Credits / copyrights
Tea stall at Gondia railway station platform in the 1930s- Archival photo courtesy of Ravindra Bhalerao, Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, Nagpur.
Pipariya Railway Station in district Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, India was primarily established as the railhead for the Military Cantonment town of Pachmarhi. The present excerpt narrates the politics of everyday spaces at the station in the initial days. The excerpt has been translated from Hindi (Text: Pipariya, 2000 by Narayandas Maurya). The picture is only for representation purposes.
'Initially, there were no taps at railway stations for water supply. Individuals used to be in charge of supplying drinking water to the passengers at the station. Those in charge of supplying water to Hindus were called Paani Pandey. While the Hindu suppliers used to keep a big ponytail, the Muslim suppliers used to wear a Turkish cap. Once the Pipariya station was established, two different tea stalls opened at the station around 1930. The Muslim tea stall was run by Muhammad Murad and though the Hindu tea stall was owned by Chukhelal Chittar Mal, it was run by Bhoodev Seth. Chukhelal Chittar Mal was also the owner of the first canteen at the Pipariya Railway station. The station used to have a hoarding advertising the tea stalls. It read: ‘Ye Nashe ki pyaali hai, dil khush karne waali hai’ (A cup of tea to make your heart merry). For the longest time, the railway station was the only place in the whole town that served tea. Thus, besides passengers, it was also frequented a lot by the people in the neighbourhood.'