chapter  7
Shared spaces, shifting identities
Railway travel and notions of identity and community in colonial India
ByAparajita Mukhopadhyay
Pages 26

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This chapter appraises the impact of railways on notions of identity and community in colonial India. Hitherto railway travel has been associated with creating a notion of ‘Indian’ identity – glossing over notions of identity based on religion, caste, gender and social status. This chapter challenges this historiographical orthodoxy. Through critical examination of the travelogues and the Indian-language newspaper reports the chapter demonstrates that railway travel experiences were interpreted in ways that had differentiating rather than homogenising impulses on notions of identity. This chapter argues for a more nuanced understanding of the role of railways on notions of identity.