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India Revisited – Occasion: Rail Budget.

Yesterday Laloo Prasad Yadav, our railway minister announced the 2008 rail bugdet for India. People are excited with the fare cut as well the IT impact on indian rail and lots of other gifts and offers for rural india, as well as AC class passengers.

Looking at this in a newspaper, or on internet, all those who live in/outside india but never travel in the general class train must be saying “Wow. what a bugdet!” etc. etc.

Reality is what i faced 2 days ago. This saturday, when i had to travel in General class -For those who don’t know what a general class is, let me give you a glimpse: No reservation. First come first sit. No cushioned seats, but wooden planks seat. No AC, ofcourse. And, above all, no space.

The compartment was crowded – almost 3 times the actual capacity. I had to share my seat with Pallavi. 2 of us sat on one passenger seat. Many people did not even get a seat. They were standing all the way – to a 8-10 hours journey. We were lucky to have only 5 hrs journey. People had to sit in the doorway; next to the restrooms. They had to sit between the seats. It was -like what a general compartment is – and has been like this for years.

The India that we see on TV, in movies, in newspaper is much much different from what you see in reality. You have to go there, be there and see that to know the reality.
Are you trying? or you are happy enough with the rail budget?

Another news that made me smile today was the “Prayatn” (Try) Project of Sri Vaishnav Institute of Indore. The students are going to villages, and teaching computers to kids. In last 6 months they have shared basics of computer with almost 10000 students across villages. Yesterday when they went to showcase the same in one of the villages, there was no electricity. They had to wait for 2 hours before they could start. The two faces of the coin. On one hand, people who are trying to help. On the other, people who dont care about whether the villages are in dark or light.

Rail budget certainly is a relief to many. But only that is not the solution. Each of us need to do our own “Prayatn” to make India brighter.
I am not talking about lighting a bulb like shahrukh did in Swades. But, lighting even one soul, one life with the light of knowledge will be a great achievement.

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