Thursday, 23 February 2012

The lifeline of a long jouney

Railways, the heart of our country which employs a large no. of people was introduced by Britishers in order to strengthen their network of exploitation. Their main objective was to make the transportation of people and goods easier and to discover the far-off places which they had not been able to reach. Thus in 1853 when Britain was at the pinnacle of industrialization, railway lines were spread in the whole of India, connecting each and every nook and corner. Unintentionally, a seed was laid which was going to  be very beneficial for us after independence. At that point of time, the railways boasted of a capital value of some 687 millions sterling and it carried over 620 millions of passengers and approximately 90 million tons of goods each year. Now after 64 years of independence,Indian railways has 114,500 km of total track. It has the world’s fourth largest railway network after United States, Russia, China. It is the second largest commercial or utility employer by no. of employees with more than 1.36 millions, generating a  net income of 9,595 crores. Now we have 17 railway zones in our country, transporting 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. After independence we very well carried on with the railways network as laid by our colonizers.It became the lifeline of our economy, generating a huge amount of income every year. But as the developments in the name of railways increased, so did the train accidents. While strengthening and modernization of railway infrastructure is in progress, much of the network hitherto uses old signalling and has antiquated bridges. Every year a large sum of money is spent on railways, but the signs of development are negligible. There are numerous train accidents every year. The year 2011 alone accounted for 12-13 accidents. Is the esteemed government of our country not capable enough to provide safety to its largest income generating sector? Certainly this is not the case!
When our country boasts of the fourth largest railway network, when we demand a permanent seat in the security council, when we have been recognized as the upcoming superpower we sure can make railways a better mode of transportation. Railway ministers instead of making railways prosper, concentrate their attention on inaugurating new trains for their home state.Be it Lalu Prasad or Mamta Banerjee. All of them fall in the same category. They do what is necessary for them, to increase their respective vote banks, but what about the general public who travel by trains regularly. Does anybody pay heed to their needs? I would like to mention an incident here. A month back I had to board a train named Porbandar Express from Old Delhi Railway station.When I reached the platform, just a glance at the railway track disgusted me to the core. There was a huge heap of garbage concentrated here and there. Utterly agitated, I got in the train and tried to get some sleep, but the moment I closed my eyes I spotted an insect climbing up my seat. In a moment of hurry I got up and diverted its way. But the problem was  not finished yet, a moment later I saw a good whole family of wasps beneath the seats. The whole night I did not sleep and kept guarding my seat. And let me tell you I was not in a general class, I was in A.C. two tier. I vowed that particular day not to travel by this train again. Just imagine this is the condition of an express train which commences its journey from the capital city.
For this not the government but the general public is to be blamed.people eat and wipe their hands in the curtains assuming it to be their handkerchief. Even after the  instructions written in two languages people use washrooms when train is at the platform. They pull the chains even after knowing that they would be fined or even jailed. In local trains the condition is even worse, people sit on top of the train o stand in front of engine when seats are unavailable even after knowing that their life is in danger. Patience,we humans have never learnt. We cant just wait for a single moment.
Even if the government starts paying attention to railways, it is we who have to ensure that it remains clean and safe because it is we who use it. It becomes our responsibility to use the facilities provided to us judiciously and properly. It is high time we understand the trains can function smoothly only when we contribute for its maintenance and safety. Even we have to work at our own levels before the heart of our country turns into a nightmare!


Very few people are aware of the fact that the first time gandhiji came to india after studying barristry from england in 1902. But he soon went back. After 9 years he came again ,and, this time never to return back. He stayed in South Africa for 20 years. He fought in Natal for indians who were taken to Africa to work. Their condition was worse than slaves. After leading the movement in Africa against british he was aware of their discriminating & exploitative nature. At a time when indians were fed up with the violence endowed by Raj on them, Gandhi’s non-violence acted as a balm on the numerous wounds. The method of non-violence was not new to india, but nobody before gandhi had thought of incorporating it in the struggle against britishers. Also it was only after the arrival of gandhi that congress party became a mass party. Few people in congress itself were opposed to his policy of non-violence. Most of them believed that britishers should be answered back in their same language. As Subhash Chandra Bose said “give me your blood, I will give you freedom.” But Gandhiji’s did not divert from his two weapons truth & non-violence. According to him ‘an eye for an eye would make the whole world blind.’ He taught people to be tolerant & self-reliant. He told them to boycott the foreign goods and use the indian stuff. Gradually people built a confidence in him. He totally changed the direction in which our national movement was heading. The ahimsa which he was preaching caught the attention of the majority. His first official movement in india the civil disobedience movement in 1921 stirred the whole of india. People participated in large nos. Even women who hitherto had remained systematically excluded from the independence struggle thronged the streets. They found a sense of security & safety in this movement unlike others which were taking place during that time only because it was strictly based on the principle of non-violence.
Gandhi completely distanced himself from the worldly pleasures. He wore a single piece of cloth around his waist and covered his upper body with another piece. Due to this he was referred to as the “naked beggar” in British parliament. And this naked beggar did what was impossible for people who were covered from top to toe. He totally dismissed the idea rooted in people’s mind that Britishers were a superior race and their civilization was better off than India’s. This view of Gandhi’s was opposed by few congress men also who had accepted Britishers as superior and had become a copy of the west.
Gandhi believed that our civilization is far more advanced. And Britishers have been able to sustain in our country and rule over us only because we had let them. The moment we stop cooperating, they will have to leave. Non Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, Quit India were the examples of Gandhi’s thought put into action. These 3 movements slowly & successfully weakened the position of Britishers & resulted finally in their departure in 1947. Gandhi though could not live enough to enjoy the fruits of his extreme hard work. He was shot in 1948. And with him ended an ERA!