17 June, 2021

Burning Trains

Burning Trains
Speeding on the Magadh Express through the mustard-flower yellow countryside of Purvanchal, I reflected that eastern UP, which gave the world the Buddha and Tulsi Das, is also ahead in the matter of burning trains. The first to burn recently was the Licchavi Express, a Bhojpuri speakers special, which was reduced to a smouldering shell by rioting students in Ghazipur district. The causes of other blazes haven't been so clear, but it's a miracle there aren't more fires. Recently on the Taj Express, where my second class reserved compartment was twice as full as it should have been, I and other passengers complained repeatedly to the tte about a tea vendor pushing his way past us with a kettle and roaring kerosene stove. According to the warning on the wall of the compartment, the offence of lighting a stove on a train carried a two-year jail sentence. The tte listened to our protests but did nothing and even a complaint to the chairman of the Railway Board evinced no reaction.

My mission in Purvanchal was to carry 270 Hindi books to a girls' intercollege, 22 kilometres...

In this article:

More from Gillian Wright

Latest Magazine

June 21, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section