The railway, which comes to Raju’s hometown of Malgudi when he is still a child, represents modernization and industrialization. Raju and his family watch in awe as construction workers appear to build the tracks and the railway station which is located right across from Raju’s family home. On the day the railway is completed and the station is officially opened, the town is given a holiday in celebration. Indeed, the construction of the railway line to Malgudi changes the villagers’ lives in many ways. Raju’s family, for instance, grows wealthier as a result of the second shop that Raju’s father opens in the station. Raju’s own career prospects are transformed by the railway, when visitors who arrive by train become the customers that he leads as a tourist guide. The railway not only improves the financial prospects of Raju’s family; it also opens the family and the town’s inhabitants to a broader world beyond Malgudi—exposing them to people from all over India, and from different walks of life. As such, in symbolizing modernization and industrialization, the depiction of the railway in the novel alludes to the ways in which these forces have the capacity to transform people’s material, social, and cultural prospects.
The Railway Quotes in The Guide
One fine day, beyond the tamarind tree the station building was ready. The steel tracks gleamed in the sun; the signal posts stood with their red and green stripes and their colorful lamps; and our world was neatly divided into this side of the railway line and that side.
I dressed myself soberly for the part in a sort of rough-spun silk shirt and an upper cloth and a handspun and handwoven dhoti, and I wore rimless glasses—a present from Marco at one of our first meetings. I wore a wristwatch—all this in my view lent such weight to what I said that they had to listen to me respectfully. I too felt changed; I had ceased to be the old Railway Raju.