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These 30 Intriguing Pictures Are Some of the Rarest Photographs Ever Captured in India

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Coined by American news editor Arthur Brisbane in 1911, the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies to many aspects of human life, but especially to historical photography. Sometimes, one simple photograph can tell you much more about historical figures or events than any book you might read or any charter you might analyze.

From famous personalities and historical landmarks to everyday life, here are 30 rare pictures that show a different perspective of Indian history. You probably won’t find them in any school textbook!

1. Rabindranath Tagore with Albert Einstein in 1920s

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2. Indira Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin And Jawaharlal Nehru in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, 1953

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3. The last time Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested by the British police

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4. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar with his wife Dr Savita Ambedkar, helper Sudama and their pet dog

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5. Poster of the death sentence judgment Of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and others, 1930

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6. Sir C V Raman explaining the Raman Effect to his students in 1930

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7.  Three legends, Sir Maurice Gwyer, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, coming out from Sinha Sadan at Shantiniketan

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8. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose with Adolf Hitler in Berlin in Germany, 1942

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9. Lord Mountbatten swears in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of free India at the ceremony held on August 15, 1947

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10. Dr. Rajendra Prasad with President’s Bodyguards (PBG) on the streets of Chandni Chowk, Delhi

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11. A young French boy introduces himself to Indian soldiers who had just arrived in Marseilles to fight alongside French and British forces in World War I, September 30, 1914

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12. A library with books being divided into India and Pakistan during Partition in 1947

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13. First day (December 9, 1946) of the Constituent Assembly

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14. Earliest known photograph of the Taj Mahal taken by Dr. John Murray of the East India Company in the 1850s

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15. The ruins of Sikandar Bagh Palace in Lucknow with the skeletal remains of rebel sepoys in the foreground, 1858

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16. Marriage of Yuvaraja Kantirava Narasinharaja Wadiyar to Yuvarani Kempu Cheluvammanniyavaru Urs in Mysore, 1910

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17. Howrah Bridge under construction, 1930s

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18. Madras (Chennai) Central Railway Station, 1925

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19. The Bangalore Palace in the 1890s

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20. A girls’ school in Jaipur, Rajasthan, 1870s

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21. A railway engine on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line in the 1880s

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22. Elephants loading supplies on C-46 planes in India during World War II

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23.  Zebra cart being used as a mode of transport in Calcutta in the 1930s

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24. Young Indian nationalists affixing the Boycott Sign on a foreign cart in the streets of Bombay, 1930

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25. The Great Gama and his brother Imam Baksh square off during an exhibition match held in front of the Red Fort in Delhi, 1940s

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26. People enjoying a ferris wheel ride in Benares (Varanasi), 1960s

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27. A street view of Charminar in Hyderabad in the early 1900s

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28. Chandpal Ghat in Calcutta, 1910. (Bathers reached the river through tunnels under the railway line)

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29. Maharani Gayatri Devi, Princess of Jaipur, on her wedding day

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30. Professor M.S. Narasimhan demonstrating the first Indian digital computer to Jawaharlal Nehru at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)

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Also Read30 States, 30 Stunning Photos: These Award-Winning Images Show Why India’s Beauty Lies In Its Diversity


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Written by Sanchari Pal

A lover of all things creative and happy, Sanchari is a biotech engineer who fell in love with writing and decided to make it her profession. She is also a die-hard foodie, a pet-crazy human, a passionate history buff and an ardent lover of books. When she is not busy at The Better India, she can usually be found reading, laughing at silly cat videos and binge-watching TV seasons.