Indian Railway Time Table Book
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Indian Railway Time Table Book
Following the completion of the railroad, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was concerned that the railway would not have enough business to be profitable. With this in mind, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company opened the first of what would quickly become an extensive system of luxury hotels in 1886. The first hotels were located in the Rocky Mountains and served a dual purpose: in addition to enticing tourists to take the Canadian Pacific Railway to visit the Rockies, these hotels also served to provide meals to train passengers where the grade of incline was too steep for trains to carry heavy dining cars with them. Luxury hotels in urban locales soon followed, such as the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, the Empress Hotel in Victoria, and the Royal York in Toronto.
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The schedule and calendar rule most lives, but there is nothing inevitable about this course of history. It is only in the mid-eighteenth century, with the emergence of industrialization and the factory clock, that the tyrannical discipline of time became a reality for the working classes. Another hundred years were to elapse before the standardization of time was achieved in the West itself, while in much of the rest of the world the Gregorian calendar was becoming paramount, though the ‘natives’ were still to learn the lessons of the clock. If by some accounts the denizens of the southern countries still do not make good use of their time, they are nonetheless largely captive to the norms of the Western calendar. "Happy Birthday" celebrations, for instance, are one of the most iconic measures of how far modernity and secularism have crept into the sensibility of all cultures, though doubtless the birthday party has been molded and transformed by the idioms of local cultural practices. Doubtless, too, some cultures have retained their own calendars, but from the point of view of the moderns, that is no more than the churlish resistance of tradition-bound nativists and primordialists, or an attempt to retain a religious space within the secular domain of modernity.
As we are poised to enter into a new millennium, should we not stop to ask for whom it is that the millennium strikes, and by what sleight of hand it is that the Christian millennium becomes the benchmark for all peoples? What meaning can the "millennium" possibly have for (say) Muslims, if not to remind them that the entire world now lives in the thralldom of the West, and that the life and limb of no one is safe from the ambitions, to use that phrase fraught with ominous consequences, of the world’s "sole superpower"? Is it the imminence of the new millennium that, in part, helps to explain why a certain melancholia now appears to have left a shadow over Islam, and which forms the substratum of unease and anxiety among the Muslim people, whether in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, or elsewhere? We have long understood how European powers effected spatial colonization, but are we sufficiently cognizant of the dimensions of temporal colonization? The railroad timetable, the Gregorian calendar, the weekly schedule, the factory clock, and the office timecard inserted themselves with only somewhat less virulence and bloodthirstiness into the culture of colonized peoples, and yet the imperialism of time may well have more deleterious consequences in the years to come. The homogenization of time has not only facilitated the emergence of globalization and a worldwide culture of corporate business and management distinguished only by its extraordinary mediocrity and greed, it has also greatly assisted in narrowing the visions of the future. To speak of the resistance to clock and corporate time, which betoken a mentality nowhere better expressed than in the predictably American formulation that ‘time is money’, is to point not merely to what some may deride as Utopian thoughts, but to a cultural politics of time that would enable us to reterritorialize temporality.
Elsewhere, for instance among the Hindus, the seven-day week may have arisen out of the seven planets of ancient astrology — Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars — and it is altogether possible that even in the Western world, the astrological influence was predominant. As one scholar has noted, "the Indian days of the week (varas) had already matched their European counterparts many centuries before regular contact between India and the West was established",  and today only a place which is outside the orbit of any of the world’s major religions is likely to have a conception of social organization of life in which the notion of the seven-day week does not play a critical role. However, speaking historically, the week has not always comprised seven days. In antiquity, the week revolved around the market day, and in societies as varied as those of Peru, Colombia, Indochina, southern China, and Mesoamerica, the week could extend anywhere from three to twelve days. In the modern period, there have been two notable, but strikingly unsuccessful, attempts to alter the seven-day week, both inspired by the desire to escape what was deemed to be the nefarious influence of bourgeois Christianity. The revolutionary calendar introduced by the French Republic, which marked the year 1792 as Year One, was composed of twelve months, and each month was made up of three ten-day periods of time called decades. This calendar eliminated the traditional Sabbath day, and the weekly rest day, Sunday, was replaced by one rest day every ten days. Much later, the Bolshevik regime, in September 1929, instituted the five-day — and then the six-day -- week, in the hope that this would greatly bolster production by. Both calendar reforms failed, and in France and the Soviet Union alike the seven-day week was restored. It is a mark of the resilience of the seven-day week that the shipwrecked Robinson Crusoe, fearful that he would lose his "Reckoning of Time for want to Books and Pen and Ink", and "even forget the Sabbath Day from the working Days", used his knife to etch onto wood the date of his arrival upon the island of which he imagined himself to be the sole inhabitant, and then for every day made a notch with his knife, "every Seventh Notch" being "as long again as the rest". When, at long last, Crusoe encountered a native, he named the man "Friday" after the day of the week when he chanced upon him. 
This homogenization of time would have seemed anything but inevitable or natural to most people around the world, though in Britain railroad companies had set their clocks to Greenwich in 1848. If one considers the United States alone, by the 1850s, judging from Thoreau’s Walden, trains were an inextricable part of the American landscape: "I watch the passage of the morning cars with the same feeling that I do the rising of the sun, which is hardly more regular", wrote Thoreau, adding: "The startings and arrivals of the cars are now the epochs in the village day. They go and come with such regularity and precision, and their whistle can be heard so far, that the farmers set their clocks by them, and thus one well-conducted institution regulates a whole country."  But the punctuality of trains was not to be confused with the standardization of time. As late as 1870 there were about 70 time zones in the country, and a passenger undertaking a train journey from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco would have had to reset his watch over 200 times if he wished to keep abreast of the local time.  The pressure to standardize time came from weather forecasters, and even more so from railroad companies, whose passengers and business clients alike complained of the difficulties in deciphering and interpreting railroad timetables when there was no one uniform standard of time. Finally, in 1883, American railroad companies agreed upon the establishment of the four time zones that are still in use, but not without raising public ire. The Washington Post editorialized on the importance of the standardization of time as "scarcely second to the reformation of the calendar by Julius Caesar, and later by Pope Gregory XIII."  True to their name, the railroad companies, then the supreme embodiment of industrialization and entrepreneurial self-aggrandizement, railroaded their way into the temporal precincts of the human spirit, and so paved the way for the elimination of alternative conceptions -- local, mythic, pastoral, theistic, and countless others -- of time.
Disciplinary Time. International Business Machines, better known to the world through its acronym IBM, may well be credited with inventing "computer time". However, in its earlier incarnation as the International Time Recording Company, IBM may have played a yet more critical role in inaugurating the modern age of what I shall term panopticon industrial efficiency. The "panopticon", to follow its earliest theorist Jeremy Bentham, refers to that modality of surveillance whereby all those under surveillance, such as prisoners, are placed under the watchful eye of the jailer, but cannot in turn watch him. In 1894, the International Time Recording Company introduced the time recording system, and in less than fifteen years all its competitors had been eliminated. Each employee who came to work punched a time card at the time of his arrival and departure, and the company sold its product to businesses with the argument that its clocks would "save money, enforce discipline and add to the productive time." A 1914 brochure commended the company’s product to the attention of businesses with the observation that "the time recorded induces punctuality by impressing the value of time on each individual." Another publicity piece stated boldly: "There is nothing so fatal to the discipline of the plant, nor so disastrous to its smooth and profitable working as to have a body of men irregular in appearance, who come late and go out at odd times"; and the time recorder would assist management "to weed out these undesirables."