Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why he cannot have food ?

14 June 2013 | Friday
17:00 Hrs | B1, Shalimar Express

Today was my birthday and I was going to Jammu. I had completed 22 years of my life at 16:49  today and exactly at this time I was sitting in Shalimar Express that was passing from near the City Hospital & Nursing home, Ashok Nagar (residential area in Ghaziabad) where I was born in 1991. Incidentally, 2013 is  exactly similar to 1991 calender wise. I was supposed  to reach Jammu next morning as it was quite a long distance. My maternal relatives  boarded the train at Meerut Cantt. I was hoping for an eventful journey. First event unfolded in the bogie itself. I came across the most prettiest girl I have ever seen in my life and I would like to confess that I was charmed by her girlish behaviour  and shy smile. Looking so exquisite in black colour top & light brown hued cargo pant and hairs left opened looking so immaculate, she was a kind of girl whom I would like to take to meet my parents. Anyway I haven't written this article to tell you this. It was the next event that prompted me to write this article.

20:05 Hrs | Platform No. 5, Saharanpur Jn

It had been three & half hours approximately since I boarded the train at Ghaziabad Jn. The train had reached Saharanpur Jn and my body got sort of immobile due to sitting in the cool AC bogie for 3 hours. As the train reached at Saharanpur Jn I got out of the bogie and moved my eyeballs to locate any book stall. Fortunately I saw a large bookstall near my bogie only. Magazine and Music (MM) is something without which I cannot sustain. I purchased one recent India Today magazine whose cover page was highlighting the title" Untold story of Mahatma Gandhi and Madhuben" as well as background photo of both of them. I paid fifty rupees to the bookstall owner and he had  just returned me the balance fifteen rupees when suddenly somebody from behind pulled the corner of my shirt. I turned back to check who it was. There was a boy approximately 14 years old wearing cloths laden with dirt and foul smell who was asking me to give him some money so that he can buy some food as he was extremely  hungry. "This is the state  of poor people in India", I muttered. 
I gave him ten rupees & also asked him about his family . He told me his family is being look after by his father who is a labour.

Pluralistic and contemporary India characterized by rich and poor. Really embarrassing.

Meanwhile, I came back  to my berth. Notwithstanding the level of  mercury was high outside,  it was soothingly cold and comfortable inside. I opened the flap of the  magazine  plastic  cover and took it out to read. I flipped the pages arbitrarily and stopped at one page where there was a news printed that  actor Abir Goswami has died due to cardiac  arrest which somewhat saddened me. I was watching the movie Lakshya for quite some time repeatedly (since last 6 months as I had cleared UES-23 and was recommended to appear in SSB where if succeeded I will land in IMA, Dehradun ) . Anyway, commiserations for sad demise of Abir. Meanwhile the dinner arrived. My mother handed me the thali laden with chapattis, daal, mixed subzi, curd and ice-cream. Every item tasted awful except ice-cream. Indian Railways should really do something to address this basic problem of insipid meal let aside the modernization of whole railway network. Since the meal was flavorless I only ate partially and left the rest. 

I came to wash-basin to wash my hands. After washing the hands I came to the door,  wiping off my hands with  handkerchief. The train had just started to move. I was looking in the direction  of train's movement when suddenly I heard the sound of somebody crying from behind. I turned my head and saw the copious tears in eyes of that kid whom I met just 5 minutes ago. I loudly asked him the reason why he was crying when he told me someone had ferociously slapped him when he had stepped into the following bogie B2  for a beg. Train was speeding up. I spoke loudly to pacify him and told him to take admission in some government school where he can seek free education. The train had started gaining the speed by now and platform was left behind after another half a minute. Train  had  acquired  considerable speed  by  now  and was switching from one track to the another. Rattling noise of railway tracks was all that I could hear and  reflection of lights from  sodium lamps off the railway track was all that I could see. I closed the door and came inside the chamber. I didn't anticipated this kind of eventful journey.

Is it poverty which inhibits these marginalized and downtrodden people  from getting access to education or is it due to lack of education that poverty is prevailing in the Indian society ? 

A tough question indeed. Since this is a profoundly a matter of serious concern  now the question  arises how to address this concern. Is formulation of some legislation and its subsequent enactment is sufficient ? Is there any assurance regarding the enacted legislation being implemented at the grass root level. Well until this inconsistency persists the duo poverty-illiteracy will continue to co-exist and along with them its implications. Here the word implication is very deep and ranges from illiteracy, hunger, unemployment, malnutrition,  insanitation to  poor standard of living. There are number of schemes and programmes initiated by the Union Government to tackle all these menaces and when the things appear to fall in place the notorious corruption enters into the picture and corrodes the semantics of welfare schemes that were conceived after much deliberation. Embezzlement of public funds by the corrupt politicians  has always been the recurrent theme in the public welfare programmes. A holistic and integrated approach which would put forth public interest as supreme is need of the hour to address this menace particularly. Not to forget in the country like India  where burgeoning population has been the root cause of all the problems  nothing will materialize until this is controlled. For this to happen there is an utter need for creating awareness among the masses and this is not a new phrase that I am writing here but for some reason this burgeoning  population is reluctant to become stagnant let alone dip.