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An Airman's Saga

Who was the first man to take a picture of the Taj Mahal from the air?
Probably Captain V. Sundaram, one of the pioneers of aviation in India and the first man to fly extensively over the country. He took the picture of the Taj in 1936 with a Kodak box camera he had bought for eight rupees.
Captain Sundaram became a pilot at the age of 19 and by the time he was 30 he had flown, as he says, "some of the greatest heroes of the day." These included the indomitable Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Sundaram flew the Sardar across the length and breadth of India while the latter was negotiating the merger of hundreds of small princely states with India.
On many of his flights, his wife, Usha, served as co-pilot.
Captain Sundaram tells his story in his engrossing book, "An Airman's Saga," published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He writes simply and lucidly and brings alive a period in which aviation was in its infancy and a joyride in a plane cost as little as Rs.10.
Today the book itself costs Rs.300.


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