Sunday, January 17, 2010

One Night with India

This is a true story. This incident happened in train moving from Deoghar (Bihar) to Howrah on 28th Nov 2009

Date: 28-29th Nov

Time : 2:30 AM

Place: Sleeper coach of express

As me and my bro-in-law Ravi Da crouched in our sleeper coach seats further, our coach door opened again giving way to freezing winds. As I tried to close it again literally shaking with cold, it was clear that we will not be able to get any sleep tonight.

Earlier, as me and Ranu were returning from her brother’s wedding, we missed our train to Howrah. We had a connecting flight the next morning and luckily Ravi Da had reservation in 3rd AC in another train. We had to board it anyway. After settling Ranu in ac coach, me and ravi da moved to the next sleeper with side berth next to the doors.

It was freezing outside with temperature probably going below 50C. Wind, accentuated by moving train, was piercing our bodies despite we had three layers of clothing and kept the shoes on.

After two hours, we both knew that it was a futile fight with the freezing cold and we just started chatting to get through the long night ahead.

And suddenly I saw something which I thought could only be seen at Guantanamo prison–a thin, 30 something handcuffed man was nearly completely stripped except the bare minimum and was being pushed from other side of the coach by the policemen. As they brought him to the area near the door I could listen to the happiness in their voice in catching their “Juta Chor”.

I can’t believe it even now that someone can actually survive in that cold with nothing on the body. But my belief was going to take many shocks tonight as the show has just begun.

One policeman pushed him near the sink and opened both the doors. As the crosswinds rushed through, i literally started shaking

The chor by itself shrunk into a blob as his body tried to revolt for its survival. It actually looked as if Kevin Carter’s famous photograph came alive in front of me (link:

And this is when policemen decided to "ramp it up" a little bit.

Policeman 1 filled a mug of freezing water from the sink and threatened our Juta Chor –“Saale bolta hai ya daalun”

I really thought the man would die if the water is poured on him…I even thought that he might even prefer jumping from the moving train rather than die from cold.

But to my relief the policeman did not go through the act.

"Don't they have human rights laws against this? " - I asked with a innocence of wide-eyed 6 year old. To which Ravi Da gave a smirk which could probably classify as - "This is India Dude....where have you been all your life? "

As the night passed the policemen continued to press him to confess the crime…they threatened to hit him with the rifle butt. ...abused him....deprived him of a bidi which he found on the floor..

To be fair to the policemen, they gave him tea in the end probably fearing that the guy will die.

Once arriving upon Howrah , they kicked him out of the coach where some other policemen also joined to share the credit of catching the chor.

And all this left me thinking –

Who is the real criminal?

The juta chor ?

The policemen - who have just committed a crime for which they will never get punished?

Me? - Who looked helplessly without uttering a single word?

OR The system which believes in punishment rather than rehabilitation


  1. Well, we can't keep the emotional part aside but us soch ko badalna zaruri hai jo galat hai..Jahan tak sudhaar k tareekey ki baat hai, us per gaur dena bhi utna hi zaruri hai.
    Ek kadwa sach ye bhi hai ki laato k bhoot baaton se nahi maante..

  2. Will be disturbing for someone who saw the whole thing... knowing this country.. i can tell you are not the criminal.

    Nothing would have come even if you had sit to talk with the respected policeman.. explanations and arguments would follow...the only thing you would have gained is frustration, helplessness. This surprisingly has become common sense :'(

    The way to power changes people and they loose the plot... Something like Star wars(Revenge of sith).. you start with something and end up doing something else..

    Similar to the dialogue in Dark knight - you either be a hero or live long enough to see youself become the villain..the line you draw on how to punish someone is very personal. also varies in different countries... too less will not be much of a deterrent. too high and human rights can come to picture..
    You can speculate and argue.. but for everyone to hear.. you need POWER my friend

  3. India ..where thinktanks promise to build a bridge even where there is no river

  4. See, you see this as a isolated incident. But injustice is all around us. We see it daily. When we cannot keep up the law 100%, how can we expect others to? The police are the keepers of the law, and they are as careless as us.