Books

A few of my books

Halt Station India

It’s the story of how the line came up to become India’s first railway line and to grow into the 7 million passengers that if ferries today. It is the story of each station and the relics of that glorious era that are still lying around at those stations. It’s the story of Bombay railway..the lifeline of now Mumbai city.

Halt Station India chronicles the dramatic rise of India’s original rail network, the arrival of the first train, and the subsequent emergence of a pioneering electric line—all in the port city of Bombay. Trains that once provoked awe and fear—they were viewed as fire chariots, smoke-spewing demons—have today become a nation’s lifeblood. 

Taking a walk along India’s first rail lines, the author stumbles upon fragments of the past—a clock at Victoria Terminus that offers a rare view of a city; a cannon near Masjid Bunder Station that is worshipped as a god; a watchtower overlooking Sion Station, believed to have housed a witch. Each pit-stop comes with stories of desire and war, ambition and death—by Dockyard Road Station, for instance, author Laurence Sterne’s beloved, Eliza Draper, followed a sailor into the sea; or close to Parel Station, the wife of India’s governor general, Lord Canning found a garden rich in tropical vegetation; this, she replicated at Barrackpore.

Drawing from journals, biographies, newspapers and railway archives—and with nostalgic, first-time accounts of those who travelled by India’s earliest trains—the book captures the economic and social revolutions spurred by the country’s first train line. In this, Halt Station India is not just about the railways—it is the story of the growth of India’s business capital and a rare study of a nation.

India’s Railway Man

India’s Railway Man is the only biography of India’s iconic railway engineer Dr E Sreedharan endorsed by himself. Padmabhushan and Padmavibhushan Dr Sreedharan, who pioneered the Metro Rail network in India and the Konkan Railway, has been an inspiration for one and all.
Spending time with Dr E Sreedharan in Ponnani in Kerala was the biggest honour of my lifetime. It was a learning process to learn about this icon. I wrote this book out of curiosity. One of the things that fascinated me about this person was that he has built India’s most iconic projects like the Konkan Railway, the Delhi Metro and numerous other metro lines within budget and deadlines. 

How does this one man always succeed? What is the secret? Discipline, integrity, hard work and commitment. His biography that I have written shares secrets of his success, his battles at various levels and his regrets.

In the process, I found he is also one of the most hated guys in the railways. There’s a separate chapter on that too with Sreedharan’s views on his criticism. The best part is Dr Sreedharan sir has himself read the work and endorsed it. The book includes a signed note from him. The book was launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu at Rail Bhavan, New Delhi, in February 2017.

It is now available across the world in print edition at book-stores and on-line at discount. An e-book edition in Kindle format is also available on Amazon.in, just for Rs 85.

A Short History of Railways

Indian Railways History Through Anecdotes– The book is an unparalleled attempt to write the history of Indian Railways just through anecdotes, making it lighter, engaging and engrossing.

With nuggets right from 1830s to the making of the new high-speed ‘Train 18’ and the Modi’s ambitious Bullet Train, the book takes you on a quick time travel through stories.

Titled A Short History of Indian Railways, the new book by Rajendra B. Aklekar is a compilation of carefully curated stories woven together to narrate the history of Indian Railways. With a foreword by Sir Mark Tully, the book has been published by one of India’s prestigious publications, Rupa Books.

 
कहाणी पहिल्या आगीनगाडीची
Marathi translation of
Halt Station India

भारतात १८५३मध्ये पहिली रेल्वे धावली. या शोधाने भारतीय जनजीवनाचा चेहरामोहरा बदलला. या पहिल्या आगीनगाडीच्या आगमनाची कहाणी अनेकानेक रोचक गोष्टींनी भरलेली आहे. . रेल्वेच्या विस्तारित जाळ्याबरोबरच अनुषंगिक प्रसंग,रेल्वे स्थानकाच्या निर्मितीचा इतिहास आणि त्या संदर्भातील छोटे उपकथानक या सर्वांचा रोचक, ऐतिहासिक वृत्तान्त या पुस्तकात समाविष्ट आहे. मुंबईतलं पहिलं वाफेचं इंजिन,आगगाडीला भुताटकी समजणारा भोळा समाज आणि त्यावेळच्या गमतीजमतींसह तत्कालीन अद्भुत व चित्ताकर्षक तपशीलवार गोष्टींमुळे त्या सोनेरी दिवसांचं चित्रच जणू डोळ्यांसमोर उभं राहातं.