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Lines of the Nation radically recasts the historic previous of the Indian railways, which have long been thought-about vectors of modernity and monetary prosperity. From the design of carriages to the construction of stations, employment hierarchies, and the improvement of employee housing, Laura Bear explores the new public areas and social relationships created by the railway paperwork. She then traces their have an effect on on the formation of trendy Indian nationalism, personal sentiments, and trendy memory. Her probing analysis challenges entrenched beliefs relating to the institutions of modernity and capitalism by displaying that these rework older idioms of social distinction and are legitimized by varieties of intimate, affective politics.
Drawing on historic and ethnographic evaluation in the company metropolis at Kharagpur and at the Japanese Railway headquarters in Kolkata (Calcutta), Bear focuses on how political and house practices amongst employees turned entangled with the moralities and archival utilized sciences of the railway paperwork and illuminates the impact of this historic previous at current. The paperwork has carried out a pivotal place in the creation of idioms of family historic previous, kinship, and ethics, and its specific categorization of Anglo-Indian employees nonetheless resonates. Anglo-Indians have been formed as a separate railway caste by Raj-interval racial employment and housing insurance coverage insurance policies, and totally different railway employees proceed to see them as remnants of the colonial earlier and as a polluting have an effect on.
The experiences of Anglo-Indians, who’re at the core of the ethnography, reveal the penalties of makes an try and make political communities genuine in family strains and sentiments. Their state of affairs moreover compels us to rethink the significance of documentary practices and nationalism to all family histories and senses of relatedness. This interdisciplinary anthropological historic previous throws new light not solely on the imperial and nationwide earlier of South Asia however as well as on the moral life of present utilized sciences and monetary institutions.
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