TW Newsdesk, Nov 23: A day after the Indian Railways withdrew the uniform of the staff serving on the Ramayana Express amid objections from a section of seers, railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said today the issue has been a learning experience.
“We have learned from it. When we deal with any point in culture then there are many sensitive points to it. We must consciously adapt in our processes of designing, food, dress and other things,” railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, according to news agency ANI.
“So, we should move forward with this learning,” Ashwini Vaishnaw added.
The catering and tourism arm of the railways ministry, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), said yesterday that it will change the saffron uniform of the serving staff on board the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train after seers from Ujjain took strong objection to the dress code, saying it was an “insult” to Hindu religion.
“It is to inform that the dress of service staff is completely changed in the look of professional attire of service staff,” IRCTC said in a tweet yesterday.
The seers threatened to stop the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train at Delhi’s Safdarjung railway station on December 12 if the dress code was not withdrawn.
“We have written a letter two days back to the Union Railway Minister lodging our protest against waiters in saffron serving refreshments and food in the Ramayan Express,” Ujjain Akhada Parishad’s former general secretary Avdeshpuri told PTI.
“Donning saffron attire with sadhu-like headgear and wearing ‘malas’ (necklaces) of ‘rudraksha’ (sacred seeds) is an insult to Hindu religion and its seers,” he said, adding it was necessary for protecting the Hindu religion.
After IRCTC changed the uniform of the staff on the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train, Avdeshpuri told PTI “it is a victory of (Hindu) religion and sanskriti (culture)” and that it was his duty to raise the issue.
IRCTC launched the special tourist train in line with the government’s initiative “Dekho Apna Desh” to promote domestic tourism on November 7. At a price of ₹82,950 per person for 2AC and ₹102,095 for 1AC class, the train will take passengers to 15 places associated with the life of Lord Ram.
Pilgrims will be taken to places such as Ayodhya, Prayagraj, Nandigram, Janakpur, Chitrakoot, Sitamarhi, Nashik, Hampi and Rameshwaram as the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special Train will cover a distance of more than 7,500km.
After the first Ramayana Express started earlier this month, Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted that there was an “overwhelming response” to the first tour of the Shri Ramayana Yatra Special with 100 per cent occupancy. He also announced that the next tour on the Ramayana circuit is on December 12.