The Purveyors of Destiny: A Cultural Biography of the Indian Railways
Bargain Book Copy
In 1853 Karl Marx predicted the Indian Railways would foster the growth of parallel industries 'not immediately connected with the railways.' But the most successful industry-which Marx could not possibly have dreamed of-was that of cultural representations of the railways, which began even before the railways, themselves. From Rudyard Kipling to Mark Twain to R.K. Narayan to Ruskin Bond-the aura of Indian trains and railway stations have enchanted many.
What imperialism made opulent, nationalism embraced a swadeshi tool, Partition turned into theaters of the macabre, and the nation's destiny marked for its favorite foster child, came to embody the portable architecture of India's modernity. And, what with iconic railway cinematography from Aradhana (1969), Sonar Kella (1974), Gandhi (1982), Dil Se (1997), or Parineeta (2005), Indian cinema has forged mythical railroads in the national psyche.
The Purveyors of Destiny brings together all these elements together, for the first time, in a book replete with anecdotes from colonial and Indian accounts, the battlefronts of the Indian nationalist movement, Indian cinema, advertisements, and much more, in an ever expanding cultural biography of the Great Indian Railways.
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