WNR.sg - Indian Memory Project: Looking at India's Photo Album
An average Indian’s understanding of regions other than
2008 Started as a facebook group in order to collect wedding
photographs for a coffee table book proposal
Feb. Re-instated most images as INDIAN MEMORY PROJECT
Oct 62 images, 29,750 visitors as of yesterday
Spreading the word
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Covered in almost all publications of India as well as in the
leading publications of the Gulf and the UK
Promoting online subscriptions
Sender must be guardian/owner of the image
Images only before the year 1990. (for now)
Year and Place where image was clicked
Connection to the people or space in image
Details about the space or people in the image, and what you
remember of it.
Why was the picture taken?
Any one else who would know more about the image?
My grandfather, Balwant Goindi, a Sikh and
my grandmother Ram Pyari, a Hindu were
married in 1923.
She was re-named Mohinder Kaur after her
marriage. They went on to have 8 daughters
and 2 sons, one of the daughters is my mother.
Balwant Goindi owned a whiskey shop in
Lahore. (now Pakistan). He was a very wealthy
man and owned a Rolls Royce, which is like
owning a jet these days. During Partition, he
and his family were forced to come to Delhi,
India, without any of his precious belongings;
assuming he would return after the situation
had calmed down. However, that never
happened. Later, he heard that his bungalow
and the shops were burnt down.
My grandparents, Mr. & Mrs.
H.E Chowfin on their wedding
day Dec 28, 1938 in Lahore.
My grandfather Mr. Chowfin
was part Chinese and part
Indian and my grandmother
The bride’s family forgot to
mention his being part chinese
to the receiving party of
Afghani Pathans, at the station.
When the Pathans from the
bride's family went to receive
the groom, they returned
empty handed claiming that
the grooms family had never
arrived, they did mention
though, that there were many
strange chinese people hanging
about at the station.
Madhupriya Chaudhari Sinha
My Grandfather was a very progressive
man. Though he married my grandmother
very young, 17 or 18 I think, he decided not
to have children until she was in her 20s.
As he understood that she was too young
to have kids so early.
While married he went to study Chemistry
in Manchester. I am told, he missed his
boat to the UK at Bombay port, so he took
the next one, hiding in a container.
When he returned he and 2 other
professors joined hands and founded the
Surat University in Gujarat.
The watch that my grandmother proudly
wears in this photograph, was a gift he
bought for her in Manchester.
My maternal grandfather, Narasinhbhai was a
revolutionary man. Records of British India
describe him as the ‘most dangerous man in
Bombay Presidency’. He was exiled from British
India for writing proscribed books. Though the
Maharaja of Baroda clandestinely supported
him. After completing his exile term in Germany
and East Africa, C.F. Andrews persuaded him to
join Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan . He
taught German there for a short time and then
returned to his native town, Kheda in Gujarat
to support Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha and
mobilise people for the same . He became a
leader in the district.
Standing behind him, first from left is his
grandson Dr. Shantibhai Patel who also actively
participated in the freedom struggle and later
became a successful scientist. Narsinhbhai’s
daughter, Shanta Patel (my mother), sits, first
from right with my father G.P.Patel,
standing behind her.
My father, G.P Patel supported my grandfather’s
views, work and philosophy. They all were
followers of Gandhiji.
This picture was taken at a fair in
Surat, Gujarat. It was supposed to
be only a close family photograph,
however, some of our family
friends’ and their families joined in
and this picture was clicked. I
remember it used to be one of the
only places where families, who
couldn’t afford a camera could get a
picture taken. Most of these people
you see in the Photograph, all of
whom are of the last name ‘Patel’,
migrated to USA and New Zealand,
including my family. I was around
three or four years old in the
picture (top left, as a baby). Almost
all of the Patels in the picture now
own and run businesses like Pizza
Parlours, Liquor Stores, Motels,
Hotels or work in the IT industry.
My parents and I too live in
Rockdale, Texas, USA and run a
hotel called Rockdale Inn.
I was born in this house in 1923 and we lived there
until 1941. My uncle was a barrister, then a Solicitor,
(Partner in Payne and Co. Solicitors), and still later,
High Court Receiver.
The most distinguished Barrister at the High Court in
Bombay, Inverarity , was my uncle’s friend, and often
spent days in this house. At one stage he is said to have
suffered losses in investment and I heard that he made
a bonfire in my uncle’s garden of his investment
certificates. If I am not mistaken he died while I was an
infant. Whether he died in Scotland or in India, I am
50 or 60 years ago, this bungalow, which stands
behind the Taj Hotel in Bandra, along with 8000 sq.
yds. of land and a cottage on an elevated part was sold
for Rs. 3 lakhs, without the furniture, which had been
imported from Vienna. A lot of the furniture was then
bought by Maharani Chimnabai Gaekwad of Baroda
sometime in the early 1940s.
The old bungalow was purchased by the Priests of the
Order of Pilar and now houses the Father Agnel
Ashram. There is a Church within it, and on the land
are many educational institutions.
Feroza H Seervai
Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu, or C.K. Nayudu, as he is
better known, was born in Nagpur in October 1895.
He made his debut in first class cricket in 1916,
playing for the Hindus against the Europeans. He
played cricket regularly until 1958, and then
returned to the game for one last time in 1963 at the
age of 68. He moved to Indore in 1923, on the
invitation of Maharaja Holkar and would transform
the Holkar team into one that would win many Ranji
trophies. Nayudu was the first captain of the Indian
cricket team to play England in 1932. His playing
career spanned six decades.
This picture was found in an old family album
belonging to my uncle, Madhukar Dravid. My great-
uncles Vasant Dravid and Narayan Dravid were
great friends of Nayudu and his brother C.S.
This picture was taken by my great-uncle, Late
Vasant Dravid who is some manner also related to
The year the photograph was taken is not known,
but my uncle puts it around 1940.
Here, Shanta Bhandarkar, my mother in law, is
photographed as a baby with her English Mother
Louisa Bishop, and father Dr Vasudev Sukhtankar
(turban) and her uncle. Bombay, in 1910.
Shanta Bhandarkar, my Mother in Law, turned 100 on
February 25, 2010. On the occasion of her birthday our
family gifted her an album with a collection of these
old photographs, one of which is this image.
Her father became the Director of Education, Indore
State, 1926. ‘Ajoba’ as we called him, was a PhD in
Sanskrit and Philosophy from Germany and also a
staunch Brahmo Samaji (followers of one god with no
Shanta doesn’t have very good short term memory, but
her long term memory is sharp. She remembers details
like her mother’s Christmas Pudding and the cakes
that they used to bake. She studied at Sommerville,
Oxford , UK and has travelled the world extensively.
My mother Anupa Jacob (right) and her closest friend
Shalini studied at the Convent of Jesus & Mary in Delhi.
They were 15 years old here. My mother was a Rajasthani,
from a small town of Nasirabad. Her father was orphaned
when a plague hit the village. He along with many others
were then adopted by the British. Everyone adopted was
converted to Christianity and given the last name
‘Nathaniel’. From Nathu Singh, my grandfather became
Fazal Masih Nathaniel. He went on to become the Head of
the English Language Department at well known Mayo
My mother married my father Philip Jacob, in 1968. He is a
Syrian Christian - whom she met while she was studying at
school, he was studying at St. Columba’s School.
One of the most interesting parts of my mother’s life was
that Shalini, some other friends and she, formed the first
ever Delhi University‘s Girl Rock Band called “Mad Hatter”
in their 1st year of college at Miranda House, Delhi.
My mother was the lead guitarist and singer. Because of
that status, when the Beatles performed in Delhi in 1966,
the Mad Hatters were given front seats priority.
My mother had 4 kids. She was also a piano teacher. My
youngest sister Arunima is autistic but learnt music from
my mother, she is an ace piano player and has performed
Beethoven Music pieces with complete accuracy.
My mother suffered a cardiac arrest in 1982, and passed
away in 1986. Shalini Gupta, my mother’s friend in the
photograph (left) is now a psychologist in London.