Indian Railways- The General Coach

The stark difference between India and Bharat, which is the talk of the town these days is easily appreciable if one walks through any train from the AC coaches to the general compartment. The railway minister talks a lot about introducing a lot many populist schemes, but have we thought which is the class which is truly getting benefitted. I am a frequent traveller of the general compartment, and it is an eye-opener, to remind me always of the real India which is accustomed to a sub-human existence. But the journey that I had yesterday was by all means a traumatic experience.

There is no point in mentioning the train name, as conditions are more or less similar across the country. The general coach was full and there was no place even to stand. After somehow managing to enter the train at Delhi, I waited for the train to reach Mathura, where still more people came in, to the point where it was difficult to breathe. The Indians are very accommodative, and this I re-realized yesterday where people who were barely sitting got up so that 2 people could stand. When the train moved out of Mathura, 2 ladies vomited one after another in the coach and the situation became difficult, at 2 am in the night. The only reason for their condition was over crowding. Now, space was further limited.

What I want to point out is that we talk about the poor, the needy and the need to do something for them, and here, there is a huge chunk of people who pays sufficiently (looking at the bulk of passengers, each general coach contributes more than a sleeper.) for the journey, still travel worse than animals, just because they are too weak to raise their voice, or their voice is not going to be heard anyways. 200 years of British rule has made the weaker ones among us too submissive?

People travel at the roofs of train and die. They stand at the gate and get hurt. Are we so many that these depths do not matter at all? Youth coming back from a cancelled ITBP recruitment drive, sitting on roof of a coach were hit by a low lying bridge and many of them died. All were able bodied youth. We may say, “why did they sit on the roof at all?” But did they have a choice? No matter how many Durontos or Double decker AC trains we run, until and unless the number of general coaches are increased, the railway minister can never take credit of being people friendly. Those travelling in general coaches deserve the treatment of a human being; any other station modernization on world class pattern is secondary. Besides, the income from general unreserved tickets should be calculated and at least coaches should be increased in that proportion. Why do we have 2 general coaches, and 20 reserved coaches, only because the poor are going to adjust somehow, even if they have a single coach for them? It makes no business sense to add general coaches. During the festive season, extra bogies are added for sleeper class and AC, but not a single general coach is added. Ading extra reservation bogies makes it difficult to add general coaches in 24 coach trains, as platform space is limited. In these cases, more general bogies in shorter trains will go a long way in relieving distress to the common man, travelling back home by the train. There are non-Ac trains like Jan Shatabdi which in spite of being only non-AC sitting cars, have no general coaches. Till when are these policies of exclusion going to continue and who is going to pay heed to this?

It is not that yesterday’s journey made me suffer and so I am venting out my frustration. I have a choice to pay more and get a reserved ticket, and forget all this. But there are people, who, by the accident of birth in a less privileged family, have no option but to travel the same way. We have no right to boast of our democracy if we are not able to treat our people as humans, and give them at least what is their due. Having more general coaches is their right and not an act of pity towards them.

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Santosh Yadav on May 9, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I agree with this. The situation is indeed terrible in the general coaches. It’s not difficult to improve this situation if the concerned authorities really take interest in solving the problem. Anyone travelling in General Coaches deserves some minimum decent level of service levels by Indian Railways.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Nimesh on June 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I am also travelling in general coach today, just for experience. You are true, they should be treated like human.

    Reply

  3. Hello Dr.karan.I 2 feel bad watching the condition,but these people need some leaders to lead them.See what mamta didi did 2 railways in bengal.The ever increasing diff bet Rich & poor will not decrease until our POlitics will have young blood.We talk about general but ourselves travel by AC or reserved coaches.It wouldn’t help in any way.Hope u got my point.
    thanks

    Reply

  4. Plz govt. do sumthng for them

    Reply

  5. Solid post. I study something like this here at UC Berkeley.
    It’s always beneficial to learn new stuff from fellow writers and get ideas from new sources. I’d like to incorporate some of this material on my own page (if you don’t mind). And of course, I’ll post a link
    to your site at wordpress.com on my own blog. Kudos for posting.

    Reply

  6. Posted by RAJIV SRIVASTAVA on July 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

    JANRAL COACH M SAFAR KARNE KA MATLAB HAI BHAGWAN UTNE SAMAY KI LISI PAP KI SAJA DI HO

    Reply

  7. Happiness is a state of mind. When I was a student I used to travel in General class with 4 or 5 friends, that was fun sometimes aruing or making friends with other passengers. Our trains were from Chennai to Kerala overnight. Nowadys we (me and my friends) need a 3rd AC or atleast a Sleeper class. But whenever I travel alone I go by GS. I still enjoy and take it like a whole night fitness test. If you can not survive a night in General class, Your body is weak. Muscles dont mean strength or endurance. Migrating labours are nothing less than happy with this level of comfort. I have even seen mothers sleepng with their children on the walk ways. There are 100s of people who play it cool, talk to others, stop others who fight, share seats, help others, dont talk rules, spend less and reach their destination with general class. Its just like the russian traveller to India who wrote that his car didnt have AC and temrature was high with trafic jams. So he removed his shirt and start to think of it as a Sauna bath, made the best out of the situation.
    But the railways can just add another 1 or 2 compartments to the generals during weekends/festivals (and collect 10 Rs more per ticket). That will make it much better

    Reply

  8. Posted by Joseph john on November 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Baat toh sahi hai per ye india hai yahan ki abadi bhi jyada hai mumbai local se leker her bade sehar se chalne wali local trains ka yehi haal hai . Mera apna manna hai ki railway ministry ko sirf genaral coaches wali pesenger trains badani chahiye . – joseph

    Reply

  9. Posted by K N Singh on September 8, 2014 at 2:28 am

    Such a situation can not be controlled unless with real intention at the hands of Government. Even if you increase general coaches and trains, the situation will remain the same as the the politicians are there to get votes and not to control population. All development comes to naive with increase in population. It is this segment of lower class that contributes of 100% of increase in population.

    Reply

  10. Posted by siddharth on April 17, 2015 at 3:37 am

    I am going to travel in one tonight! Have travelled earlier too. Many times you see act of kindness in such inhuman situations. Its amazing to see human spirit soar in difficult situation. GOVT make more general coaches. I know GOVT, you bother a damn and I dont know how to make GOVT read these posts

    Reply

  11. Posted by Sanket Prabhudesai on July 13, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I totally agree with the conditions that you mentioned but pointing out problems are easy compared to finding out solutions. We should try to suggest new innovative ideas rather than just complaining. Like the double decker train started in Konkan Railways is a great start in dealing with population traveling everyday in our trains. Writer should note that I am not opposing his view on current scenario but just asking what suggestions he has to Indian Railways.
    Thank you

    Reply

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