Meet the woman chronicling Railways' journey for four decades
From the Fairy Queen, which was built in 1855, to the Vande Bharat Express, the editions contain a rich collection of pictures.There is a gap in information on the Railways which I try to fill through my publication, said Chopra.My aim in life is to ensure that every railway officer has my yearbook on their desk and I have been working towards this for the past four decades, she said.However, she admits its getting tough to continue the tradition without any support.I dont know where the strength comes from.
For 39 years, 73-year-old Suman Chopra has singlehandedly brought out a yearbook on the Railways, arguably the most comprehensive annual encyclopedia for rail enthusiasts to be published by a private entity.
Chopra publishes around 4,000 to 4,500 copies of the yearbook every year. Its glossy pages contain a summary of everything related to the Railways that happened in the past year along with an expert analysis.
The 39 editions of the book so far take readers time travelling into the Railways' history. From the Fairy Queen, which was built in 1855, to the Vande Bharat Express, the editions contain a rich collection of pictures.
''There is a gap in information on the Railways which I try to fill through my publication,'' said Chopra.
''My aim in life is to ensure that every railway officer has my yearbook on their desk and I have been working towards this for the past four decades,'' she said.
However, she admits it's getting tough to continue the tradition without any support.
''I don't know where the strength comes from. It is tough to survive today.
''I am not getting support from the Railways... People call it (yearbook) the encyclopedia of the Railways but I would like some recognition from the Railways for my efforts,'' she said.
But Chopra hasn't let anything stop her from pursuing her dream, not even personal setbacks. Even when she lost her son to COVID-19 in 2021, Chopra managed to publish the 300-page yearbook.
''I lost my son to COVID-19. He was my child and this (yearbook) is also my child. In memory of my son, I keep working and I know he would have cherished that his mother was doing something positive for the society,'' she said.
She hopes the 40th edition of her yearbook would finally get the recognition it deserves.
Chopra's husband Vinod said his wife managed to find time to work on the yearbook while taking care of their family and children's education.
''Ten years after our marriage, Suman started her publishing business and came out with this railway magazine. She has been publishing it continuously for the past 39 years. She has a passion for this job, even though it does not bring in any profit,'' he said.
''She has also been looking after the family affairs and our children's education. As part of my job, I was out of Delhi for 15 years and she has been managing it all on her own,'' he added.
Chopra makes it a point to send copies of her yearbook to top officials of the Railway Board, general managers of various zones and workshops, and divisional railway managers.
Her work has also inspired her 12-year-old grandson Vivaan, who runs a small shoe recycling business.
''My grandmother gives me advice on running my business. I have learnt from her that when something inspires you, then you must pursue it and never give up,'' he said. UZM ASG DIV DIV
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