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‘Time-Sense’: Railways and Temporality in Colonial India*

  • RITIKA PRASAD (a1)
Abstract

This paper traces the establishment of standardized railway time in colonial India between 1854 and 1905, and explores how the colonized—as passengers and population—negotiated the temporal re-structuring introduced through railways. Millions were affected by the process through which the time of a single meridian was selected as an all-India railway time, and gradually deemed civil time, continuing even today as Indian Standard Time. The paper explores everyday responses to this dramatic change in ‘time-sense’ engendered through railways, both as speedy transport and as standardized time. This allows for a historical analysis of how individuals and societies deal in practice with abstract technological transformations, and of how colonized populations have navigated the modernizing intervention of imperialist states. It argues that the ways in which the population of colonial India accepted, contested, and appropriated the temporal standardization instituted through railways and railway time challenged imperial policies determined by reified presumptions of metropolitan versus colonial ‘time-sense’. Since these responses were often analogous to how people and societies across the globe were responding to temporal standardization, they disrupt imperial strategies that used time-sense to locate colonized populations outside of History, in effect excluding them from their own present. They thus serve to materially de-stabilize a narrative of colonial time-lag and to reclaim the historical present as a time in which the colonizer and colonized exist contemporaneously. Consequently, they reconfigure modernity as an experiential rather than as a normative historical present.

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I am grateful to my colleagues at UNC Charlotte and to the Modern Asian Studies’ reviewers for their careful reading of the draft; also to John David Smith and David Gilmartin for their generosity and advice.

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1 Kipling, Rudyard, Kim (London: Penguin, 1989) [1901], p. 74.

2 The meetings were against the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act which allowed the imperial government to retain coercive powers assumed under the Defence of India Act (1915). The prosecution argued that the meetings of 12 and 13 April were central in Gujranwala's decision to replicate the violence exhibited earlier in the city of Amritsar. Government of India, Legislative Department, Indian Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860): modified to 1 May, 1896 (Calcutta: Superintendant of Government printing, 1896), p. 66. M. K. Gandhi, ‘Jagannath's Case’, Young India, 30 July 1919, reproduced in idem, Law and the Lawyers, compiled and edited by S. B. Kher (Ahmedabad: Navjivan, 1962), pp. 71–74.

3 Gandhi, ‘Jagannath's Case’, pp. 71–74.

4 See, for instance, Carter's, IanRailways and Culture in Britain: The Epitome of Modernity (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001).

5 Andrew, W. P., Indian Railways and their Probable Results, with Maps and an Appendix Containing Statistics of Internal and External Commerce of India (London: T. C. Newby, 1848 [1846]), preface, p. vii.

6 In 1919–1920, India had a railway network of 36,616 miles, on which roughly 520 million passengers had travelled. Statistical Abstracts relating to British India: 1910–11 to 1919–20 (London: HMSO, 1922), p. 138. The initial commercial line from Bombay to Thana became operational in 1853. Railway construction was undertaken by private, London-based firms, with capital raised predominantly from British investors. The East Indian Railway Company (EIR) and the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company (GIPR), both formed in 1845, were the early entrants. The British East India Company leased to them for 99 years all land required for railways without charge, and guaranteed a five per cent return on stockholder investment. The enterprise was private, though the Government of India possessed extensive powers over railway planning, finances, and execution. Kerr, Ian J., Building the Railways of the Raj (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 1819.

7 Increasing from 0.8 million in 1855, to 3.9 million in 1860, to 26.8 million in 1875, to 80.9 million in 1885, to 153 million in 1895. (The estimated population of India in 1901 was 294 million.) Statistical abstracts relating to British India: from 1840 to 1865 (London: HMSO, 1867), p. 58; from 1860 to 1869 (London: HMSO, 1870), p. 30; from 1867/8 to 1876/7 (London: HMSO, 1878), p. 90; from 1876/7 to 1885/6 (London: HMSO, 1887), p. 178; from 1894–95 to 1903–04 (London: HMSO, 1905), p. 138; from 1903–04 to 1912–13, p. 136.

8 Thorner, Daniel, Investment in Empire: British Railway and Steam Shipping Enterprise in India 1825–1849 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1950); idem, ‘Capital Movement and Transportation: Great Britain and the Development of India's Railways’, Journal of Economic History 11: 4 (Autumn 1951): pp. 389–402. Kerr, Building the Railways of the Raj. Also, Macpherson, W. J., ‘Economic Development in India under the British Crown, 1858–1947’, in Economic Development in the Long Run, ed. Youngson, J. A. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1972); Macpherson, W. J., ‘The Pattern of Railway Development in India’, Far Eastern Quarterly XIV (1995); Derbyshire, I. D., ‘Economic Change and the Railways in North India’, Modern Asian Studies 21: 3 (1987); Hurd, John M., ‘Railways’, in Cambridge Economic History of India, vol. 2: circa1757–circa 1970, ed., Kumar, Dharma (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Mukherjee, Mukul, ‘Railways and their Impact on Bengal's Economy, 1870–1920’, Indian Economic and Social History Review XVII: 2 (1980). An early essay by Dipesh Chakrabarty probed the Bengal Renaissance through the views held by Bengali intellectuals about the introduction of railways: ‘The Colonial Context of the Bengal Renaissance: Early Railway Thinking in Bengal’, Indian Economic Social History Review, January 1974, vol. 11: pp. 192–106.

9 Goswami, Manu, Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), pp. 104, 117; Bear, Laura, Lines of the Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy, and the Intimate Historical Self (Columbia: New York, 2007).

10 Kerr, Ian J., ‘Representation and Representations of the Railways of Colonial and Post-Colonial South Asia’, Modern Asian Studies, 37: 2 (May, 2003), pp. 287326.Aguiar's, MarianTracking Modernity: India, Trains, and the Culture of Mobility (University of Minnesota, 2010) explores representation of railway spaces.

11 Kerr, Ian J., ed., 27 Down: New Departures in Indian Railway Studies (Orient Longman, 2007). This is in addition to his earlier anthology titled Railways in Modern India (Delhi: Oxford, University Press, 2005), which had brought together both primary sources and existing scholarship on railway history.

12 Gallison, Peter, ‘Einstein's Clocks: The Place of Time’, Critical Enquiry: 26: 2 (winter 2000): pp. 355389, quote p. 361.

13 Thompson, E. P., ‘Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism’, Past and Present, vol. 38 (December 1967): pp. 5997.

14 Landes, David S., Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983), p. 94; Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986 [1977]), pp. 4344; Presner, Todd S., Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 6162. Eviatar Zerubavel points out that while the British mail-coach service, which started in 1748, nudged some towards recognizing the need for standardization, yet: ‘It was not until the introduction of railway transportation, which affected a much wider population, that the need for introducing a uniform standard of time at a supra-local level became crucial’ (p. 6). ‘The Standardization of Time: A Socio-historical Perspective’, American Journal of Sociology 88:1 (July 1982): pp. 1–23. According to Ian Bartky, discussions about standardization of time in north America resulted from the scientific pursuits which in the 1870s required ‘simultaneous observations from scattered points’. However, he continues by saying that in response to pressures from scientists, railroad superintendents and managers implemented a standard time system on 18 November 1883. ‘The Adoption of Standard Time’, Technology and Culture 30:1 (January 1989): pp. 25–56, quote on p. 25.

15 The difference calculable in complete hours. Later, for India, the half-hour was accepted.

16 Fabian, Johannes, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object (New York: Columbia, 2000 [1983]), quotes on pp. x, 23, 31, 32.

17 Ibid., p. 31. See also Gupta, Akhil and Ferguson, James, eds, Culture, Power and Place, Explorations in Critical Anthropology (London: Duke, 1997); Giddens, Anthony, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), p. 174; and Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).

18 See Prathma Banerjee's discussion of History-writing in Politics of Time: ‘Primitives’ and History-writing in a Colonial Society (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 4.

19 Thapar, Romila, Time as a Metaphor of History: Early India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), especially pp. 46. Also Inden, Ronald, Imagining India (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002 [1990]), and Marshall, Peter, ed., The British Discovery of Hinduism in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970).

20 Fabian, Time and the Other, p. 30.

21 Thapar points out that secularization of time in western Europe was a nineteenth-century phenomenon; furthermore, that cyclic and linear time were both used in India, depending on function. Thus, whilst cyclic time was part of the cosmology in early Indian texts such as the Mahabharata, the Dharma-shastra of Manu and the Vishnu Purana, it co-existed with linear conceptions of time. For instance, the Vishnu Purana itself had a section on genealogies and dynasties premised on linear conceptions of time. Thapar, Time as a Metaphor, pp. 4–6; idem, , Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004 [2002]), p. 37. See also Kern, Stephen, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), especially pp. 1035; and Lefebvre's, HenriThe Production of Space, tr. by Nicholson-Smith, Donald (Blackwell, 1991), pp. 2223. Internal colonization of varying notions of temporality in metropolitan contexts is analogous to the broader argument made by Ashis Nandy about imperialism involving ‘internal’ colonization (of difference) in metropolitan contexts before it expanded outwards. Cf. The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983).

22 Home: Railway A, 4 August 1854, no. 57, National Archives of India, Delhi (NAI); Home: Railway, 4 August 1854, no. 58, NAI; Statistical abstract from 1840 to 1865, p. 58.

23 J. J. Pears, Consulting Engineer for Railways (Fort St George), to Chief Secretary, Fort St George, 12 September 1854, in Home: Railway A, 15 September 1854, nos 89–91, NAI; Captain Crawford, Superintending Engineer for Railways (Bombay) to H. E. Goldsmith, Chief Secretary, Government of Bombay, 21 August, 1854, in Home: Railway A, 15 September 1854, nos 60–61, NAI.

24 Pears to Chief Secretary, 15 September 1854. In the 1840s, English railway companies standardized time, each on its own line, with no attempt to co-ordinate the efforts. However, five years after the formation of the Railway Clearing House (1842), it was suggested in 1847 that Greenwich Mean Time be introduced as the standard time on all lines. Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, pp. 43–44.

25 J. C. Batchelor, Traffic Manager, EIR to E. Palmer, Agent, EIR, 31 July 1862, in Public Works Department (PWD): Railway, 15 August 1862, nos 26–28, NAI. He suggested Jubbulpoor time, midway between Calcutta and Bombay.

26 E. Palmer, Agent, EIR to Secretary, PWD, 4 August 1862, in PWD: Railway, 15 August 1862, nos 26–28, NAI.

27 PWD: Railway, 15 August 1862, nos 26–28, NAI; and PWD: Railway, April 1862, nos 78–81, NAI.

28 Secretary of State for India to Government of India, 17 November 1864, in PWD: Railway, February 1865, nos 14–15, NAI; also PWD: Railway, June 1864, no. 49, NAI.

29 Government of India to Secretary of State for India, 17 November 1865, in PWD: Railway, February 1865, nos 14–15, NAI. The Government of India informed the Secretary of State of their 1864 decision in a letter dated 13 June 1864; the latter expressed his objection in a letter dated 17 November 1864; and the Government of India responded in a letter dated 17 November 1865.

30 PWD Circular (no. 7): To Governments of Madras, Bombay, North West Provinces and Punjab; Chief Commissioners of Oudh and Central Provinces; Agent to Governor-General, Central India and Rajputana, 16 April 1864, in PWD: Railway, April 1864, nos 78–81, NAI. Cecil Stephenson to Deputy Consulting Engineer, Government of Bengal (Railway), 19 May 1865, in PWD: Railway, July 1865, nos 25–27, NAI.

31 J. Hovenden, Assistant Secretary, Government of Bengal (PWD: Railway), to Secretary, Government of India (PWD), 1 June 1865, in PWD: Railway, July 1865, nos 25–27, NAI. C.H. Dickens, Secretary, Government of India (PWD), to Joint Secretary, Government of Bengal (PWD: Railway), 5 July 1865, in PWD: Railway, July 1865, nos 25–27, NAI.

32 E. Palmer, Chairman, Board of Agency, East India Railway, to Consulting Engineer, Government of Bengal (Railway), 16 April 1867, in PWD: Railway A, June 1867, nos 128–31, NAI.

33 The 121 miles of 1855 stood at 1,311 miles (in Bengal and the Northwest Provinces) by 1867, an increase of over 900 per cent. Statistical abstracts from 1840 to 1865, p. 58; Statistical Abstracts from 1860 to 1869, pp. 30–31.

34 Deputy Consulting Engineer, Government of Bengal (Railway), 22 April 1867, in PWD: Railway A, June 1867, nos 128–31, NAI.

35 Assistant Secretary, Government of Bengal (PWD: Railway) to Secretary, Government of India (PWD), 23 April 1867, in PWD: Railway A, June 1867, nos 128–31, NAI.

36 C. H. Dickens, Secretary, Government of India (PWD) to Joint Secretary, Government of Bengal (Railway), 21 June 1867, in PWD: Railway A, June 1867, nos 128–31, NAI.

37 Zerubavel, ‘Standardization’, p. 5.

38 Using Walter Benjamin's notion of aura in ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936): Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, p. 42.

39 Defining modernity as a particular ‘Western project’ seeking to universalize itself: (Consequences of Modernity, pp. 17–20), Giddens follows Jürgen Habermas’ argument that modernization ‘dissociates modernity from its modern European origins and stylizes it into a spatio-temporally neutral model for processes of social development’. Habermas, Jürgen, Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, trans. Frederick Lawrence, (Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2000), p. 2.

40 Zerubavel, ‘Standardization’, pp. 16–19.

41 Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, pp. 43–44.

42 Jim Masselos traces the actual complexity of reactions and discussion—especially to the question of civil time being synchronized with railway time—in the city of Bombay in his piece ‘Bombay Time’, in Kosambi, Meera, ed., Intersections: Socio-Cultural Trends in Maharashtra (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2000), pp. 161186.

43 Statistical Abstracts: from 1840 to 1865, p. 58; from 1860 to 1869, pp. 30–31. The post-1857/8 government's reluctance to interfere in aspects deemed as ‘customary’ to Indian society can be read through Partha Chatterjee's discussion of ‘inner’ domains (though he himself does not focus on time) in The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 6–13.

44 Mentioned in PWD: Railway, April 1870, nos 136–137, NAI.

45 Note from Colonel Kennedy (Bombay) to Major Williams (Madras), 28 March 1870, and Resolution by the Government of India PWD, 28 March 1870, both in PWD: Railway, April 1870, nos 136–137, NAI.

46 Office Note, 1 November 1890, in PWD: Railway Traffic, February 1891, nos. 39–43, NAI. Masselos’ ‘Bombay Time’ depicts some of the effects of different railway and civil time in the city of Bombay. Burma kept Rangoon time.

47 Fleming, Sanford, Memorandum on Reckoning Time on a Scientific Basis, 20 November 1889 (Ottawa), in PWD: Railway Traffic, February 1891, nos 39–43, NAI.

49 Landes, Revolution in Time, 286; Kern, Nature of Time and Space.

50 In the report by Allen, William F., Permanent Secretary of the Railroad's General Time Convention (1872–85). Bartky, ‘Adoption of Standard Time’, pp. 4247, footnote 65.

51 Office Note, 22 December 1890, in PWD: Railway Traffic, February 1891, nos 39–43, NAI.

52 On a Proposal for an Indian Standard Time, Enclosure to letter from J. Wilson, Secretary, Government of India (Revenue and Agriculture), Circular 7–48-2 (Meteorology), 13 July 1904, in PWD: Railway Traffic A, India Proceedings, IOR/P/6846, British Library, London (BL).

53 Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Note on Standard Time, 10 November 1898, in PWD: Railway Traffic A, India Proceedings, IOR/P/5682, BL.

54 Government of India (Revenue and Agriculture) to George F. Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, 10 August 1899, in PWD: Railway Traffic A, India Proceedings, IOR/P/5682, BL.

55 Quote in reply of Manager and Engineer, Bengal Provincial Railway, to the Secretary to the Government of Bengal, Railway Department, 5 September 1904, in PWD: Railway Traffic A, January 1905, nos 32–46, India Proceedings, IOR/P/7086, BL.

56 Agent, GIPR to Consulting Engineer (Railways), 7 October 1904, in PWD: Railway Traffic A, January 1905, nos 32–46, India Proceedings, IOR/P/7086, BL.

57 Government of India Circular 7–71-22 from J. Wilson, Officiating Secretary to the Government of India, 27 May 1905, in Home: Public A, July 1905, nos 200–201, NAI; PWD: Railway Traffic A, January 1905, nos 32–46, IOR/P/7086, BL.

58 Government of India Circular 7–71-22 from J. Wilson, Officiating Secretary to the Government of India, 27 May 1905; Statement Exhibiting Moral and Material Progress of India during 1904–05 (London, HMSO, 1906), p. 132. Excluded were ‘small local [railway] lines where the change would be inconvenient’. Burma's standard time was 6½ hours ahead of Greenwich and 5 minutes and 23 seconds earlier than Rangoon time. This new all-India railway time was also meant for telegraphs.

59 Lefebvre, Henri, Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, tr. by Elden, Stuart and Moore, Gerald (New York: Continuum, 2004 [1985]), p. 76.

60 General Manager and Chief Engineer, Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway to Secretary, Government of Bengal (Railway), 24 August 1904, PWD: Railway Traffic A, January 1905, nos 32–46, India Proceedings, IOR/P/7086, BL.

61 Emphasis added.

62 Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, Indira (1873), tr., Maddern, Marian, The Bankimchandra Omnibus, vol. 1 (New Delhi: Penguin, 2005), pp. 253338, quotation, p. 255.

63 Bankim, Indira, pp. 265–269. This journey by boat when Indira is on her way to Calcutta is bracketed by two journeys on a palanquin: first when she travels from her parental home to her in-law's house (pp. 261–264); and then at the conclusion, when she returns with her husband to her in-law's house (p. 333).

64 Chattopadhyay, Bankimchandra, ‘Bengal's Peasants’, in Sociological Essays: Utilitarianism and Positivism in Bengal, English translation by Mukherjee, S. N. and Maddern, Marian (Calcutta, Rddhi, 1986), pp. 116117, emphasis added.

65 Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, p. 35.

66 Presner, Mobile Modernity, pp. 59–65; quotations, p. 61.

67 Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, p. 37. This ‘anxiety’ is separate from the critique of railways (and industrialization more generally) that was found in the work of John Ruskin and William Morris.

68 Mukherjee, Meenakshi, Realism and Reality: The Novel and Society in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 16.

69 Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought, p. 50.

70 Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, p. 8; idem, ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for Indian Pasts?’ Representations no. 37 (winter 1992): pp. 1–26.

71 Husain, Intizar, ‘Kataa Hua Dabba’ (1954), tr. Menon, Muhammad Umar, ‘A Stranded Railroad Car,’ in idem, ed., The Colour of Nothingness: Modern Urdu Short Stories (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006 [1998]), pp. 2536, quotes on pp. 25–26.

72 Ibid., p. 26.

74 In a tone remarkably similar to Sahib, Mirza, Ruskin, John had written: ‘The whole system of railway travel is addressed to people who, being in a hurry, are therefore, for the time being, miserable. No one would travel in that manner who could help it’. The Seven Lamps of Architecture (Mineola, New York: Dover, 1989 [2nd ed., 1880), p. 121.

75 Schivelbusch, Railway Journey, p. 121.

76 Statistical Abstracts: from 1840 to 1865, pp. 58–59; from 1894–95 to 1903–04, pp. 138–141; from 1903–04 to 1912–13, pp. 136–139.

77 Gandhi, M. K., ‘What to do When One Loses Temper’, Navjivan, 20 February1921, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG), vol. xix: November 1920-April 1922, (Ahmedabad: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1966), pp. 373375; quote on p. 373.

78 The examples are strewn through the voluminous CWMG. However, as an anecdote it is worth mentioning that when the Kohat disturbances threatened to become a conflagration, Gandhi suggested to Shaukat Ali that they travel together to Delhi since ‘[t]he train seems to be the best place for such a discussion.’ Letter to Shaukat Ali, 23 February 23, 1925, CWMG, vol. xxvi: January-April 1925, (Ahmedabad: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1967), pp. 190–191.

79 de Certeau, Michel, The Practice of Everyday Life, tr. Rendell, Steven (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). The consumer thus reclaims the meaning of the text/action from that authorized by the producer.

80 ‘The Traffic of the Bombay Railway’, Friend of India, 9 February 1854.

81 One of the earliest railway timetables in India, for the Bombay-Thana-Bombay run of the GIPR, which was published less than two weeks after the first passenger train in India had been inaugurated on 16 April 1853, shows: trains leave Bombay for Thana at 6.30 a.m. and 4.0 p.m., whilst those returning to Bombay, left Thana at 8.45 a.m. and 6.5 p.m. The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce, 29 April 1853.

82 Except for the Madras railway, scheduled to change from 1 October 1890. Fleming, Memorandum on Reckoning Time, 20 November 1889. The system was being used for telegraphs from the 1860s: see Lieutenant Colonel C. Douglas, Director General of Telegraphs in India, to E. C. Bayly, Secretary, Government of India, 3 September 1862, in PWD: Railway, 15 August 1862, nos 26–28, NAI; and Office Note, 4 December 1890, in PWD: Railway Traffic, February 1891, nos. 39–43, NAI. The change had almost certainly taken effect before the Washington Conference assembled. Rule I (a) of the proceedings of the Railway Conference of September 1882 in Home: Public B, October 1882, nos 143–44, NAI.

83 Fleming, Memorandum on Reckoning Time, 20 November 1889.

84 Ibid., Memorandum, 20 November 1889.

85 Once a Week, March 1861, p. 273, Appendix C in PWD: Railway, 15 August 1862, nos 26–28, NAI. Several of the early timetables using 12 noon have been reproduced in Lee, Charles E., The Centenary of Bradshaw (London: Railway Gazette, 1940), pp. 1823.

86 Once a Week, March 1861, p. 273.

87 Petition by the British Indian Association, North-West Provinces, to Viceroy of India, Aligarh, 16 October 1866, in Home: Public B, December 1866, nos 50–51, NAI.

88 Emphasis added.

89 ‘It is not every person who can say at once whether five minutes past twelve at night is A.M. or P.M.; and no wonder, for first of all these expressions are Latin abbreviations’, Once a Week, March 1861, p. 273.

90 Petition by the British Indian Association, 16 October 1866.

91 Gandhi, M. K., ‘Time Sense’, Young India, 6 November 1924, CWMG, vol. xxv: August 1924-January 1925, (Ahmedabad: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1967) pp. 285–86.

92 Gandhi, ‘Time Sense’, emphasis added.

93 Panjáb-i-Akhbár (Lahore), 5 August 1871, Selections from Vernacular Newspapers in Punjab, North-Western Provinces, Oudh and Central Provinces (NNR: NWP).

94 Railway Conference, September 1882, Home: Public B, October 1882, nos 143–44, NAI.

95 In particular, representatives of the SPD, Eastern Bengal, Oudh and Rohilkhand, Madras, South India and Great Indian Peninsular railways.

96 Note by Traffic Manager, SPDR, Railway Conference, Simla, September 1882.

97 Delegate for Eastern Bengal Railway, Railway Conference, Simla, September 1882.

98 Andhrabhashasanjivani (Masulipatna), no. 12 of December 1882, in Report on Telegu newspapers for December 1882, in Report on Native Newspapers in the Madras Presidency (NNR: Madras).

99 Letters to the Home Government, no. 52 of 30 October 1857, Railway General Letters, 1852–61, NAI.

100 Koh-i-Núr (Lahore), 17 August 1872, NNR: NWP.

101 Sulabha Samachar (Calcutta), 15 January 1881, in Selections from Vernacular Newspaper in Bengal (NNR: Bengal); Burdwan Sanjivani (Burdwan), 9 April 1895 (NNR: Bengal); Kerala Patrika, (Calicut), 18 February 1888 (NNR: Madras); Swadeshamitran (Madras), 21 May 1890 (NNR: Madras).

102 The improved communication with Calcutta made Howrah a suburb of Calcutta, ‘enabl[ing] many of the people employed in the metropolis to reside on the right bank of the Hooghly’. Imperial Gazetteer of India: vol. XIII (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908), pp. 213–214. There is evidence of a pattern of daily and weekly ‘commuters’ in disparate locations: whether employees at Jamalpur workshops who commuted to nearby village using special workers’ trains, or those living in the northern part of Bombay island who had to commute regularly to work owing to a housing shortage in the middle and lower part of Bombay Island. See O'Malley, L. S. S., Bengal and Orissa District Gazetteers: Monghyr (New Delhi: Logos: (2007[1926]), p. 132 and S. M. Edwardes, The Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, vol. i (1909).

103 ‘A Suggestion to the Traffic Manager of the Railway Company by A Regular Passenger’, The Englishman and Military Chronicle, 21 August 1857.

104 Apropos Sumit Sarkar's analysis of chakri and the time-discipline of the office in his Writing Social History (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997), especially pp. 186–215 and pp. 282–357.

105 Huddlestone, G., History of the East Indian Railway (Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co., 1906), p. 14. In the context of England, Dionysius Lardner relates the ‘epoch of suburbs’ with the compression of travel time generated by the railroads: ‘in all direction round the metropolis in which railways are extended, habitations are multiplied’. Railway Economy (London, 1851) p. 36.

106 Bhaskara Gnanodayam (Negapatam), 10 March 1893 (NNR: Madras); Hitavadi (Calcutta), 8 April 1904 (NNR: Bengal).

107 Well into the twentieth century, there is evidence of time-tabulated in the 24-hour as well as the a.m./p.m. format, including by the same railway company. Notices for changes in the East Indian Railway trains timings within a week of each other show both formats in use in the same timetable. See notices indicating changes in the East Indian Railway trains in Searchlight (Patna), 23 September 1927 and 30 September 1927.

108 Letters from Home Government, enclosure to despatch 19, 18 May 1858, Railway General Letters, 1852–61, NAI.

109 Letters to Home Government, 28 February 1856, Railway General Letters, 1852–61, NAI.

110 Letters from Home Government, enclosure to despatch no. 19, 18 May 1858.

111 The Indian Mutiny; or, India's Idolatry and England's Responsibility. A Sermon Preached on the Fast-Day, October 7, 1857, by Rev. C.F.S. Money, M.A. (London: Wertheim and Macintosh), Randall, BL. Don, ‘Autumn 1857: The Making of the Indian “Mutiny.”Victorian Literature and Culture, 31:1, 2003, pp. 317.

112 Letters from Home Government, enclosure to despatch 123, 8 December 1859, in Railway General Letters, 1852–61, NAI.

113 Evans, A. K. B and Gough, J. V., The Impact of the Railways on Society in Britain (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1993), p. 103, n. 10. Robbins, M., The Railway Age (London: Routledge and Paul, 1962), p. 48. Norman Smith, David, The Railway and Its Passengers: A Social History (Newton Abbot, David and Charles, 1988), pp. 119121. The ‘Sabbatarian extremists’ even viewed the Tay Bridge disaster of 28 December 1879 (no survivors) as ‘a stern judgment’ on Sunday train travel. R. C. Richardson, ‘The “Broad Gauge” and the “Narrow Gauge”: Railways and Religion in Victorian England’, in Evans and Gough, Impact of the Railway.

114 The 1872 census estimates indicate that Christians, along with ‘Buddhists and Jains, Jews, Parsees, Brahmoes, and Hill men. . .’ comprised less than five per cent of the population in India’. Waterfield, Henry, Memorandum on the Census of British India 1871–72 (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1875), p. 16.

115 Resonating with Dipesh Chakrabarty's discussion in Provincializing Europe of how a Universalizing History 1 is intersected by the local (History 2).

116 General Traffic Manger, EIR, to Agent, EIR, 15 March 1912, in Railway Board: Traffic A, January 1913, nos 126–28, India Proceedings, IOR/P/9245, BL.

117 Agenda for Indian Railway Conference Association (IRCA) meeting, Simla, 23 September 1912; letter from R.L. Bliss, Acting Secretary, IRCA to Secretary, Railway Board, 10–11 October 1912, in Railway Traffic A, January 1913, nos 126–28, India Proceedings, IOR/P/9245, BL.

118 And thus making visible ‘potentially richer definitions’ of experience. Pandey, Gyanendra, ‘In Defence of the Fragment: Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today’, Representations, 37 (1992). Also de Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life.

119 As described by Walter Benjamin in ‘The Life of Students’ (1915).

120 Banerjee, Politics of Time, p. 4.

121 See Löwy, Michael, Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's On the Concept of History, tr. by Chris Turner (New York: Verso, 2005), p. 2.

122 Ibid.

123 Cf. Gilmartin's, David reading of it as ‘an “authentic” world of community rooted in the reciprocities of local life.’ ‘Partition, Pakistan, and South Asian History: In Search of a Narrative’, Journal of Asian Studies, 57: 4 (November 1998): pp. 10691095; see p. 1090, n. 27.

124 Singh, Khushwant, Train to Pakistan (New York: Grove Press, 1956), pp. 35. Marian Aguiar, ‘Railway Space in Partition Literature’, in Kerr ed., 27 Down, pp. 39–67.

125 Singh, Train to Pakistan, pp. 3–5.

126 Aguiar, ‘Railway Space in Partition Literature’, p. 48.

127 Ibid.

128 Singh, Train to Pakistan, pp. 3–4

129 Ibid., p. 31.

130 Mufti, Aamir R., ‘Saadat Hasan Manto: A Greater Story-Writer than God’, in Enlightenment in the Colony: The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Postcolonial Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 190; Manto, Saadat Hassan, ‘The Black Shalwar’, translated in Flemming, Leslie A. and Naqvi, Tahira, Another Lonely Voice: The Life and Works of Saadat Hassan Manto (Vanguard: Lahore, 1985), pp. 206219.

131 Manto, ‘The Black Shalwar’, pp. 206–219.

132 Husain, ‘Kataa Hua Dabba’, pp. 29–30.

* I am grateful to my colleagues at UNC Charlotte and to the Modern Asian Studies’ reviewers for their careful reading of the draft; also to John David Smith and David Gilmartin for their generosity and advice.

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Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
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