Sunday, 22 April 2018

A female Snake Charmer ? A K foa good cause!!erala woman's daring pursuit


Raji with a cobra, KeralaNewIndianExpress

Never have I either heard or read about female snake catcher in India. In a man's world women, it seems, have already made a successful entry. Here is a scoop  for you which I recently read with interest.
www.jantoo.com
dreamstime.com
Normally, the very mention of snakes causes fear and a sort of trepidation among us. People are normally overwhelmed by anxiety and fear as we always look at the snakes as if they were  villains from Bollywood or Kollywood movies. The truth is without these predators  in the paddy fields, etc., our loss of food grains will be immense. Just like the snakes owls play a great role in reducing the rodent population in the agricultural fields. But in India, sighting an owl is a bad omen. Some people believe that hooting of owls in some places is a warning of impending  death. Such superstitions do exist in rural areas.

In this age of  woman empowerment, we have seen women successfully striding  the areas that were once dominated by men. There is almost no field in India that does not have women folks. They are flying passenger planes, fighter air crafts, run express trains. Indian women have  scaled Mt. Everest and many of them hold records. 

What about the scary area of snake charming? This neither requires  a college degree nor does it require a technical degree. Unlike other folds ridden with danger, in this pretty old field which is a man's world, the death is  just a few inches away!! A wrong sleight of hand is enough to send the snake charmer to the nearest hospital. For a Keralite  woman, snake charming is a passion and not a profession.

For a 34-year old  Kerala woman by the name of J R Raji  who is a home maker  catching the reptiles is like  playing Checker-board.  Native of Pacha near  Nanniyode village  located at the foothills of Western Ghats, catching snakes  has been a passion since her late childhood  and  she does it with keen desire as a social service.  Her parents were rubber-tappers  and she used to see lots of snakes on the rubber estate. She took basic training in trapping snakes and gets satisfaction when she helps the  distressed people from danger.   According to media reports over a period of one year she saved 483 snakes from Kollam and Thiruvaanthapuram districts, thus establishing herself as a skilled woman snake-charmer in a man's realm.
Because of her continuous interaction with the reptiles, she has become a saviour  of reptiles in Kerala. Since their habitats are fast disappearing, snakes  frequently get into human settlements to roost. Her job is to rescue  the snake and and save the jittery people from panic and threats. When caught, she  hands over the snakes to the government and she does not catch snakes for money. In case people insist, the money will go to charity.

Mrs..Raji can handle any poisonous snake including vipers and deadly pythons. with skill. She never shows any sign of fear when handling cobras and other snakes. When facing the critters in close quarters, her concentration, quick reflexes and snake's behavior  come handy for her. Though she had a close shave on a few occasions, she  was not disturbed. On the contrary, she has become more resolute in pursuit of dangerous reptiles to catch  them and save them than give uo on snake-catching. She is the mother of two children and is being encouraged by her husband.
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/meet-raji-the-lone-woman-in-hiss-world/article23383779.ece



Patna Medical College (1874), Patna - started by the British Raj

istampgallery.com/
The  Patna Medical College, earlier known as the Patna School of Medicine  was opened on 23 June 1874. Billed as the one of the oldest training centers of surgeons and physicians, it catered to the medical needs of people including the British living in Bihar and Eastern UP.  In August 1874  the Medical College was named after Sir Richard temple L.L. Gov. of Bengal. Though a government institution, it ran smoothly owing to public subscription by social workers  and philanthropists. The college specifically  offered L.M.P level courses. The M.B.B.S. degree courses were introduced subsequently in the early part of 20th century. 

At a time when the incidence of Malaria, Plague, Typhoid, etc is on the increase coupled  with maternal  high mortality rate and stomach ailments, decision was made by the medical Board to upgrade the standard of teaching at Temple School of Medicine. Over a period of time, the Medical College got a name  and on  25 July 1925 the medical College with advanced facilities was opened by Gov. of Bihar  Sir Henry Wheeler with just 30  students and H.R. Dutton IMS became the first Principal.

It is one of the  very few  medical colleges in India where the Radio Therapy unit was established way back in the past. Departments like plastic surgery, pediatrics, gen surgery, etc., got a good name in our country. Now it has 500 undergraduate students and the same number  of PG students and a staff of 200 well-trained  teachers.

It is one of the busiest hospitals in the country with 1700 beds,  serving the poor and indigent population. A postal commemorative stamp was issued in February, 2000 (75th anniversary) in recognition of its excellent  service toward the cause of medical services and general health.

http://www.istampgallery.com,patna-medical-college/

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Equstrian statue of Lord Mark Cubbon. Bangalore - the man who loved the city!!

Equstrian statue of Lord Cubbon., Bangalore Wikimapia
Equstrian statue of Lord Cubbon. equestrianstatue.org/
 Above images: My admiration for equestrian statues  has no bounds and they never fail to gain my attention.  Statues of any kind are  one way of preserving memories for posterity.  Lord Cubbon's statue in Bangalore city (in front of Karnataka Court) , Karnataka is a beautiful one and was created in 1866 by the famous sculptor Carlo Marochetti.  As the creator of seven equestrian statues, he made some marvellous equestrian statues. Carlo Marochetti (1805–1867) was one of the most productive sculptors of his time. He was born in Turin (Italy), brought up in Paris and studied in Rome. He remained in France until 1848, and then moved over to London where he had stayed for a long time. 
 Marochetti was not only a very imaginative and talented  artist, but also a gifted one. He was the favourite of Queen Victoria, This bronze piece was shipped all the way from England. In fact, it was made with public donations from people of both Indian and England, and the highest donation of Rs. 10,000 came from Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. The statue was unveiled in front of the Karnataka High Court (Atara Kutcheri), Bangalore  in March 1866 by Lord Lewin Bowring.......................

 A brief account of Lord Mark Cubbon:

Lord Cubbon Commissioner,Coorg and Mysore 1834-1861wikipedia
Lieutenant-General Sir Mark Cubbon KCB (23 August 1775 – 23 April 1861)  was a British army officer and administrator of exceptional ability with the East India Company  and later worked for the British Crown during the transitional period.  The Mysore kingdom came under the royal family of Mysore  after the defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1799. In the early 1800s  because of chaotic governance of revenue department, etc.,  by the Mysore  Wodeyar family (Krishna Raja Wodeyar III happened to be a minor),  there was  a big uprising (1831) against the misrule.
Statue of Lord Cubbon, Bangalore.mpmurthy.wordpress.com

 Gov. Gen. William Bentnick put the kingdom under the direct  control  of the British company with a Resident Commissioner  in 1834 and Lord  Mark Cubbon moved in to take care of the job.  He retained this office until 1860. He moved the capital from Mysore to Bangalore, helped reform the finances of Mysore, and created a peaceful and prosperous government. Literally Mark Cubbon was the ruler of Mysore kingdom and between 1831 and 1861, he vastly improved  not only the law and order situation but also the finances of the kingdom to a great extent. He was the longest British Commissioner of Mysore and also had a lasting friendship with the Royal family of the Wodeyars  of Mysore - more than 26 years. He introduced uniform code of laws cutting across castes, religion and creed, improved the salaries of the government workers and the roads of the kingdom. he built roads connecting Bangalore with many towns and cities. Due importance was given to Marathi and Kanada for administrative purpose. First railway line was laid between Jolarpet and Bangalore. With the laying of telegraphic lines, commerce and communication saw a remarkable development. The civic amenities of Bangalore city, under Cubbon's direction, developed by leaps and bound.  The Raj Bhavan building was his creation and, earlier, it was his own residence which was later purchased by his successor Lord Bowring. The huge Cubbon Park and the Cubbon Road in Bangalore are the lasting memorials to this remarkable English gentleman.
Sir Mark Cubbon
Statue of Lord Cubbon in Cubbon Park
BangaloreBest.com

With his  long selfless, effective  and unbiased service in the kingdom of Mysore, he won the admiration of the natives and his seniors. After retirement he moved over to Madras. He was so so weak, he could not visit Bangalre, the city he loved very much. He boarded the ship  at Madras for heading home.
He died  on April 23 1861 at Suez en route to England due to poor health.


http://equestrianstatue.org/cubbon-mark/

http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/like-any-other-city-bangalore-too-has-its-share-of-statues-with-a-history/article6405326.ece
 

Disappearing heritage home in Kolkata - once a "Nationalists' Hub"!!


Residence of Raja Subodh  Mullick sSri Aurobindo Institute of Culture
India being a land of one of the oldest civilizations  in the world, obviously we a rich historical, religious and cultural legacy which is well reflected in tens of thousands of fascinating monuments of  beauty and   splendour and of various ages scattered across the country. Ours is a land of unbroken history of more than 4000 years. We have a variety of monuments related to ancient history, religions, culture, colonial period, etc.  A monument is a sort of three - dimensional and time-honored structure  nicely  built  to commemorate a  religious order, a person or event,  that may have a heritage value  due to its artistic, historical, political, technical or architectural importance. Examples of monuments include statues, (war) memorials, historical buildings, archaeological sites, some religious places and cultural assets. If there is a proven  keen public interest in its preservation, a monument can, for example, be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site provided it meets certain  criteria set by them.  Historical, political and cultural events of a specified  past period are frozen in the monuments.  So, "past is  always relevant to the present". These monuments provide us an opportunity to glimpse into our past history etc., and their link can not be ignored.

Unfortunately, since independence the governments - both state and central have paid  least attention to such monuments  for various reasons - financial crunch, lack of interest, etc.,  as they are bogged down with other  pressing social problems that need to be addressed first. Since such monuments are not  protected from trespassing and encroachments by way of erecting barricades, etc, anti-social groups and hooligans can access them and either destroy them or deface them beyond repair. Our monuments in many places have a pathetic tale to tell.

 According to a recent report, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) 35% of the ancient relics and monuments under their control  have disappeared due to negligence. No periodic surveys and maintenance and most importantly, no stringent laws to protect them are the main reasons. There are cases of vandalism and abuse  of ancient  monuments by irresponsible people. Some have become haven for punks, drunks and drug peddlers. Many monuments  have turned into  garbage dumps. Irresponsible shop keepers have encroached upon some of the sites in the prime areas of the cities and towns.

 The poor attitude of the people  towards  our monuments and the apathy of the authorities need to be  rectified, to begin with. This can be done only with public cooperation and good support from the governments. The fading glory of innumerable places across the country is a fact and has to be taken seriously. Our glorious history will have lots of holes if  our old monuments  disappear from our landscape like the willow-the wisp.   Our monuments are vast and valuable  and  if they are properly taken care of  it will improve the flow of foreign tourists to India. It  is imperative for the state and central governments to preserve them from further degradation by allocating enough funds to repair, restore and conserve them for  our posterity.

Residence of Raja Subodh  Mullick sriaurobindoinstitute.org
Above image:  The hub of Indian Nationalists, Kolkata. Sri Aurobindo usually resided in this house as a guest of Raja Subodh Chandra Mullick on his visits to Calcutta. 12, Wellington Square thus became a center of the Nationalist movement and a silent witness to various events, meetings and discussions that shaped it. On his return to Calcutta in 1906 as Principal of Bengal National College, he continued residing in this house until he shifted to make himself more accessible to the 'common people'.....................

The palatial house of Raja Subodh Mullick, is a historical  place in Calcutta. This residence was once the beehive of  freedom movements and played an important role in  the Swadeshi movement and discarding of foreign stuff. Well known people passed through the portals of this house, a silent spectator to the repressive British rule. Eminent personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Chittaranjan Das had visited the house when  Subdah mallick was just 4 years of age. Shri Aurobindo stayed here from 1906 to 1908. Unfortunately this heritage building (declared in 1998) is crumbling down as it is caught in a court ligation. It has fallen into disrepair as the legal  battle continues with no solution in sight in the near future. Added to this hurdle is the lethargic nature of our judiciary and its move at snail's pace. 

Mullick's residence. The Hindu
 Built between 1883 and 1884, this U-shaped house at 12 Raja Subodh Mullick Square, the main gate of the three-storeyed house is  permanently locked. With the large growth of tree causing root-wedging due to intrusion of thick roots into the building, the structure is in a dilapidated state.  The nauabatkhana is in ruin with only the staircase intact. Parts of the terrace have collapsed. The house  that was declared a heritage structure in 1998 is in the middle of a long-drawn legal battle.

The legal wrangle is over the "will" made by Nirad Chandra Basu Mullick, Subodh Mullick’s cousin to whom he sold his share. Nirad Chandra' s will dtd. March 4, 1932  states if his son (Hambir Chandra Mullick) has no issue, the beneficiary of his estate is  the University of Calcutta for advancement of learning. In the "will" there is no provision for adopted son and legal heir issue.  After Hambir Chandra's death on November 18, 1976, his caretaker Mahadeo Prasad Mishra claimed a share in the house. The university took possession of the ground and the first floors of the house on September 19, 1977, but Mishra occupied the second floor. The university moved Calcutta High Court the same year. The university plans to construct a  building  for academic purpose.
Rajah Subodh Mullick ...
As the issue still remains unresolved, the building that has not seen any repair work for decades, is in a  dangerous condition. As for lovers of monuments, this historical building may become a thing of the past as the parties involved have  failed to solve the legal battle amicably. The university's plan to demolish the heritage site is not in good taste.

 http://www.sriaurobindoinstitute.org/saioc/Sri_Aurobindo/calcutta/12_wellington_square
https://www.telegraphindia.com/1070401/asp/calcutta/story_7579252.asp

Friday, 20 April 2018

Haripad Subramanya Swamy temple, a popular one in Kerala.

 Haripad Subramanya swamy temple.blessingsonthenet.com
The Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple in Haripad, Alappuzha District   besides being  famous is one of the oldest Hindu places of worship in Kerala. Also known  as Dakshina Palani (Southern Palani), it is believed,  this temple is of great antiquity once worshipped by Parasurama. This suggests temple's origin before the advent of Kaliyuga.
Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple in Haripad/en.wikipedia.org/
For unknown reasons, Parasurama left the idol of Subramanya in the backwaters of Kandanalloor    - Govindamuttom Backwaters from which it was recovered after the landlords  of Eakachakra (the then Haripad) at the same time had a  dream regarding this idol. The idol  that was  in Kayamkulam lake  was  taken out  at Nelpurakadavu as the villagers suspected  divinity in that idol.
Subrahmanya Swami's Aarattu 2016 festival. YouTube

According to the legend as there was not a permanent shelter built for the idol, it was kept under a banyan tree in a place owned by a Christian family. An half hour worship was done for the deity here and the place where the idol of Subramanya was kept for brief worship,  there is a small temple  in the village  called  (half an hour) Ara Nazhika Ambalam”.

Consecration was done, it is believed, by Lord Vishnu himself disguising as a holy Saint on the Pushya star of Makara Masa and this day is celebrated  annually as  the founding day of the temple. In Malayalam year 1096 the temple  had a fire mishap and fortunately the golden flag mast and the Koothambalam  were not affected.  Maharajah Sree Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma rebuilt the temple and the golden flag mast was re-installed.

The giant 8 foot tall presiding deity Murugan facing east  has four arms carrying Vel (spear) in one hand, Vajrayudha in another hand one hand bestowing blessing (showing Abhahya mudra) and the other toughing the thighs. The idol  is believed be an embodiment (an hamsam of) of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma all in one form. The temple has four towers - gopuras and the Srikovil (sanctum) is round in shape. Here Murugan's mount Mayil (peacock) is kept in a separate place. There is a Koothambalam within the compound.  On festival days it is used for performing the tradtional dances of Kerala.  The golden flags staff (Dwajasthambam) is the biggest one in Kerala.

After  Thiruvonam, in commemoration of retrieval of the idol Vigraha Labdhi Jalolsavam is conducted in Payippad river for three days. This event attracts a lot of devotees.   Chitira Ulsavam,  Markazhi Ulsavam
Aavani Ulsavam, Thaipooyam  are important festivals here.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haripad_Sree_Subrahmanya_Swamy_temple

Agurchand Mansions (Khaleel Mansions), Chennai, a fine heritage structure

-
(Khaleel Mansions) Agurchand Mansions, Chennai Flickr
Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu has had innumerable colonial monuments of architectural wonders in the past and we have lost some of them due to so many factors, one being sheer negligence on the part of the government with respect to periodical repairs, etc., and the other is lack of an interest group, of course with political influence, whose main interest will be to save such rotting buildings from serious damages beyond redemption. In the past, a part of heritage building Amir Mahal ( once official residence of Nawab of Arcot), Triplicane was damaged due to fire. Way back, a superb building Agurchand  Mansions (formerly known as Khaleel Mansions) had a fire mishap. In the latter, the damage was not a serious one. 

On  busy Anna Salai (formerly Mount Road) at  Spencer 's Junction, Chennai you can not miss a majestic and imposing  Indo-Saracenic styled brick-red two storeyed building, which is so simple, but impressive, you will be tempted to take an another look at this exotic edifice in the midst of jumbled  buildings.  Originally called the Khaleel Mansions, now it is known as  Agurchand Mansions.  Agurchand, a rich business man of Sowcarpet, Chennai  offered highest bidding (Rs. 5.5 lakh) for the property when the government auctioned the building as evacuee property when the legal heir of Khaleel mansion migrated to Pakistan.  Hence the Khaleel Mansions became  Agurchand Mansions in1964.                         

The building has impressive arches, long veranda arcade typical of colonial design. The building was designed to let out for rent to shop owners and retail traders. There were  about 58 shops here. In January 2012 there was a fire accident in this building. 
Fortunately, the damage was not a big one.
(Khaleel Mansion)s Agurchand Mansions, Chennai,The Hindu
It will be a bit interesting if you peep into the origin of this wonderful building. It was built in 1930s by Haji Mohamed Khaleel Shirazi, a Parsi who  moved over to Chennai from Iran  and got  into the construction business. He is believed to have built a few buildings here and also owned some in the prime areas. It is often said of this building, "It was the first multi-storeyed building to come up on Mount Road." After Khaleel Shiraji’s  death one of his sons Abbas Khaleeli, an ICS officer working in Madras Government, became the owner of the mansion.  At the time of partition of India, after independence in August 194, Abbas decided to migrate to  Karachi, Pakistan for good. Incidentally his wife is the  daughter of the Dewan of Mysore Sir Mirza Ismail, a brilliant administrator.  Abbas' property became an evacuee property under the Evacuee Property Act, 1949. Hence, the  Madras state government put up the mansion for auction.

Believed to be the city's ‘first 100-foot high building,’ Agurchand Mansions (Khaleel Mansions) is tagged as   the city’s first ‘high rise’. As to the history of this building, according to  an article (vide: The Hindu dated September 16, 2012 ) a well-researched one, the place where Agurchand mansions stands  was part of a vast stretch of property, covering  all the way from Mount Road to Express Estate, lining the eastern side of what was called Lord Pigot Road and which is now Club House Road. This property and the gardens were owned by the Arcot Nawab family members, and in this particular case,  it was owned by a Begam. She is believed to have sold the property to  Agha Mohammed Khaleel Shirazee on August 30, 1910.  Being one of the  richest men in Madras in the early 20th Century,  Mohd. Khaleel developed the property. The Kahaleel Mansons was built  between 1923 and 1925, then the city’s tallest building .

 http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/The-city] 99/article12572907.ece

 http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/No-major-damage-to-Agurchand-Mansion/article13382061.ece






Three of Kerala's age old heritage mosquse - a brief note

Unlike other parts of India, in Kerala Islam has been around for a pretty long time - far before the arrival of Muslim rules from NW of India. It was  through Arab traders during the time of Prophet Muhammad(CE 570 - CE 632) Islam was introduced on coastal Kerala. They were traders in spices, etc. Kerala is known to have ancient relation with the middle east even during the Pre-Islamic period. Muslim merchants (Malik Deenar) settled in Kerala by the 7th century AD and introduced Islam. The Cheraman Juma Masjid said to be the very first mosque in India situated in Kodungallur Taluk, in state of Kerala. According to historians , Cheraman Perumal, the last of the Chera kings, became Muslim and travelled to visit prophet Muhammad and  upon his death he  requested his family members  to be kind to Malik ibn Dinar to whom he gave a letter and advised them to follow the path of Islam. Malik Dinar in the 7th century took the initiative and this was the beginning of Islam in this otherwise predominantly a Hindu state. Cheran Perumal who  took a Muslim name now is buried in Salalah, Oman.

Kerala Muslims generally referred to as Mappilas in Kerala share a common language (Malayalam)  and culture with the rest of the population. In this state  next to Hinduism,  Muslim population forms 26.56% of the total  population of Kerala. Islam is growing fast here on account of large conversions and birth rates.


Kerala has the distinction of having some of the oldest mosques in this country. The amazing feature is some of the mosques follow the old Kerala architectural tradition and design  relevant to  this region and seasons. They are made of wood, masonry with tiled roof. Only the recently built mosques (Pallis) have  traditional Islamic features like minarets, etc. 

Thazhathangady Juma Masjid:

Thazhathangady Juma MasjidTripAdvisor
Thazhathangady Juma Masjid is a  heritage site located in Thazhathangady, Kerala, and is vey close to Kottayam town. It is one of the oldest mosques in India and is more than 1000 years old. Famous for

Thazhathangady Juma MasjidIndiatimes.com
its rich of architectureand fascinating wood workof immense beauty , it is being visited by lots of tourists. In 2012 some changes had been made on the south side as the structure was too weak to handle. With disturbing the heritage aspect, the south side is pulled down and extended  with iron pillars, aluminium sheets and minars to keep the mosque intact from additional damage. Situated on the banks of the Meenachil river in the midst of serene surrounding, it was built by the early settlers who migrated from different parts of Kerala.  The Muslims from this area  took an active role in India's  Freedom Struggle and other National Movements. This vintage masjid goes by the name of the “Taj Juma Masjid”of  Kottayam. Here, Muslim wome have a sepate space for prayer and are not allowed to perform rituals. Only on two days -  April 24 and May 8, women with proper attire are allowed inside the masjid.

The Cheraman Juma Mosque:

The Cheraman Juma Mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District of Kerala is the first mosque in India. The masjid  located in Paravur is also believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
Cheraman Juma Masjid,Methla, kerala
en.wikipedia.org
Built in 629 AD, by Malik Deenar, an Arab propagator of Islam, it is believed, that this mosque was first renovated and reconstructed in the 11th century AD. The Arabi-Malayalam script in the masjid gate denotes  5 Hijri. Many non-Muslims conduct initiation ceremonies (Vidhyaranbham) to the world of letters of their children here. This mosque has an ancient oil lamp that has been burning more than 1000 plus years. People of all faiths bring oil as an offering for the lamp to keep it burning so that the blessed light will remove the darkness in their lives. In April 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. A few years ago this mosque was renovated. 


Mishkal Mosque:

Mishkal Mosque,Calicut.  kalli valli
interor Mishkal Mosque,Calicut  www.frontline.in
Mishkal Mosque,  a medieval mosque located in Kuttichera, Thikkipuram beach  Calicut in the Indian state of Kerala is one of the oldest in this region. Historically, architecturally and culturally this old mosque occupies a proud place in the history of Kerala.  Built by a rich Arab merchant, Nakhooda Mishkal in the 14th century, the mosque carries his name. Entirely made of heavy timber wood with
no cupolas and minaret, this strikingly unique mosque has 5 stories. The top floors are  damaged when the Portuguese rulers invaded this place and set fire to the mosque in 1510. Reconstruction was done after this destruction

Mishkal Mosque originally had five storiesbut now  has four stories.  The mosque that can accommodate  400 people at a time has 47 doors, 24 carved pillars supporting a big well ventilated prayer hall.
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheraman_Juma_Mosque


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thazhathangady_Juma_Mosque


 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishkal_Mosque

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Medical College, Calcutta, first in Asia - early colonial period

Earliest medical College, Kolkata. Alamy
stampgallery.com/
 The British East India Company established the Indian Medical Service (IMS) as early as 1764 to look after the medical needs of Europeans in British India as they were living in a tropical country infested with mosquitoes, venomous snakes, etc. IMS officers headed military and civilian hospitals in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and they also took care of ships and Army. They were assisted by trained native doctors whose medical activities were limited to certain duties. Increasing demands in medical services prompted the British company to give serious consideration to medical education in India. The then Gov. Gen. of India William Bentnick was instrumental in establishing a medical college in Calcutta (Kolkata) "for the education of the Indian youth without exception to creed or caste". Founded on 28 January, 1835, it was a major medical institution to teach western Medicine - European Allopathic system of medicine and was the oldest in Asia. The British were quite pleased with the native doctors who acted as compounders and dressers`as the Ayurvesds and Hakims were not reliable. Very much impressed by the dedication of the native doctors, a vernacular medical School  came into being  as far back as in October 1824 and the classes were conducted at the Sanskrit College and Calcutta Madrassa. Considering Indian students' capacity to learn the subjects, it was found out that the teaching was inadequate. Based on Lord Bentnick's recommendation the educational committee abolished the old school in favor of a new Medical College in 1835 to meet the growing needs of the doctors for the colonial administration. In the early years the Senate of the University used to meet here.
Lord William Bentinck Wikipedia

The college had a humble beginning with Dr, M.S. Bramley,  Asst. Surgeon as the first Principal (1835 to 1837) ; the classes started on the 20th of February, 1835. Prof, Pundit Madusudun Gupta was the instructor. Initially there were 50 students, each receiving a stipend of Rs, 75.00 per month. David Hare, a well known philanthropist served as secretary for some years, A fairly developed College and hospital buildings came up in 1910 through public donations.
Calcutta medical College. University of Calcutta
On the 150th anniversary day, foundation was laid for the research and education in 1984. In the history of Indian medical education, this college crossed some frontiers. On 10 January 1836 Pundit Madusudan Gupta, with his students dissected the first human body, setting aside all the taboos, prejudices and superstitions. In 1838 five Indian doctors came out with flying colors. One Babu Uma Charan Sett stood first. In 1845, the college was recognised and registered in England and in the same, year four students  were sent overseas for higher education.

In 1848 one Babu Mutty Lal Seal (well-known business man) donated a spacious teaching building (it is depicted in the postal stamp).  The foundation stone was laid by Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General of India on 30th Sept. 1848 (in the 12th year of the reign of Queen Victoria). The new MCH hospital was opened for sick patients on 1 March 1852. There was also an OT on one side of the old MCH which was later upgraded in 1902  Later other hospitals came up:  the Eden Hospital (1881–82), the Ezra Hospital (1887), the Shama Charan Laha Eye Hospital (1891) and the Prince of Wales Surgical Block, opened in March 1911. The Medical college was affiliated to the newly formed Calcutta University in 1857. Yet another milestone made here  was a girl student Kadambini Ganguli was taken in to study medicine for the first time!!. In this regard the medical council took a decision in June 1883.  This college has produced a number of brilliant doctors the most notable being Dr. B.C.Roy. 

Presently the Medical College trains 750 under graduates and 100 post-graduates. The hospital caters to 2000 plus in-patients and more than 6000 out-patients. The college imparts the degree Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) as well as specialised and post-doctoral degrees. Nursing and para-medical courses are also offered. 

http://www.istampgallery.com/medical-college-calcutta/

Historical Holy cross Church Mapranam , Kerala bestowed with a relic of the Holy Cross

Holy Cross ChurchMapranam Indian Philately
Holy cross Church Mapranam,Kerala Tourism
 India is home to a number of old churches and almost all of them have historical significance. The Holy Cross Church of Mapranam near Thrissur city has a proud place among the Indian churches as it is bestowed with a relic of the Holy Cross. 

Holy cross Church Mapranam,Wikipedia
Founded in A.D 928  Holy cross Church Mapranam, Thrissur is one of the oldest churches not only in Kerala state but also in the entire country, India. 
It is also one among the few churches that
received the relic of the Holy Cross (21 September, 1887), part of the Holy blood of Jesus Christ and the bloodstained Holy Cloth used by Veronica to wipe the face of Jesus Christ, all donated from Vatican by the order of the Pope. Worshipers are allowed to experience the blessings of the Holy Cross on the 14th and 21 st of September and on Good Friday. Only a few churches across the globe have this unique distinction. In the history of Indian churches, in this respect, this church has an exalted status.
On the day of  Exaltation of the Holy Cross -14th Sept. every year,  Mapranam Church celebrates the main feast in the name of the Holy Cross.

This place of worship is quite popular and people from other faiths also visit this church for Christ's blessing. It is a part of Irinjalakuda diocese and historically and archaeologically it occupies an important place in Kerala. As at many churches, offering of  candles is the main ritual here and the annual ceremony  called Thirithelikkal (Candle Lighting) is quite popular It  is attended by lots of devotees from Kerala and other states. The unique difference is the candles that are offered here  are big, weighing between one to 300 kg. The offering is done on the 13 th of September. The custom has been that  at least 500 worshippers should light big candles here. Recently around 100000 worshipers lit the big candles for receiving blessings from the Holy Cross. This tradition has been here for centuries. In the past, a 22 foot tall  candle weighing 1,079 kg held the record in India in that year. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross falls on 14t Sept. every year, and on this day,  Mapranam Church celebrates the main feast in the name of the Holy Cross.

The main attraction of this church is an old wooden Cross made in Persian  style which is well polished  and blackened by five metals - Panchaloka.  Set in a beautiful place, north of this church  lie Karuvannur River, the Arattupuzha Temple and the churches of Pallissery and Panamkulam.
https://www.keralatourism.org/destination/holy-cross-church-mapranam/534


http://www.istampgallery.com/holy-cross-church/

Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station,Kerala a fine colonial structure

Thiruvananthapuram Centraln.wikipedia.org
Thiruvananthapuram Centra Dreamstime.com
 Indian Railways (IR), which is being controlled and managed by the Central Government at New Delhi, has one of the busiest and largest railway networks in the world, besides, it operates both long distance and suburban rail systems. Because of its colonial connections under the Raj there  There are  countless railway stations in India whose buildings are strikingly colonial in nature. Many of them are architectural wonders.

Thiruvananthapuram Central  railway station, besides being the largest one in the  state of Kerala with respect to  passenger movement, it an an important hub on the Southern Railway built during the colonial days when Travancore was an important Princely State.  The impressive and strikingly beautiful  Thiruvananthapuram Central  station building was built in 1931. Being the capital city of Kerala, a highly literate state, this Central station  is connected to  almost major cities across India.
Thiruvananthapuram_Centralerail.in/blog/
The history of railways in Kerala has close links with the colonial period under the British crown. It was for the first time the Madras-Quilon line was extended to the capital of the Princely State of Travancore, Thiruvananthapuram and  it was opened on 4 January 1918. It meant this city had a direct rail link with Madras, then the  capital of the Madras Presidency.  The railway line then terminated at Chakka, then a trading centre of Thiruvananthapuram. The then Dewan of erstwhile state M.E. Watts, considering the hardship faced by the public,  took the initiative and had the railway line extended up to the center of the  busy city. The terminus was shifted to current location Thiruvananthapuram Central Thampanoor in 1931. 

As the necessity arose for a  spacious building with all amenities for the increasing number of passengers, etc, the Thiruvananthapuram Central station building was  constructed during the reign of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the Maharani of Travancore (under the aegis of Sree Chithira Thirunal).The building was declared open  on 4 November 1931. An interesting feature of this building is it is entirely made of  dressed rock stones and lime mortar.  No bricks were used for the construction of this station Though  it was a branch line station with just solitary platform, it  was built to handle two departures per day in 1931 as per Maharani's wish. The platform with a single line continued till the 70's. It was presumably the longest covered platform at that time. The platform was so long that it could accommodate two trains at a time in that single line platform.

This station presently has 12 platforms out of which 10 will handle broad gauge trains and 2 platforms for meter gauge trains. To relieve passenger pressure 2nd and 3rd terminals were built in 2004 and 2007 respectively.  A few years ago the railway station could handle 200000 passengers daily. Nemom  and Kochuveli satellite terminals are functioning with trains originating from here. The station is the terminus for the proposed  High Speed Rail corridor connecting Chennai and Bangalore with Thiruvananthapuram. Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor was proposed in the recent railway budget. Work on these projects, it is said, is afoot. The Thiruvananthapuram railway station has two entrances. The main entrance is opposite to Central Bus Station Thiruvananthapuram and eastern entrance is on Power House road.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiruvananthapuram_Central_railway_station