RAIL AND ROAD TRANSPORT IN NINETEENTH CENTURY AWADH: COMPETITION IN A NORTH INDIAN PROVINCE
AuthorVarady, Robert G.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThroughout the second half of the nineteenth century railroads were considered important, perhaps essential, to the development of those regions whose transportation system they augmented. The present work tests the validity of this statement in the instance of European rail development in India. This is accomplished by examining the origins, implementation, and functioning of railways in a colonial setting in northern India, focusing upon Awadh, a province recently absorbed into Britain's overseas empire. The study assesses the extent to which rail development mirrored colonial policy, and the degree to which rail service affected Awadh's commerce, society, and agrarian economy. To achieve the analysis, each chapter is directed at one of these topics. Accordingly, the first chapter explores the policy considerations and implications of pre-rail road-building by the British and their predecessors, the nawabs of Awadh. The next chapter treats the policies which motivated the financing, building, and functioning of the province's rail system, the Oude and Rohilkund Railway. It examines the chief problems inhibiting profitable operation of private trains in a tropical colonial environment, and culminates with an assessment of the circumstances leading to public take-over. Chapter 4 continues the discussion of the railways' financial difficulties by highlighting the interactions of trains with Awadh's vital and established road transport system. Comparisons of road and rail traffic statistics permit a number of conclusions regarding the railways' appeal to potential users and the trains' relative inability to overcome competition. Chapter 5 provides a detailed analysis of the varying ways railroads intruded into Indian society. The chapter offers give selected case studies which illustrate the degrees to which social institutions and processes were disrupted by rail service. By examining the trains' effects on rural fairs, travel conditions, transporting agents, railways employees, and social and environmental stability, it is possible to demonstrate the enormous diversity of responses to technological change and the resiliency of certain time-tested social patterns. The final chapter ascertains the trains' impact upon provincial agriculture by discussing changes in cultivation and evaluating the railways' influence upon provincial movement of goods. The work concludes that contrary to the railways' enthusiastic backers' expectations, trains had generally failed to attain their objectives. The Oude and Rohilkund Railway had neither dislodged its road competition nor succeeded in functioning profitably. In the course of their operation, moreover, the railways had caused a number of unexpected social disturbances.
Degree ProgramGraduate College