One positive impact and legacy of the British in India was the railways. Said to be the greatest rail network on the Asian continent.
The ‘lifeline of the nation‘ or ‘a nation-building lifeline‘, the Bombay railway covers a city with a population density of 1 million people per square mile, in parts, and is estimated to be the second largest city in the world by 2020. The Bombay railway provides transport for 6.5 million commuters every day.
In 1888, the British built Victoria Terminus, renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (C.S.T.) in 1996, an elegant, cathedral-like railway station in the heart of Bombay. A detailed blog post on C.S.T. will follow.
The BBC broadcast a two-part documentary detailing Bombay’s vast suburban rail network.
Part one focuses on the pressures of the people whose lives revolve around the railway to survive. Not just the railway employees, but the broader system and culture of work which has evolved around the railway. From the illegal hawker to the homeless shoe-shine boy, the documentary highlights the real pressures on everyone involved in the railway.
Part two focuses on the hope and dreams of people who work for the railway. From the senior operations clerk who dreams of making it as a Bollywood star, the entrepreneur striving to make a living providing catering on trains, and Asias first woman loco-diesel driver responsible for finding a wife for her brother, part two continues to highlight the wider impact of the railways in Bombay.
Cover picture credit: BBC
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