This was a perennial pleasant evening in my Law Campus when I saw my Political Science teacher, Prof. Satyanarayan Jena, discussing something with some of the other students in the Campus. As, I love talking to him and generally discuss a range of topic with him in his free time, I took no time to reach to him to listen to what his anticipated interesting conversation was all about. I silently stood beside him in a greed to educate myself with his precious words which are often combined with the invaluable experiences of his life.
The discussion going on was about ‘The Life and Time’. He asked me about my understanding of ‘Life and Time’ but I failed to satisfy him with my response. He then put his own and it was far more than convincing. He said, “Your Life is nothing but the Time and the Time is nothing but your Life itself”. He explicated his philosophical parlance by a practical illustration. He asked me my age. I said – 23 years. He then asked, did you physically exist before 23 years of your age and I said ‘No’. He then asked – will you physically exist after your demise? I said – No. Then – he asked- now tell me, what constitutes your ‘Life’? I immediately quipped – It’s the time for which I survive and exist on this planet. He carried on the enlightening conversation by saying “You never physically existed before your birth and shall never physically exist after your demise. Thus your life constitutes the period of time in between your birth and death. This provides an obvious conclusion that your Life is your time and the time is your life.”
This philosophically bent conversation about ‘Life and Time’ revisited my memory last week when I saw the daily railway commuters and the other people crossing the railway track beneath a standing Goods train by avoiding the use of foot over bridge, at Bihta railway station, near Patna in Bihar. I had the occasion to stay at the station for around 50 minutes, while waiting for my train to arrive. But the scene I witnessed there during these moments, indeed put me in a deep state of shock, for the way the people were risking their precious lives in order to save few seconds of their valuable time. It was while I was waiting at the station for my train to come that a Goods train arrived at the down line and stood at the track because the line ahead was not clear. During this period of 50 minutes of my stay at the station, around 100 people crossed the railway track and that too beneath the standing Good’s train, which nobody had any idea about, when it could start moving.
Among these crossers were people of all category including men, women, minors and senior citizens. Then I understood that a rational understanding has hardly any legitimate connection with sex, gender and age of a person. I captured few of these sobering scenes in my Mobile Camera, which are self-explanatory of the enormity of the situation. The point arises, whether few seconds of our lives are indeed so precious than our lives itself that people avoid to use foot over bridge in order to cross railway tracks? The people seriously need a deep introspection on the issue. This becomes particularly important in the light of the fact that doing so is a punishable offence under section 147 of the ‘The Railways Act 1989’. Many precious lives have been lost in these attempts of saving time or showing haste and continue to occur on daily basis.
Though, the people are at the primary fault but the other side of the scene can’t be easily overlooked too. The basic nature of the humans always tend to have shortcuts for everything including their destinations and there comes the significant role of the law enforcement agencies. The GRP and RPF Personnel deployed at the stations must take a serious note of it by initiating the legal process against the offenders. Those violating the legal provisions of crossing the railway tracks illegally must be brought to book and stringent legal action should be taken against them. Not only this, the Railway should run an awareness program simultaneously and then only the situation can be controlled, if not completely then satisfactorily. If the Railway officials fail to do so, they too are identically and legally responsible for negligence in their duty.