was a travel periodical issued by the Publicity Dept. for railways in India in the 1920s and 1930s. The following are random selections from this remarkable magazine.

Appearing in the final phase of British rule, before World War II - and Independence - the tone is low key, as tourism was the prime focus. Aside from the requisite (and reprehensible) tiger shoot, and some swaggering advertising, the aspect is appreciative rather than exploitive. 

Master architects Lutyens and Baker, whose gigantic New Delhi scheme was inaugurated in 1931, are properly celebrated here, but without conspicuous imperialistic hubris, which is noteworthy.

The whimsical Delhi map, painted by the talented and witty wife of architect Arthur Shoosmith, is a rare gem of Roaring Twenties lightheartedness.

India itself is examined here, often from a backroads angle, so as to promote the resources of the railways' access first, but mostly in an exploratory vein, rather than one of advantage.

The magazine was obviously intended for the privileged traveler (though the price, at a few annas, was incredibly inexpensive), but the interest displayed for out-of-the-way points of interest, and the unapologetic realism therein, are certainly significant, as historic relics of the period.

(A few mementos, encountered on some of these occasionally weatherbeaten pages, are included.)

(Click on first photo for slideshow. All photo reproductions ©2015 by Brian Paul Bach / All rights reserved)

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