The Indian Railways, which is considered to be the lifeline of the country, was once opposed by the father of the nation. Watch the interesting story behind the engineering marvel and how it came to be.
Incredible as it may sound, Mahatma Gandhi was not a big fan of the railways. He considered it to be a destructive influence on India.
According to Gandhi, railways was used by the British to consolidate their grip on the country. He also believed that trains spread communicable diseases like bubonic plague as people in affected areas moved to other parts of the country. He even believed that railways sabotaged local self-sufficiency by helping businessmen transport food and other necessities from one region to another for profit.
Proposed in 1853 by Governor General Lord Dalhousie and introduced from Bombay to Thane, the Indian railways have traveled a long distance.
It is one of the world’s largest railway networks comprising over 1,15,000 km of track over 7,100 stations. In 2013–14, Indian Railways carried 8.425 billion passengers – that’s over 23 million passengers everyday!
In this documentary by BBC, John Sergeant embarks on a 3,000 mile journey through the history India’s rail network.
He reveals how the Indian railways became a civil engineering triumph that played a crucial role when India became independent in 1947.
Among many other fascinating facts, Sergeant discovers why the construction of the Dufferin Bridge at Varanasi resulted in Victorian technology and ingenuity clashing with ancient religion.
Watch the video to learn all about it.
A documentary by BBC Four.
Related to this: An Interactive History Of The Indian Railways