One Year at Indian Railways

At IRICEN, Faculty and Probationers

Recently, IRSE 2013 batch completed one year of service in Indian Railways. One year in any organization is not long enough to understand the intricate details of the system. Not many among us can say that we now know everything about Railways,at best we have only got the opportunity to look through the widow into this huge organization. Whatever we have know in last year has overwhelmed us in its complexity and magnificence.

Last one year has been filled with many eventful moments in the journey of life as well as the train. As a passenger, we may not appreciate the the work that Railways do. Its primary role is of transporting people from their place of origin to their place of destination safely. This business of transportation may seem to be devoid of any essence and work satisfaction. Let me tell you that opposite is the case here. Indian Railways is a world in itself with its different organizations as the family members. Railway board sits at the apex of family tree, controlling everyone in most of the aspects of their working. Various zones are like cousins, some big ,some small. General Manager is the paternal figure of the Zone. Similarly, Divisional Railway Manager is the apex authority at division. The basic functional unit of working is division. It is from here that operation starts and goes upto Railway Board. For you to travel in train, it takes effort of thousand of people to complete you journey, from origin to destination.

Importance of railways shouldn’t be looked only form point of view of a commercial transporter. I think it would be fair to say that Airports doesn’t represent the majority of us, it is the railway station which is the microcosm of India. At railway stations we are witness to every aspect of life, from birth to death, the railway stations of India forms an integral part of average Indian. Railways stations are lodging places for homeless, railways tracks are infamous for open defecation and suicide. It is hard to accept this fact that so much of engineering is tarnished by the insensible acts of people. But this doesn’t represent failure of railways, it is our collective failure that after 68 years of freedom, poverty and illiteracy, malnutrition and mortality, absence of hygiene and drinking water is persistent reality and you come to know this only when you travel  in Indian Railways.

Sometimes rail journey should be undertaken to feel the discomfort of masses.In last one year, we have traveled in every part of train, from engine to guard vain. When you make a transition from AC 1 to unreserved , you see  classic example of class difference. In AC 1 politicians travel , who represent the masses travelling in unreserved coaches. I am not saying that there should be no AC 1 but there should not be any unreserved coaches where people are stuffed like animals.

I strongly believe that development of Railways is the parameter of growth for National Economy. When you go to a railway station and don’t find any change, it is for granted that there has been no significant change in lives of average Indian. Until, the distressed faces of rural workers replaces well fed and well dressed people boarding the train , take it for granted that there has been no ‘Acche Din’. Until the passenger travelling on the floor of coaches get confirm seats, there has been no ‘Acche Din’. Until TTE treat you with respect, there has been no ‘Acche Din’.

As a probationer, we had the opportunity to travel the length and breath of this great country, we can proudly say that Indian Railways truly call itself the ‘Lifeline of Nation’. It takes the workforce of around 12 lakhs to keep this life line functioning, day and night. It is necessary for the government of the day to infuse some vitality in this lifeline.

Railways should be seen as more than a transporter,it the collective heritage of our national identity persisting through best and worst of times.