Railway Minister Gowda Launches a Book “Art & Railways – A Bangalore Saga”
NG News/ New Delhi
The Minister of Railways, D.V.Sadananda Gowda launched a Book titled –“Art & Railways – A Bangalore Saga” written by Railway officers, S. Mani & Lily Pandeya, at a function here last evening.
Railway Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda said that
Indian Railways is mostly viewed as a vital service provider and key driver of Indian economy. So to highlight and focus on the artistic and cultural dimension of this great organization is a unique and a praiseworthy effort. He congratulated the National Rail Museum for this remarkable publication and the authors S. Mani & Lily Pandeya for writing it.
The Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha was present as Guest of Honour on the occasion. Chairman, Railway Board, Arunendra Kumar, other Board Members and authors of the Book were also present among others on the occasion. The book has been published by National Rail Museum of Ministry of Railways
Gowda said that Railways everywhere have been rightly credited as being the harbinger of industrial progress and politico economic unification of a nation. When the Government thinks of development in any sector, Indian Railway invariably think of its role in it. However, not many have given the Railways its due for the role that it plays in the everyday life of people – in their work & vacations, festivals & celebrations, joys and sorrows, journeys and destinations.
Gowda said that it is heartening to learn that such a large number of artists came forward for this ingenious experiment, appropriately titled SAFAR – the Journey. The Art project undertaken by Bangalore Division in 2011 – 12 serves as a prime example of civic engagement as the community of artists found their muse and expression at the Railway platform. Through their art works, they have not only infused a new life but also reinvented the cultural tradition of Railways. This may inspire other stakeholders like journalists, students, theatre artists to come forward for similar ventures.
Gowda said that he always commended the good job done by the various Zones and Divisions of the Railways and especially by the National Rail Museum in preserving the locomotives, carriage and wagons and other artefacts. He said that several photo exhibitions of bygone era of Railways have been held successfully at various places. He congratulated Bangalore Division for not only organizing the art camps but also creating an art gallery and a cartoon gallery to preserve the precious art works. It is a matter of pride that Bangalore City Railway station may very well be the first to have such galleries on the platform. These need to be preserved and protected as valuable property of the Railways.
Sadananda Gowda further said that in recent times, the Hon’ble PM has laid a special emphasis on Swachh Bharat campaign. Indian Railways have been at the fore front of this campaign. Clean India is beautiful India. Mural Art has found a unique and prolific treatment in the streets and the public spaces of Bangalore City. He appreciated the murals at the Railway stations. Shri Gowda pointed out that it is a wonderful idea as the spaces that bring beauty & joy are not defaced or destroyed. Art projects such as SAFAR can go a long way in realizing this dream of ours. Such innovative schemes and ideas should be undertaken and encouraged everywhere, he added, Romance of Railways have moved all from the days of the whistling steam loco and toy trains to today. The Railway Minister congratulated the National Rail Museum for their vision in choosing this coffee table book which beautifully showcases the beauty of the world of Indian Railways, to be their maiden publication on the 160th year of Indian Railways. He commended the authors, S. Mani & Lily Pandeya for their efforts and he hoped to see more of such initiatives in future.
National Rail Museum was not only the venue for the launch of this book but also the publisher of this work. This work is of special interest to Indian Railways. There is a special connect to the ‘common man’ with art in Indian Railways. A railway station is considered to be an ideal setting for this kind of an endeavour as a mini India comes alive at a railway station. Indian Railways has always attempted to benefit the common man through its various schemes, projects and concessions.
Indian Railways has always been an unintended fountainhead of art and culture, reflecting the unique heritage and multicultural ethos of the country. Besides being a vital service provider and a key driver of the Indian economy, as an organization, it also serves as a veritable cultural and community hub. Since its inception in the 1850s, it has inspired versatile portrayals of its distinct character and identity by artists of all genres. This wealth of artwork recalls, affirms and advances the valuable cultural legacy of the Railways and never fails to resonate with the populace at large. Initiatives like Rail art projects facilitate the process of creation of vibrant public spaces through civic engagement and form the basis for simultaneously preserving and reinventing history and heritage. South Western Railway’s Bangalore Division made an attempt to recognize this tradition and tried to rejuvenate it in the midst of the trite of trains and stations.