The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

From the "Lahore Chronicle," August, 1857 1

Railways for India. - Now is the time to impress upon the Government the vital importance of establishing a net work of Railways in this country (India.)

The absolute necessity of establishing rapid communications has been amply proved by the present crisis. Even with forced marches, troops take 24 days to get over the distance they would be carried by rail in 12 or 18 hours ! !

On economical grounds alone, the Railway ought to be extended and ramified without delay and regardless of the immediate outlay. This may seem a paradox, but we will explain. Ten thousand men with a rail to travel by, are fully equal in this country to thirty thousand with the existing means of conveyance, and the cost of the difference, viz., 20,000 European troops is a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, that we leave for the financiers to calculate.

What a glorious thing it would have been, had the Euphrates Valley Railway and the Scinde and Punjaub Railway been accomplished facts at the time of the present insurrection. How it would have "astonished the Natives" to have seen a gallant British Army landed at Lahore, within a month of the outbreak taking place! and yet such a thing would have been possible, supposing the Electric Telegraph tohave been also completed so as to establish an electric messenger between the Indus and the Thames.

But we are a people of slow perception in spite of all that may be said of our superiority. It is only when we are severely punished that we awaken from our lethargy.

The British Lion, terrible when once aroused, requires a good shaking before he can awakened, but once up, his vigour is as great as ever. At present, however, months must elapse ere the punishment can be dealt out.

Prompt chastisement carries terror and fear with it, and unhinges the plans of the conspirators, whereas, delay in punishing the guilty, gives them confidence and adds to their strength.

Let us hope that one of the good things to result out of this great evil may be Railway and Steam Communication on a liberal scale.


1. W.P. Andrew, The Punjaub Railway: A Selection from Official Correspondence Regarding the Introduction of Railways into the Punjaub., W.H. Allen, London, 1857


Guru said...

Underlines the fact that even the good we hail of the British Empire in India was ultimately designed to hammer subjugation. Though I would still say the British were the best rulers India could have had.

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