Wednesday, 18th October, 2017

Of travails in train's general class

21, May 2017 By shakeel ahmad

KANPUR: Train’s second class journey is quite reproachful during the summer season. How can it be better in the general compartment in view of the persisting situation? There appears no marked difference between a goods’ train and an ordinary bogey. The general bogey carries humans like commodities. This distinction lets reservation class passengers abstain from travelling in the general category. Just as every corner of the goods’ train remains stuffed, so as the crowd in the general bogey gives a similar impression.  Specialities of this compartment are crowds, insanitation and free-for-all situation. The fare is never proportional to the comforts existing in such bogies, as passengers take in so often.

The passengers continue to seek out distressingly the mobile charging points in the train’s general compartment running between any two destinations. The passengers travel without getting a seat. Their patience is worth realising. Acquiring a seat is also as hard as the exit after completion of the journey. It turns risky and challenging as the eager passengers on the next station show their energised enthusiasm for forcible entry into the evacuating general compartment. A tricky situation persists on the exit door and what takes place in between the scuffles remains too awful. The khaki men show the least interest in helping the general passengers for safe and comfortable dismount.

Water problem persists consistently. When they start their run on the platform for water, it clearly proves their swiftness. Just as the train halts at a station, their swift run begins for the drinking water and this scene was worth watching. Holding bottles in their hands they complete their task with dexterity. After filling up the bottles they return like experienced athletes to catch the moving train. If there is no water in the compartment, there remains no pressure of solving this crisis on this vital need. The humble passengers face wallop of the hot air throughout their journey. No need is thought to provide at least the simple cooler in the general bogies on the longer routes.

Fearless vendors enter and trample the passengers like the British soldiers in the said bogey. They prove themselves as if they are sturdy horses and no rule is set for them. They crush, press and squash the passengers like the softer fruits. They alight with their pots without any fear as if entering into conquered land. If any passenger gets a scratch or hurts they do not bother a bit. What they know well is their sale. Unbolted doors of the general compartments make entry easier in general bogies.

What is worse is that the compartments are kept totally secluded from rest of the train. Why does this unique discrimination persist unabatedly? Is it not a sort of the VIP culture in the trains? General passengers are treated differently while the reserved category passengers notice this disparity clearly. But after Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Azad, no top leader showed courage to travel in the second class. Why are our politicians not boarding this class? Second-class journey provides a painful experience which the passengers had to bear compellingly. Even after about seventy long years of our independence, no government has ever thought of providing comfortable journey to the second class passengers.