Mr. Bipin Gandhi is a man of substance. He is rigorously following the footsteps of our passionate freedom fighters. ‘Spreading Knowledge’, ‘Creating Awareness’ are his teachings and preaching. He is spotted in mostly Panchvati Express and many other trains educating the commuters and bridging the gap between railways and passengers.
The team of Page 3 Nashik was privileged to share a candid conversation with Mr. Bipin Gandhi on a journey to Mumbai. Here is what Mr. Gandhi has to say.
Page 3 Nashik: We would like to know your role in the Panchvati Express? And why did you choose to do this?
Mr. Bipin: I don’t just work for Panchvati Express; there are many other rails also. From last 33 years, I have been associated with the railway and my observation in this field has been that there is a bridge between the passengers and railway. Our duty is to fill in the gaps. India is huge country, and the rail network is spread across 65000 kms. The railway authority has limited resources. Due to the lack of a big team each passenger travelling in the train cannot have personal assistance and explanation of the rail’s rules and orders. We are approximately a population of 1.25 crore in the country, it is not possible for the railway personnel to go and expound each individual about the disciplinary acts as to what to drink, what to eat, the trash can rules and many more. The major hurdle is people interacting with pheri waalas.
So to safeguard the public from having a bad experience during the journey we take the responsibility and try to aware as many passengers as possible. We also provide suggestions to the railway authorities as we directly interact with the audience and have control over the situations. Few of the suggestions are taken care of by the rail administrators but there are also some which are not paid attention for many reasons. Despite all the obstacles, we have tried to accomplish 50% of the passenger needs.
In the span of 10 years, I have tried to educate almost 11 lac passengers. It was not that easy as every day, every situation was different from the previous one. But my efforts have paid off. One more thing which I tell people is to help each other, you never know in these 4 hours of journey you might end up helping someone for good.
Sometimes it’s difficult to understand that people sit beside each other for 4 hours and don’t utter a single word. We Indians are very comfortable with talking and sharing ideas with foreigners so why not with our own people? What wrong in that? But after all, our responsibility is to educate people, if they agree well, it’s good for them, but if they don’t, we definitely don’t force them.
Page 3 Nashik: We have heard about the upcoming Nashik Terminus? Is the information reliable?
Mr. Bipin: We have put forth a proposal for Nashik Terminus, with which we can send trains to Aurangabad, Pune, Bhusawal, Dhulia, Mumbai, etc. Also a proposal for local trains in Nashik has been proposed. Nashik local will reduce the burden of Mumbai locals is what we believe.
Page 3 Nashik: What got you to the Rail Parishad, an NGO? How did it all start?
Before the President of Rail Parishad, I am a passenger. I have been travelling through railways since childhood. Railways are a medium to cater the needs of middle and lower middle class people, and I am one of those. Railway has become a behavior for me. I suggest regular passengers to take travelling passes which cost Rs.6000 for 3 months. If one takes rail tickets every day the amount goes up to Rs.55000-60000 for 3 months. We are here to help commuters to in every aspect.
Page 3 Nashik: Who all are involved in this NGO?
Mr. Bipin: It is a big team with intelligent people from different streams. We have senior citizens, retired personnel, businessmen, female assistances and many others. Each one contributes in some or the other way. Of course we have certain duties allotted but it totally depends on the specific projects we undertake. One good thing is that we don’t need any funds because whatever project we undertake we share it within the team and work on it. There are people who call us to undertake any kind of social activity and we voluntarily do it without acquiring any funds from them. And we hope this continues and remains the same with god’s grace.
Page 3 Nashik: Tell us something about the recent recognition in the ‘Limca book of records?’
Mr. Bipin: We got it for spreading awareness. The activity that we conduct during the voyage is we start from Nashik and till the time we reach Igatpuri one talks, read newspapers and meanwhile has his/her breakfast. The breakfast duration lasts from Igatpuri to Kasara. At Igatpuri station all lights are turned off and all other electronic devices like mobile phones, laptops are requested to turn off. From Igatpuri to Kalyan station there is a meditation section wherein all the passengers are asked to take part. This proceeds for nearly 1 or one and a half hours. The lights are then turned on and people can continue with their work. But not to forget the discipline as people are still in the non-chaotic aura. And we appreciate the sincere obedience of the people as they are generally nice educated people and know their limitations. The crowd includes mostly Servicemen, Businessmen, Politicians, Social workers and all those who lead the country. Limca Book of records has given us the recognition and we are glad that other railway departments are also trying to follow this trend.
We are only aiming to respect the efforts of our freedom fighters and not misuse it. They initiated it and we are the responsible ones to continue the same. It’s a request to all the individuals to train their families, friends, and kids and near and dear ones to take necessary actions.
Talking about the importance of creating awareness I would like to share an incidence with you and the audiences. An unfortunate incidence took place with a 20 year old female who halted at a platform to drink a cup of tea. After drinking the tea she got unconscious and when, after 3 days she got back to her senses she found herself in a chamber (Kotha). She had no clue that the poisonous tea would land her up to a filthy chamber in Mumbai. The awful event was brought into picture when a wise man helped her to get rid of that place. People are unaware of all the incidents as they are not covered in newspapers, radio or anywhere. So our duty is to secure these poor innocent souls from people’s violent streak.
Page 3 Nashik: So why does not the railway authority take severe steps to ban the entering of pheri waalas in trains?
The railway does take steps to put restrictions and has the authority to do so. But it is a lengthy procedure. There are 21 coaches and 2 TCs. Hence it becomes difficult to keep a track on the happenings. Adding to this, the most disappointing part is that the pheri waalas are taking advantage of it and with the widespread channel are creating havoc for the administrators. So we are doing the best we can and hope it is a successful journey.
Page 3 Nashik: We would appreciate if you share your valuable message with our followers/young readers?
Mr. Bipin: I would like to tell our people that our freedom should not be taken for granted and should not be limited to just words. Practical implication is a must. Show a way to the country and more than that give a direction to your life. To achieve the same, one should work on the field and get the taste of it. If you have not experienced you will not be able to undertake and understand the task. It’s all about give and take, It is not just the railways, but being practical is required in all the walks of life. I hope we receive great cooperation from the public at large and make our country proudly aware.