Friday, February 24, 2017

Kacheguda Railway Station Goes Digital! – First in the Country!

The Kacheguda railway station has achieved the unique distinction of becoming the first railway terminal in the country with 100% digital payment. Passengers can buy tickets, book parcels, hire retiring rooms or buy articles from vendors online. Proud of this implementation and the distinction it brought to my city. Kacheguda Railway Station is one of the three Central Stations in Hyderabad City. It is operated by the South Central Railway Zone of Indian Railways.
Kacheguda Railway Station was constructed in 1916, by the Nizam of the erstwhile Hyderabad State, this Station was the Headquarters of H.E.H. The Nizam’s State Railway. Endowed with central and side domes and accompanying minarets, this station has aspects of Gothic style architecture. The station handles trains originating for Indore, Bhopal, Aurangabad, Tirupati, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Nanded, Nizamabad, Mangalore, and more. Housing many modern passenger amenities, this station now serves as the Headquarters station of the Hyderabad railway division of South Central Railway. The recently constructed terminus building houses a miniature Rail Museum and branded outlets like Cafe Coffee Day, Food Courts, Cloak Rooms, Convenient Stores, Medical outlets, State of the art fully air-conditioned dormitories and other services.

Remembering a King, his reign and his life.

Today is the 50th death anniversary of His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VII, Muzaffarul- Mulk-Wal-Mumilak, Nizam-ul- Mulk, Nizam ud Daula Nawab Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, Sipah Saula, Fateh Jung, Nizam of Hyderabad and of Berar, Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Honorable General in the Army, Faithful Ally of the British Government.
In short he was addressed as His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad.  He was born on 6th April 1886 and died on 24th February 1967. He was the last ruler of the Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar, which he ruled for 37 years from 1911 to 1948. And on 17th September 1948, he surrendered his kingdom to the Indian Union.  His kingdom covered an area of 214,190 sq. Kms. that is almost the size of Great Britain. During his reign he was declared as the richest man in the world.
My father was an Officer in H.E.H. The Nizam’s State Railway for 12 years and as Hyderabad was acceded to the Indian Union; it became a part of Indian Railways. It is only the old timers of Hyderabad and his kingdom who remember him now. Not much is discussed about him these days. When he died I was studying 10th Class. For many days thereafter there was lot of news of him, his life and his rule. That is how I know much about him and of all the good he has done to Hyderabad and his kingdom. Thereafter I have collected a number of books on the history of Hyderabad, in each of those books he is covered and projected very prominently.
I remember him today with all admiration for his good deeds. Those of you who do not know much about him may click on the following Wikipedia link to get a proper introduction: 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Buddhism in Telangana.

This month, February is full of news about Buddhism, in Hyderabad. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was here on 12th February for the Ground-Breaking Ceremony of the new South Asia Hub of the ‘Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values’ at HITEX Arena in Madhapur. You can read about this ceremony and the speech by His Holiness the Dalai Lama by clicking on the following link: Public Talk. And now the Telangana Tourism Department is holding a two-day international conference on ‘Global celebration on Buddhist heritage in Telangana’ from tomorrow that is from 23rd to 24th February. The Telangana chief minister will inaugurate the event, which will be attended by international delegates from 16 countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, USA and Vietnam among many others and 171 delegates from across India. The event will start with chanting by Sangh at Buddha statue at Tank Bund followed by exhibition on Buddhist theme, presentation by tourism department on Buddhavanam and sessions on Telangana Buddhism. On Day 2, panel discussions on 'Different countries on Buddhist history and experiences of different countries on Buddhism' will be held followed by cultural program in the evening.
The event is also aimed to promote the Buddhavanam project. The Buddhavanam project is a much delayed theme park coming up on a 275 acre land at Nagarjuna Sagar by the Central government, under which a great monument including museum, auditorium and meditation centre is being built. The dome of monument will have different types of Buddha sculptures. As part of this, Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation is also expediting the project. It will focus on the Buddhist heritage of the state. It is nearing completion in the next six months. The celebrations also include field visits to Buddhavanam project and Nagarjuna konda. The tourism department will also unveil a documentary film on Buddhism in Telangana along with art works and handicrafts, Buddhist theme photo exhibition and book stalls.
Today Buddhists are a microscopic minority in Telangana but in ancient times Buddhism flourished in Telangana. Most people are only aware of the historical Buddhist town of Nagarjuna Konda, an island in Nagarjuna Sagar Dam catchment area, about 160 kms from Hyderabad. In ancient times this area was known as Sri Parvata. Sri Nagarjuna, the South Indian master of Mahayana Buddhism lived here in the 2nd century AD. He was responsible for the Buddhist activity in this area. This was the location of many Buddhist universities and monasteries, attracting students from as far as China and Sri Lanka. Innumerable archaeological findings in this area are now housed in the museum at Nagarjuna Konda. Apart from this site; adjoining Nalgonda district of Telangana, there are many other sites in Telangana State which establish the presence and popularity of Buddhism in ancient times. And fresh evidence keeps cropping up from time to time.
Buddhism flourished between 1st Century and 4th Century BC in several places of Telangana. Some popular Buddhist sites in Telangana are Badankurthi, a remote village on the banks of River Godavari near Khanapur in Nirmal district, Bodhan in Nizamabad district, Kotilingala, Dharmapuri, Dhoolikatta and Peddabankuru in Karimnagar district, Phanigiri, Gajula Banda, Tirumalagiri, Vardhamanakota, Chada, Nagaram and Singaram in Suryapet district and Nelakondapalli in Khammam district. There is enormous history behind the excavations and findings in these areas. I am glad that there is a serious move to research and bring out the ancient history of Buddhism in Telangana.
Here are pictures of us at Bodh Gaya, Amaravati, Miyajima and Hiroshima-Japan, Ananda Buddha Vihaar Shrine and Giant Buddha Statue at Tank Bund, Hyderabad, to showcase our interest in Buddhism:

My grandson dressed as a Buddhist monk – a video:

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...