MEA 2010 travelogues- IV- Journey to Delhi in ‘Smoking/Bidi coach of Military.
When I started for MEA’s site offices’ tours in first phase for election campaigning of 2010-12, it was a difficult task as there were no berths available in most of the trains and hence, it was an unreserved tour of cuircuit Ranchi-Delhi-Durg(Bhilai)- Visakhapatanam-Bangalore-Ranchi and was a horrowing experience.
I went to ranchi station for getting a current unreserved ticket for Delhi would be so difficult was not known to me. At Hatia it is always better to have ticket and seat but I chose the train which started from Ranchi and there was a long queue. The train arrived on platform no.1 and I was also after 2 persons only to take a ticket but the booking girl took a shift change at that critical time which should not have been permitted by supervisor.It took some time but the new booking lady faced computer initiation problem and in this train started. With some persons I also ran and could entrain without a ticket.
There was a young boy who was also like me and he was looking TTEs and said me that no one entered in that compartment.
In such circumstances in fact passengers should not be fined but who listens whom.
At Namkom did stop but was not possible to take a ticket and hence I changed the coach and at Silli I tried to get one. There booking window was open but as the train had no schedule stoppage, the clerk did not give me a ticket. At Muri it stopped and with those some passengers I also went to the window but again train started soon and we had to return back. When train stopped at Jhalida I could go to the booking window and asked for a ticket to Delhi but the clerck could give me a ticket for Gomoh only which was recently named on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bise because from there Netaji had taken a train to Lahore/Peshawar from where he escaped through land route to Europe and in fact he could never return.
There is a good stony sculpture of his which reminds everyone Netaji’s contribution. Gomoh station is more a junction than township and I had many occasions to change trains there. There I could get a ticket despite again a counter I was in front was closed down for receiving money from railway staff of some other distant counters. However there was no rush in other counter and I could get a ticket for Delhi.
The train soon came and there was as expected much rush in general compartment and I had to a request a military that he allow me traveling as I was a doctor to which he agreed respecting a doctor.
I am describing the plight of general passengers that there should be some 4 coaches must in any train and even otherwise from the revenue point of view it would not be in loss seeing jam packed scene, particularly in any train of north India.
After sometime Koderma came which is the station for the township of Jhumaritilaiya famous for Farmaisi songs since radio-era otherwise seat of mica, most abundantly found in the world there. When I was a child used to see the area’s soil glistening with light due to refraction of light from mica in the soil but more illegal than legal mining has reduced the industry to near zero level and people are migrating for livelihood.
When I went inside I was again objected but when I put my hand in pocket to show them my I. card that I was also a Govt. officer they did gave me a seat.
Some 4-5 persons entrained in which one was Commandant in the BSF probably. He was with his younger brothers but was resisted by military personnel. He had no I. card and one of them remarked on the slim body of the Commandant that he did not look like a military officer. He too was in modern student’s half pant like dress and lean and thin. However, other military person could comprehend his status as Company Commander in Army and he was given a seat. They got down after sometime but the rush continued at Gaya and somehow I could come to Mugalsarai and took a sigh of relief. I got down and went to other platform and on a bench I slept for while but soon came a late running Sampark Kranti Express from Bengal and again I entered in the military coach finding less passengers there compared to packed general coach. I was sleepy and in the sideway ,I spread ed newspaper I had purchased only for that and not to read in fact . and slept till Allahabad came where many general public entered saying since 2008 no coach is reserved for military. There I had gone inside on a seat.
My experience of these military coaches are as if they are ‘smoking coaches’ where mostly they smoke harmful Bidis despite ban on that. The smoke was so much in the air that my practice of keeping handkerchief on nose did not work and I used to get up and go to the gate in air which they could smell but did continue smoking despite one of them said to his colleague but it was for him as if more a matter of pleasantaries than inconvenience to me.
As such military persons need health education in matter of smoking and also drinking as well as they need told to cooperate the general public rather obstruct in entering the coach which for the most of the time they capture illegally. I had many such experience of that ,the most shameful was when in 1977 they did not allow me entering at Secunderabad in Nagpur bound Dakhsin Express while with two other medicos I was returning from the relief work of cyclone ravaged coastal Andhara. I had told them to see the Principal’s certificate that we were going on relief work. I feel that is the cause that in none of the house any General’s photo will be hanged though there one can find of Gandhi, Subash Chandrashekhar Axad,Bhagat Singh,etc. who are revered as martyrs. I tis because generals and army men are paid for their services though public honour them they should also reciprocate otherwise many times we read sad news of public-military tussles. Anyway, I reached New Delhi somehow and
(To be continued)..