Indian History Carnival – 48: Gibb, Taj Mahal, Air India, New Delhi, Coins

This is the 4 year anniversary edition of the Indian History Carnival. So let me take this opportunity to thank my contributors who e-mail me various links. This has become important as various other things, like work, has been keeping me terribly busy leaving less time for reading and blogging. So Sandeep V, Feanor and others – Thanks for making my life easy.

  1. Shubo Bose has an excellent blog which looks at the coins of India with lots of pictures.
  2. The Taj Mahal diamond owned by Elizabeth Taylor is going to be auctioned. That rock has an interesting history.
  3. Though the gem is associated with one of the most famous marriages of this century- the one of Burton and Taylor, its provenance goes back to one of the greatest love stories in history. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahangir gave it to his son Shah Jahan who in turn gifted it to his favorite wife Mumtaz-i-Mahal and later built the Taj Mahal in her honor.

  4. Matthew Gibb (1849-1920), great-grandfather of the Bee Gees, was a military man and he served in India. Fëanor writes
  5. He was one among the many BOR – British Other Ranks – soldiers from these isles who served in India, along with the much larger native forces. They bivouacked in Cantonments waiting to be called out on campaign. When he joined, India was the largest and most important of British colonies. The Army acted as a vast Imperial police force, maintaining law and order and British interests in the region. Gibb was one of sixty thousand white soldiers living and working along with Indian army men in garrison towns across the subcontinent.

  6. New Delhi is 100 years old and the NYTimes blog has the story of its birth.
  7. Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens, the two architects appointed to design much of the city, seemed to be curious choices for such a venture. Baker worked in South Africa, where he had become a disciple of the arch-imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Lutyens, who previously had mostly designed English country houses, was known for his occasional prejudiced outbursts against India. In a letter to his wife, for example, Lutyens described Indian architecture as “essentially the building style of children.” Even the Taj Mahal, he complained, was “small but very costly beer.” Both men reveled in their assignment to create a monument to imperialism.

  8. Bhaskara has a detailed history of Air India from its humble origins in 1932. This is only the first part in a three part series.
  9. During World War 2; the growth in new routes slowed for Tata Airlines. But because the War was relatively docile in India; demand on existing routes continued to grow. They upgraded their fleet constantly; eventually jumping up to a fleet of 3 Stinson Model As, as well as multiple 14 seat Douglas DC-2s. This new lift helped Tata spread its wings to Bangalore, Nagpur, Calcutta, and even Baghdad, Iraq by June of 1945 (nearing the end of the war).

If you find interesting blog posts on Indian history, please send it to @gmail or as a tweet to @varnam_blog. The next carnival will be up around Jan 15th.

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