Railway Station at Kozhikode Kerala (after extension from Beypore) - its location and caste factors - Colonial era

Beypore Railway Station at Chaliyam, Malabar t, Kerala. upload.wikimedia.org

Above  image: Chaliyam is a village situated at the estuary of Chaliyar (River Beypore) in Kozhikode district of Kerala, India. Chaliyam forms an island, bounded by the Chaliyar in the north, and River Kadalundi in south, and the Conolly Canal in the east.  Saliyam  was the home of the Saliya community predominantly weavers in  medieval South India. Presently, the Chaliya (Chaliyan or Saliya) belongs to  Other Backward Class (OBC) in Kerala........ 

Beypore Railway Station at Chaliyam, Malabar t, Kerala. upload.wikimedia.org

Above images: Can you believe decades ago during the colonial rule Beypore Railway Station at Chaliyam, Malabar District, which, for a short period, was the western terminus of Madras RailwayAn old photograph of the Beypore Railway Station furnished by a reader, Calico Centric. as he explains, this photograph used to be on the British Library Museum site but somehow disappeared from there. like willow- the-wisp.  Photo credit: the British Library Museum, London .The first railway line in Kerala was laid in 1861 between Beypore to Chaliyam through Tanur, Parappanangadi, Vallikkunnu, and Kadalundi.  Opened to traffic on March 12, 1861, and '' it was after 27 years that the terminus was changed to Kozhikode,” The Kozhikode Railway Station is one of the oldest in India........... 
Kozhikode railway station, Kerala  .justdial.com

The Beypore railway station, Kerala  was actually at Chaliyam on the other bank of Chaliyar. river. When the railway was extended to Calicut by the then   Madras Presidency  government, at the request of the Maharajah, they decided to build  a  bridge across Chaliyar at Feroke.  Because it  was  the narrowest point of Chaliyar near Beypore. The present day Kadalundi - Chaliyam road is on the track bed of the abandoned Kadalundi - Chaliyam railway line. The river (at Beypore) is still crossed using  boats as described in 'The Asylum Press'.

Kozhikode, Kerala, ailmapindia.blogspot.com

After Land acquisition and laying of tracks, selection of the stations and their locations were the subject of main discussion among the officials.  In Malabar, the railway line initially stopped at Beypore, but later extended to  Calicut for reasons of  easy accessibility to the market, agricultural produce, etc.  For the caste-conscious residents of Calicut, the location of the railway station in a busy crowded place became a subject of debate and anxiety.  Archival  records do show  the residents  were unhappy over the location of  the railway station.

In the 1880s, the entrance gate to the railway station in a busy street  became a thorny subject and a contentious issue. Reason:  The entry gate was to be set up in the bazaar area, a prime location  frequented by people of high castes!!  An old Bank  - Nedungadi bank (founded in 1899; completed 100 years and merged with PNB) , a famous lane called Cembotty popular for  bronze items, made by  traditional methods, betel leaves, chewing tobacco, arecanut, cotton,  coir, dates, etc and  popular  shops specialized in gold, silver items, jewelry, etc attracted lots of people.

The main reason for the resentment among the people from different walks of life was the hidden undertow of caste feelings and disparity. Then in this region (now Kerala) the social fabric of the society dominated by Nambudiri was such that the caste factor was a curious, but an ubiquitous vortex. It is obvious  the  caste sensitive society was regulated to a large extend in the Malabar region by higher caste people  Yet another factor was  preventing ladies from appearing in public bazaars.

caste based reservation. myvoice.opindia.com

As to the question of how a railway station in a busy area would affect the sentiments of high caste people, the weird explanation given was  “the road is to be converted into a thorough fare for all castes without distinctions and the temple situated in neighbourhood of the road will be polluted to the great grievance of a very large portion of the inhabitants of Calicut.

When the issue was  argued in the court of law the presiding judge said,  A wicket gate would be provided  at one end of the road.   ''Railway Company cannot recognise caste distinctions amongst passengers....In consultation with the District Collector, the court observed,  ''caste should not determine public mobility.

Beypore near calicut, Kerala.  famous for boat building

Beypore, Kerala upload.wikimedia.org

 Just like the transient nature of the universe and our unstable  roller coaster lives,  the old Beypore Railway Station does not exist  now and we have to be content with the old photos of the station.  Sadly, the building disappeared long ago, leaving only a large fresh water well which was dug for supplying water for the steam engines that had hauled the passenger and freight trains in those days.