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
2. Indira Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin And Jawaharlal Nehru in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, 1953
3. The last time Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested by the British police
4. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar with his wife Dr Savita Ambedkar, helper Sudama and their pet dog
5. Poster of the death sentence judgment Of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and others, 1930
6. Sir C V Raman explaining the Raman Effect to his students in 1930
7. Three legends, Sir Maurice Gwyer, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, coming out from Sinha Sadan at Shantiniketan
8. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose with Adolf Hitler in Berlin in Germany, 1942
9. Lord Mountbatten swears in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of free India at the ceremony held on August 15, 1947
10. Dr. Rajendra Prasad with President’s Bodyguards (PBG) on the streets of Chandni Chowk, Delhi
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
12. A library with books being divided into India and Pakistan during Partition in 1947
13. First day (December 9, 1946) of the Constituent Assembly
14. Earliest known photograph of the Taj Mahal taken by Dr. John Murray of the East India Company in the 1850s
15. The ruins of Sikandar Bagh Palace in Lucknow with the skeletal remains of rebel sepoys in the foreground, 1858
16. Marriage of Yuvaraja Kantirava Narasinharaja Wadiyar to Yuvarani Kempu Cheluvammanniyavaru Urs in Mysore, 1910
17. Howrah Bridge under construction, 1930s
18. Madras (Chennai) Central Railway Station, 1925
19. The Bangalore Palace in the 1890s
20. A girls’ school in Jaipur, Rajasthan, 1870s
21. A railway engine on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line in the 1880s
22. Elephants loading supplies on C-46 planes in India during World War II
23. Zebra cart being used as a mode of transport in Calcutta in the 1930s
24. Young Indian nationalists affixing the Boycott Sign on a foreign cart in the streets of Bombay, 1930
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
26. People enjoying a ferris wheel ride in Benares (Varanasi), 1960s
27. A street view of Charminar in Hyderabad in the early 1900s
28. Chandpal Ghat in Calcutta, 1910. (Bathers reached the river through tunnels under the railway line)
29. Maharani Gayatri Devi, Princess of Jaipur, on her wedding day
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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