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Old 10th July 2010, 17:39   #16
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these pictures are just amazing, harit, thank you for sharing. do you also have information when and where they were taken?
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Old 12th July 2010, 13:33   #17
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As an aside you may try and watch the 1957 Hindi Movie - Naya Daur roughly translated to New Age.
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Old 31st July 2010, 20:56   #18
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Stefan,

Hope you are doing fine.

I understand from your first post that you are conducting your research on the development of urban-rural road transport in India in the first half of the last century. The subject of your reserach is very interesting and very niche. I imagine it will cover aspects of technologies suited to India's then socio-economic requirements, its infrastructure ( or lack of it in those times), microeconomics ( economic decision making by local commercial firms for entering road transport), political economy and decisions made by the British administration to manage/grow road transport. It will be very cross referential. And very interesting.

Apart from archival information derived from individuals, car clubs/car societies and commercial firms involved in providing road transport services at that time ( and some may not exist now), I think it might be a good idea, if you are so inclined, to contact :

1. Automobile manufacturers ( e.g., Tata Motors, {formerly TELCO}, Premier {former assemblers & makers of Fiat}, Hindustan Motors {makers of Morris Cowley-known as the Ambassador} and a few others

2. Government motor vehicle departments/transport departments/archives
( such as the UPSRTC - UP State Road Transport Corporation)

These two types of organisations might have archival information, although they might be very bureaucratic, unless you are able to sell your idea to them.

3. Vehicle testing institutions (e.g., VRDE, ARAI)/Army

Hope this helps.

I am inclined to think that you will get the most productive information from interested individuals who will share their personal information and insight into the dynamics of the motor industry and its gradual spread in the first half of the twentieth century in our country.

Do share with us your findings, as and when you deem fit.

Best wishes for your research. I will definitely like to know your progress.

Regards

Last edited by issigonis : 31st July 2010 at 20:57. Reason: Made a correction
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Old 2nd August 2010, 02:28   #19
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All of you are really awesome, thanks for these suggestions!

I watched Naya Daur as suggested by spitfire and yes, this story revolving around machines and motors is a really suitable popular contribution to this topic... I wonder how BR Chopra got the idea for this movie: did he take up a widespread phenomenon or was it an individual story, which suited his aim?

Also the suggestions by issigonis are very very good. Does any member of this forum know people of these or similar organisations that might be helpful? Or does anybody know of individuals who worked for one of these or other companies and is willing to share information with me? I would really appreciate any further information...
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Old 6th August 2010, 17:44   #20
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Stefan, After reading about your research interest, I was checking with my 80+ year old uncle of mine about his experiences being driven around in a car when he was a child.
My grandfather, a civil engineer by training (passed out of Guindy, Engg. college in 1919, Chennai), I discovered recently, had a passion for cars and driving. He got his very own Ford 4 door sedan with fabric top in 1934-35 for some 1000 odd Rupees, I am told. Apparently, he set out from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh to go to Lahore (present day Pakistan). They set out sometime in October/November apparently, went via Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh state), Bhubaneswar (Orissa/Odisha state), Calcutta (Kolkatta, West Bengal state), Gaya (Bihar state), Patna (Bihar state), Benares (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state) and on to Delhi. These are the places my uncle narrated. What I heard from him - "there was a cold wave sweeping North India...it got very cold. So cold that birds would die - hold it - and fall off flying" (though I dont get that falling bit). His point was made that it was terribly cold. So my Grandfather seated with a helper and my uncle in front, my grand mother, my very young father (perhaps toddler), his two sisters at the back, decided he should head back home.
On enquiring how they managed, he said it took over a month and they carried all provisions and lots of fuel, solution and rubber to fix punctures, etc. all hitched on the back of the car. Nothing on the roof as it was fabric. They would make stops to buy vegetables, pulses and cereals locally, cook and eat their meals before driving on. Now, I didn't get to what they did in the nights? Did they drive? Did they halt? Where would they halt? It is entirely possible, they would have got shelter in any stranger's yard or house on the way. I will check that next time.
Coming to the topic on hand - roads, I am told, there were thin strips of metaled roads. Many places they were only in the center. Hardly any traffic except for people and bullock carts. Most interestingly, my uncle mentioned that there were no road bridges to cross big rivers such as Krishna, Godavari (flowing through Andhra Pradesh) and Mahanadi (Orrisa). It seems there were trains and rail bridges. Apparently, there would be a siding with a spare wagon to load the car or such road vehicles, hitch it to a train and get across the other side. Given the sheer mad adoption of trains in UK and therefore India, perhaps rail networks were in place much before roads. The most well known example from recent days of a grand road network is the 'Golden Quadrilateral' project connecting 4 corners of India with 6-8 lanes highways, tolls, and all.
Interestingly, it is the Detroit automobile lobby that killed American rail road. Perhaps, the rail roads were in place much before the roads. In fact, I believe, it is only post war that their President Eisenhower had the Interstates constructed. I am not aware of your own Autobahn. Perhaps you can share that story.

But going back to my story and India, my uncle mentioned that they took the Grand Trunk road. Now, most big cities in India, viz.Chennai, Delhi, all have some GT road cutting these cities. I remember from my history that the foundation for Grand Trunk roads with trees that offered shade to walkers, were laid during 16th century under the rule of Sher Shah Suri (Sher Shah Suri - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). This link has some reference to old Indian road networks too. Check that out.

Before I close, I believe all this road related information can be interpreted better if looked at from a socio-cultural context. Consider the aspect of time. If you take the kind of recipe's that involve slow cooking, or even marriages in the past that went on for 14 days or about, laziness, relaxation, attitudes that indicate - who is in a hurry; what you have is a different perspective to travel. Some 1000 years back or older, it was considered sinful to travel the oceans. Very few Indians were explorers or conquerors, unlike Romans, Vikings, Sumerians, etc. There is this very interesting story of Roman horses and Space shuttle dimensions, which you must have heard of. Roads make an interesting subject to research on. Good luck.

P.S. I remember seeing a black & white picture of my teenaged father in the same Ford in my family album. If I get a chance I will find and share it.
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Old 6th August 2010, 19:06   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhuli View Post
Stefan, After reading about your research interest, I was checking with my 80+ year old uncle of mine about his experiences being driven around in a car ..................make an interesting subject to research on. Good luck.

P.S. I remember seeing a black & white picture of my teenaged father in the same Ford in my family album. If I get a chance I will find and share it.
Hi Dhuli,
Please go and search for the pictures, should be interesting.
Indeed Rail was the preferred and most develpoed form of transport, hardly any folks had money to buy cars. Some states had Roll's etc. for their Maharajas, with only a few KM's of motorable road. Punctures were the norm.
Very often luggauge was kept in bedding rolls which in turn were placed in a niche between the mudguards and the bonnet. In those days travel was adventurous, to say the least.
Why not check and ask others in your surroundings for old photos?

Cheers harit
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Old 7th August 2010, 14:47   #22
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In the 1920's and 1930's, or even today, rural transport depended mainly on busses and maybe some hire vehicles. The busses were often chewed to the nth degree, overloaded, luggage pile higher than Mt Everest (notice how not much has changed), and old busses had their own charm.
One pic appears to be at a railway station, there seem to waggons in the background. The other appears to be a family which hired a bus for an outing, family bunched together and driver apart.

Cheers harit
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Old 7th August 2010, 21:22   #23
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@harit nice pics. There is this car behind the bus. It looks similar to what I think I my grandfather had. Could it be a Ford. This one though looks like a hard top. Any guesses as to what model this car is?
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Old 23rd September 2010, 02:31   #24
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Hello,

here is some new visual material after I took a long abstinence. Do you think the bus in the picture (roughly late 1920s in the South) is an imported one, and/or is there a chance that it was somehow 'locally' produced or at least altered to suit local circumstances? I found some evidence in my research that motor transport operators back then would change vehicles' chassis and other parts to suit local roads. More materia to come....

Stefan
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Early 20th century road infrastructure/bus transport services/automobile traffic-horsedrawn-wagon-motor-vehicle_watermark.jpg  

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Old 13th November 2010, 17:01   #25
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karlosdeville was so kind to post a few scans of the WIAA magazine earlier. Does anybody here know if the other associations in north, east and south had had at any point in time a similar publication? Or were there other institutions with publications on automobiles or automobile traffic? I would be grateful for your responses.

cheers,
stefan
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Old 27th December 2012, 14:10   #26
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Default Re: Early 20th century road infrastructure/bus transport services/automobile traffic

Here's another nice one I came across, showing a 'Sarosh Bus Service'. Picture was taken in 1944 by a British armyman serving then in India. I assume it is a Chevrolet.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/loumorg...n/photostream/
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Old 18th October 2013, 04:24   #27
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Dear forum members,

I didn't contribute anything to this forum for quite some time, but have received so much support from you earlier that I would like to continue the discussion we had started.

I recently found an interesting anecdote on a website dedicated to the life and activities of the Nawab of Chattari. It tells us that the Nawab was quite 'development'-minded, e.g. he took an active interest in agricultural and infrastructural improvements in his Zamindari. But the account also tells us about the levy of a 'hathiana' and 'motorana' in other places of the area and elsewhere. Have you heard about this practice in North India or in other parts of the country, and can you fill me in on this? I would appreciate any further leads on this aspect. I reproduce the brief paragraph from the account below.

Best wishes,
Stefan


from http://www.aligarhmovement.com/karwa...Nawab_Chattari

"The settlement report of Bulandshahr District (1915) takes note of the unusual interest taken by the young Zamindar in ‘agricultural improvements’ in his Zamindari. By then a good number of Zamindars were indolent absentees staying in the comfort of cities with the management of the estates being left to local musclemen or resident relatives. The cultivators were often harassed not only for realization of revenue but even for collection of arbitrary levies which sometime extended to the absurd hathiana and motorana being respectively cost of maintaining elephants and motor cars! Anyway, a feature of Nawab Sahib’s Zamindari management was his constant endeavour to develop infrastructure in his village, improvements in cattle breeds and seed quality so that the income from the estate improved. By 1920 he had managed to add many more villages to Chhatari by buying their Zamindari rights. What is more, he managed to establish new villages by bringing fallow tracts under cultivation. Indeed in later years he was to lament (in his two volumes autobiography yade ayyam) that if he had the foresight he would be establishing industries rather than acquiring more villages. The fact remains that in a few decades before abolition of the system, he was the last Zamindar in UP to have considerably added to his estate."
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Old 18th October 2013, 15:44   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefan Tetzlaff View Post
I recently found an interesting anecdote on a website dedicated to the life and activities of the Nawab of Chattari
Wow, nice to see this. I have heard of many times about of Nawab of Chattari from my Father. I have been to their residence in the year 1998, they had 2 VW beetles at that point of time (they refused to part away). I think my grandfather knew them well. In their time they had quite a few good cars. Time to revisit history with my father .
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Old 20th October 2013, 16:27   #29
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Default Re: Early 20th century road infrastructure/bus transport services/automobile traffic

Hi Stefan,

You could also check out the below link I found via GOOGLE :-
1)
'http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/1025/84827.0001.001.pdf?sequence=2'
Page 27 onwards would interest you. I think this was some thesis by someone.

2)
http://www.anjeel.com/auto/indian_au...e_history.html

3)
http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/fo...-timeline.html

{Mods:- This is a reference to another forum. If found unsuitable, you have full freedom to remove the same}
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Old 21st October 2013, 19:55   #30
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Default Re: Early 20th century road infrastructure/bus transport services/automobile traffic

Stefan one of the most comprehensive archives on India will be found in British museums and libraries. I would first exhaust those resources simply to save yourself the nightmare of dealing with old archives in India which mostly are in rural languages. The State archives in Hyderabad where I live has one of India's most impressive collection of documents dating back to the Mughal era. Most however are in Farsi (Persian). The state of Hyderabad had a substantial network of roads, bus service, and railways.

Btw Nawab Sahib of Chattari served as prime minister of Hyderabad in the 40's

Last edited by DKG : 21st October 2013 at 20:00.
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