Sensitization in Train

One of our IDIA volunteers provides an interesting perspective on IDIA sensitizations, while chancing upon a new avenue for conducting sensitizations – while travelling in trains!

I was travelling in 18477/Kalinga Utkal Express from Cuttack to my hometown in Madhya Pradesh. Travelling in this train has always been a lesson in patience for me, as it is a good 33 hour long train ride. But I seldom complain, in spite of Utkal express stopping at almost every station. This is because it makes time to drift through the beautiful wilderness of Sal Forests en route, and it is simply a treat to one’s eyes.

So there I was in the train, thinking and planning for things to do back home and during my internship etc. With these thoughts in my mind I opened my diary and came across a quote that I had jotted down few days back:

‘We can do no great things, only small things with great love.’

I was flummoxed by the very profoundness of this line.

Later in the evening, my head was filled with endless strings of thoughts as I sat peering through the window, half viewing the changing scenes outside and half absorbed in my own thoughts. I was suddenly jolted by a voice shrilly announcing, “Paani Bottle, Frooti, Cold Drink, Dahi…”. I looked around and discovered a vendor selling refreshments. I took a water bottle (with my conscious indignation towards privatization of water and with the additional disappointment of buying Ozonised, UV Water) and I asked him “Bhaiya, Kitna?” (How much?)

He replied, “Bees rupaya” (20 rupees).

After checking the price on the bottle I gave him 15 rupees and then started a conversation on unjust hike in price of water bottle which led to a personal conversation about his life as a worker in the Pantry Car and the kind of difficulties he was facing. The conversation got over abruptly as the other passengers asked to buy something from him.

Out of sheer inquisitiveness I went to the Pantry Car at night and started a conversation with some of the staff that was present there. It must have been a good break from the monotonous life they were leading in the train as they seemed very keen to strike up a conversation with me. I told them about what I am doing and the scope for learning, personal development and professional growth in the field of law (with, of course, a little over-emphasis here and there to hold their interest for long). The conversation continued and I told them about IDIA, its vision and what it does to achieve the same. Their curiosity was piqued and they seemed interested in getting their kids to study in National Law Universities and other top law schools. But they immediately told me that they don’t even earn enough to send their children to proper schools. As saddening it was to hear that, we eventually moved to talking about other topics, such as, about the passengers and about railways in general, before I retired back to my seat. I regretted not carrying any IDIA pamphlets to share with them.

Post my first experience sensitizing in the train, I have resolved to do this in other trains I shall take in future as well. I think we can all try out such things at different places ranging from trains to local buses and even roadside dhabas. Spaces such as these, gives us ample amount of time and scope to explain in detail to people about the field of law and the work of IDIA. Sensitization is not merely a way to select IDIA scholars but simply to create greater awareness among the deliberately silenced and the marginalized groups of people. Sensitization as a process is an end it itself.


Written by Abhay Jain, Volunteer and former Team Leader, IDIA Odisha Chapter, and Student, National Law University Odisha

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