AWAY from the limelight, the unknown Bengali used skill and ingenuity to create and design.
The Unknown Hall of Fame
* Bepin Behari Das, a self-taught mechanic, manufactured India's first motor car in his small shed. Aptly named Swadeshi, it was a 15-hp, 4-cylinder, 5-seater, touring model car with four doors. Das sold his car to the Benares Hindu University in 1931. Though the vehicle was used by Motilal Nehru in 1933, his endeavour found no financial backing.
* Goluk Chunder, a blacksmith from Titagar, was India's first engineer. In 1838, he built a steam engine. Known as the "machine of fire", it was displayed during the annual exhibition of the Agri-Horticultural Society along with fruits, vegetables and a dairy cow. Chunder was paid Rs 50 for his genius.
* Hemenandramohan Bose was the first in the country to turn out indigenous voice recordings on a commercial scale. His phonographic business, the "Talking Machine Hall", produced records for sale in 1906 during the Swadeshi movement.
* Shiv Chunder Nundy was the first Indian in the telegraph department. He was entrusted with the instruction and training of other signallers. Nundy rendered yeoman's service in constructing telegraph lines and once used fishing boats to lay underwater cables across the Padma river to connect Calcutta with Dhaka.
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