05 August, 2021

Our Inimitable Railway Bazaar

The Indian Railways is a country—with its own history, customs, smells, even architecture. This anecdotal, yet serious account stops at all stations.

Our Inimitable Railway Bazaar

Those of us who travelled on the railways in the 1950s and ’60s carry fond memories of those wonderful journeys. The rom­ance of rail travel involves rec­alling puffing steam engines, soot in one’s hair, large tubs of ice in first-class compartments to cool temperatures in summer, the bustle of the platform, the call of the ‘chai walla’, lug­­gage in steel trunks and the ubiquitous ‘hold-all’. Travelling on the narrow-­gauge lines to the hills was another delight, vividly captured by Gur­­c­­haran Das in his introduction to this book, while describing the journey to Shimla and the hot breakfast at Barog.

Bibek Debroy and his co-authors were part of a committee constituted to examine the restructuring of the railways. As preparatory work, the committee made an exhaustive study of the history of India’s railways, their growth and development. The enthralling subject is perhaps the motivation for this cap­­tivating book—an anecdotal acc­ount, with fascinating...

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