The digital clock at platform no.3 of Lokmanya Tilak Terminus was precisely showing 20:35, when Jnaneswari Delux blew its final whistle and left for its destination — Howrah Jn. — a 31 hour long and tiring journey, for each and every passenger, in that scorching heat of may 2010, who was travelling in sleeper and general compartments.
To say that the sleeper and general bogies were jam-packed and over-stuffed would be an understatement.
People were sitting all over the train floor and a few lucky ones were sleeping beneath the lower berths (a place used for keeping luggage), each berth was shared by 3 to 4 persons, every vestibule was cramped with more than 10 persons standing inside it, and those who couldn’t find a place, took shelter inside the lavatories. It was as if the kumbh had moved from Banaras to Jnaneswari Delx. It was as if it was the last train to heaven.
This is the usual scenario seen on the particular train on a daily basis, but on that day it was mainly because of the hundreds of students who were going home for summer vacations.
Ah, home sweet home.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, excites them more than the thought of going home to all those students who are forced to go to distant cities in order to pursue better education for a better life.
But all those students knew not a damn thing about that law which dictates the travel via trains in India. That there are these unholy saints who are dressed in khaki and are better known as GRPF — General Railway Protection Force — who are to be FED and SATISFIED fully for their pampered bellies in order to have a safe and relaxing journey till the sweet home arrives.
So those who are not aware of the law must be taught about it well and taught hard. And that’s how it happened.
After completing 27 hours of its journey, 2010 — the Jnaneswari Delx — was hurriedly running towards its final destination, when around midnight, a station before Chagadarpur (in the Jharkhand region) the GRPF (about 12 in total) boarded the train. Now there was absolutely nothing wrong in that, they are the Protection Force and are supposed to board the trains at night to help protect the passengers from the thieves and thugs. But there was something on them which was not only wrong but was also against the rule.
None of them were wearing their name tag on their chest. It was empty, to say they looked precisely like those fake Sadhus who sport long hairs and wears saffron coloured clothes and also carry their kamandal but forget to carry that one thing which makes a man a saint (Sadhu)- ‘Calmness of mind, body and soul.’
People, who noticed this, immediately knew what was going to happen. But apart from that, what was more alarming that they were so heavily drunk that none of them was able to walk properly.
Few people from a certain society would ask, ‘so what’s the big fuss in that? They work 24x7x365 days, they are also human beings, can’t they have a drink or two to relax?’
No, they can’t! Not that they are not supposed to but because they are out their protecting the law, a law which needs to be abided to. And if they are allowed to drink on duty then it means that because they are from the system and anyone who is from the system has the righteous right to break the law first. Which results in the conclusion that, if they desire to do so, nothing should and could be done to them as they are out there protecting the law from non-system guys.
Just like the theory the ‘fake’ Sadhus believe in — that if they touch anyone while giving them blessings then their (Sadhus) good deeds and all the holiness will go to the person whom they touched while blessing and hence refrain from touching, but of course, there’s always an exemption-so when it comes to blessing the young females they go out of their ways to bless them (if you have been feeding yourself with recent daily breaking news regarding the retarded godmans of our nation then you will not be having any problem understanding the message I am not clearly stating here).
Moving further ahead, what followed was not only disgusting and shocking but was sheer mockery of the law and system from its own men.
The GRPF started picking up every second passenger who were either sleeping on the floor or was sharing a berth with another. They then divided themselves in 4 groups and began their ‘search.’
The passengers knew what was in store for them but couldn’t dare to do or say anything as it would mean that they then had to go through those laws which the ‘Unholy Saints in Khaki’ have invented for their own conveniance.
Some of these ‘laws’ include — getting beaten down by thick wooden sticks, being stripped down in front of others, or worse going to jail for interrupting the so called mandatory search.
These are just few of the lawful punishments which the ‘poor’ passengers face when they ask — ‘par humara gunaah ka hai, maalik, hum kiye ka hain?’ (But what is my fault, sir, what crime have I committed?)
But there’s a way out of it. If they pay the ‘fine’ charged by the GRPF guys, which ranges anything from 50 rupees to 100 to 200 and sometime even going to and above 300 rupees, that depending on the distance of the crime the passenger is committing by travelling via the train (even if they have a valid ticket and ID proof in some cases), they are then ‘let off’.
Of course, with a very sincere and lawful warning by the GRPF guys, that goes something like this — ‘Aage se kono sawaal na puchhiy. Je maange chup-chaap haatheliya me dhar diyo, nahi toh jaanat ho na, kanoon ke haath ketan lamba hot rahis?’ (From now on do not ask questions, whatever we demand, silently put the amount in our hands, or else aren’t you are aware of how long the arm of the law is?) — And then they would break into a mocking laughter.
The other passengers fearing that the same might happen to them don’t move from their place or even raise a voice, of course, even though they are all wide awake and witnessing the (un)lawful ongoing. They just lie still and watch in horror. And their fear is very much justified, as those ‘Unholy Saints in Khaki’ are quite unbiased towards the ‘poor mango man’ in their quest to enlighten them with their ‘lawful’ wisdom on the activities that the Great Law of the so called Greatest Nation on earth empowers them with.
And so that’s exactly what happened on that night in that train no: — 2101 — the Jnaneswari Delx — every passenger, who was ‘picked up’, ended up paying 100, 200 and 300 as ‘fine’ charged by the GRPF, because they were travelling ‘illegally’ with, of course, a valid ticket. The ‘poor’ passengers who dared to argue with them were labelled with the choicest abuses.
The ‘Unholy Saints in Khaki’ got down at Tatanagar, of course, only after they had earned their ‘holiness’ of the night. The passengers who were looted by the man from the law went into the grief mode and the passengers who weren’t, started abusing the poor, little GRPF and voicing their personalized views about them.
Again, few people from a certain society would say ‘they aren’t committing a crime, they are just doing their duty.’
So this means that the GRPF and other government officials who work as public servants are in the FORCE to ‘force’ the poor and innocent people pay for their low-paying 24x7x365 days job from whose salary they (the man from the system) daily drench themselves in alcohol but are unable to run their family so they go out and rob from the same people whose blood and sweat is being used to pay for their salary month after month.
Then let those certain few people from a certain society decide — ‘If this is not crime then what is it?’
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz