#Politics Opinion

Travelling with the Indian Railways: At the Cusp of Life and Death


Nothing is certain—neither life nor death. This statement is further verified as we take the world’s fourth largest railway network into account. Yes, the Indian Railway Network indeed.

So, step into the train and hand your life to the clemency of the dilapidated tracks, century-old bridges, miscued signalling system, slapdash maintenance and so on and so forth. Yes, still you must; because this is what 30 million Indians do on daily basis. If you suffer, don’t give a damn (in case, you actually survive to). It’s quite a normal phenomenon. Consider it a bonus if you manage to reach your destination unscathed. Always remember that normal things seldom happen in our country. It is abnormality which accounts for everything occurring out here.

Our railway system specializes in every possible way of mishap; let it be bridge-collapses, malfunctioning signals, unclamped tracks, head-on collisions, infernos,… blah, blah, blah. Does the count ever end? Never. So better leave it. Constituted up by strong foundations of corruption, cowardice and crookedness, Indian Railways has outshown almost every field when it comes to volume and traffic of scamps. India is really a land of scampers, no doubt in that. It could have been somewhat relieving if this price that we pay would have been compensated by the losses we agonize due to them.

But no, this has not yet been destined to us. The gods of democracy are busy at the moment solving out their own conflicts and convictions. Till then, we need to prepare ourselves, in case we are not, to witness some more like Peruman Train Tradegy, Kadalundi Train Disaster, Valigonda Train Disaster, Rafiganj Train Disaster, etc. Well, these many are enough to swap the population of a healthy Indian village by fouling corpses. The government terms them as tragedies and disasters, but they aren’t. Instead, they are massacres. Indeed they are. Need proof? You gotta be kidding. You don’t.

Take the example of Peruman Bridge on which Island Express got derailed in 1988, killing 105. It remains one of the biggest misfortunes of Indian Railways. Official sources claim that the mishap was the outcome of a tornado which came out of nowhere. On the contrary, eye witnesses have different accounts, most prevalent being the fact that maintenance work was on its way and the accident was a combination of the pilot’s and maintenance workers’ faults.

Rafiganj incident was just another one in 2002, when luxury Rajdhani Express carrying a thousand “culprits to be death-sentenced” derailed over a 300-foot bridge over Dhave river near Gaya. Once again, the reasons behind the curtain remain smeared as does the death toll. Official data is highly unreliable, at least when it comes to Railways.

We can continue to talk about numerous such casualties. It does not seem to end; not unless the sleeping conscience of the constituent units of the system rises. But as is the current scene, it cannot be expected any time soon in future. Even if it does, it rises only to attain quiescence again. Anyway, being common citizens, our job is to tolerate the tyrannies of the government that we have ourselves appointed. Isn’t it? What else can we do? We have given up the hope that the system would ever reconcile; then it would never rectify its fiddle.

After all, we become what we hope to be. We are common people because we consider ourselves to be, not because someone else has defined the term for us. We feel that we are pathetic, therefore comes the notion that we are common. Certainly, that is not the case. The feeling is just like the rotten-looking peel of a banana housing a healthy fruit inside. And, what to talk about the system we possess; it is just a lost balloon rising up in the air till it could fit upon the head of a pin. It really is easily manipulable and should be driven towards mass-benevolence rather than personal emancipation. Be a Gandhi, or be an Anna if time demands, but burn the midnight oil and turn the tables so that everyone goes home safe, no woman is widowed, no child is orphaned, no mother wails for her child and last but far from least, there is an overall headway standing as a testimony to the fact that the upcoming era is ours, the citizens’.


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1 Comment

  • i think the writer of this post is way too sceptical about the Indian Railway standards. the writer must understand that the Indian Railways is 1,15,000 km long network and if he is expecting everything to change on this network with the wink of an eye, hge is sadly mistaken. besides the cost involved in repairs and replacements, the Indian Railways has far more expenditures. so….it takes time to change such a massive network….remember”Rome was not built in a day” similarly Indian Railways cannot be changed in a day”

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