[India]: [Bengal and North Western Railway Company], [193-]. Small 4to. album. Stamped leather label affixed to front board. Very good plus to near fine. 14 leaves, each with photographs and typewritten sheets mounted on rectos and versos. Contains 68 mounted photographs (21 of which are cyanotypes) with handwritten captions underneath; also includes one blueprint map mounted on inside rear cover. Complete. Pages show light rippling here and there; several show mild edgewear. Else clean and sharp. Very good +. Item #19941
An English-language photographic record of the damages wreaked on India's Bengal and North Western Railway by the Nepal-Bihar earthquake of 1934, which remains one of the worst earthquakes in Indian history. As the album's introductory text puts it, "[o]f the 2,100 miles comprising the Bengal and North Western and Tirhur Railways, it may be said that on the 900 miles traversing North Behar and the eastern United Provinces, hardly a mile of track was undisturbed..." Not limited to photos of the track itself, the images show crumbling railroad stations, engine sheds, dwellings (bungalows), and factories adjacent to the railroad, all in various degrees of ruin. The album appears to have been produced for the Railway's own archives, and does not appear in OCLC. As the captions are handwritten, this album is more than likely the only example. An important record of this deadly disaster, which Gandhi famously interpreted as divine retribution for India's failure to abolish the untouchable (dalit) caste.