Categories
India Opinion Transportation

Safety on trains cannot wait

I was trying to imagine the ill fate of those 32 who perished in the Tamil Nadu Express fire today morning. What wrong could they have done, to have found themselves on the S11 coach of the train? The scenes of the fire were rather gory, pictures seen across the media houses of the country over the course of this day. Many more have been injured, some miraculously escaped through the skin of their teeth and the rest were not lucky enough to get through this. For a railway network, which focusses on new trains to the home state of the railway minister amongst other states and some other measures, safety could be one of the core issues which might require an urgent look in and addressed in the truest of senses.
This is not an attempt to point fingers at the Railway Ministry or the officials in the Railways or even the government over their usually callous attitude to everything that happens around them. But this incident could have happened in a general compartment next door (since S11 should be presumably next to the general compartment, in a 24 coach train such as the Tamil Nadu Express) instead and it could have been catastrophic. I believe, that at any point in time, there are atleast 150 people, if not less travelling in these general compartments. That is no way a justification that something like this could happen in a sleeper compartment and we be mum over the issue.
I had read a couple of months ago, at the prospect of introducing fire proof coaches in the mails and express trains of the Indian Railways. Tamil Nadu Express, being a priority train for the government (Yes, there are always trains from a state which have higher priorities over the others. For ex: 12623/24 Trivandrum – Chennai Mail has a priority over every other train running in that section) should have been one of the first beneficiaries of this, had the implementation been properly executed on the ground. And maybe, this article may have never even come up here. Railway authorities may point out that the number of accidents have decreased – as they have tried to show here right after the accident, but there still is room for making sure this issue of safety completely foolproof to a very good degree.
Categories
Miscellaneous

On the maya beheading and some real filmy burglars

Maya’s statue got beheaded in Lucknow today. And very soon after the incident, there was a message from memsaheb addressed to the cadres. She, in a message to the cadres requested them not to take law into their hands it seems. And this group which damaged the statues, demanded her arrest and also pleaded that the statues be demolished within 72 hours to save the swabhimaan of the state.

I was thinking of this gang which did the beheading of the statue. So kind of them to give a trial run before they go about working  out their trade on flesh and blood. 

There was also this incident in Chennai where miscreants returned 70 sovereigns worth gold and other valuables which they had stolen from a home after breaking into it last week. They returned the complete amount and also enclosed a sorry note along with it, addressed to the victims. I don’t understand the source of their goodness now. Maybe they went into the wrong home. Or maybe they wanted to test their skills before the real deal. Oh come on, who am I kidding?! Filmy burglars.    
Categories
India Life People

On Diplomatic mishaps and tragedies…

I met up with this long time Bangladeshi friend I knew through emails and Facebook today. Although I knew this guy for almost a year and we were put up in the same city for around 9 months, it so happened that we could meet up only at this point in time. And that too, because he was leaving Lisbon and headed to Barcelona. We discussed on his journey from Dhaka to Lisbon – one which was quite arduous to a listener myself, so I could imagine how much more difficult it could have been for the one facing the music.
 
And the villain in the eye of the storm was the Republic of India. Quite unbelievably so. Although I knew there was a wee bit of criticism on the diplomatic, administrative and bureaucratic setup prevailing in this country, I for one was completely unaware of the complexity of the situation especially for a foreigner in my country. I will not go into the details for personal reasons, but it all started at one of these embassies for obtaining a visa. Yes I know of our people who have faced similar problems in the States or even down under in Australia, but here we are talking about neighbours – people of the same ilk, who fortunately or unfortunately got separated to the other side of the fence and now find themselves to be in a clueless situation in this godforsaken alien land of ours. And hearing his story, I was astonished to know that he had to resort to consular assistance from Bangladesh to get things on track in Delhi. The callous and deplorable attitude with which these diplomatic officials operate in this country is something we are unnecessarily getting too used to and not caring to work on for betterment.
 
That’s not what happens when a Portuguese goes for seeking diplomatic assistance in Spain or even an Englishman goes across the channel to France for diplomatic support. That is just not something that should be happening anywhere else, for that matter.  
____________________________________________________________
 
And yes, here is something different that you may also like. An article on the Times speaking about the views of foreigner women on India and Indians themselves. Quite an interesting read although one doubts over the amount of homework done on this piece.