Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stop stopping India!

One more bandh has left us. One more state is crippled for an entire day. One more daily wage worker has probably gone without food today. One more emergency has turned into a tragedy without public transport or first aid. Yes. One more ‘successful’ bandh has been executed in modern India.

The concept of a bandh was the product of civil disobedience during the British Raj. A bandh was the non-violent way of shutting down everything for a certain period of time. The victory was supposedly sending a strong word of protest without doing anything. The gist was to call for a bandh anytime something was supposed to be done. The logic was the administration would cave in since it could not afford such loss from a single day. So what started off as a non-violent movement slowly started becoming synonymous with violence itself. Here lies the irony of this concept. I agree this might have worked in a day and age where not going to work was a feasible option. But India is growing out of control with each passing day. Shutting down one major city in the country for one day means nothing less than suicide.

Growing up the word bandh only meant ‘no school’ to me. I never cared to find out anything else about it. Why was it called? Who called it? What was the damage? With time I think Indians got used to the disturbing concept that during such a day, anyone can do anything and go scot-free. You see an open store then go ahead, throw a stone in it or light it on fire and flee. You see a newspaper office sitting quiet with no one around, picket it and take to your heels.

A bandh is clearly more than just protest. It has translated into crime. The kind of crime one would not dare do on a regular working day. So my question is – What exactly is being accomplished apart from this obscure ‘message’ by calling for a bandh? Being democratic what if I choose not to follow it?

People do not stay home to support the cause anymore. They stay home to be safe. The Supreme Court of India has banned such bandhs and has even fined a couple of political parties in the past. But this is not enough. We need to stop ‘bandhs’ from happening by getting out there anyway. The true and democratic way of opposing something should be by holding a rally somewhere near places like the Vidhana Souda where no commoners are allowed.

As for us common citizens - please let us carry on our lives and country forward. Please stop stopping India!


3 reflections:

mavinayanasa said...

it is sickening. whether we would achieve from these bandhs. mere waste of government machinery and trouble to common public.

good article shashi. please keep writing (sorry am visiting your blog very late).

Mahesh said...

Hello shakri, true.Am agree with you. A very big waste.

Who achieve what by this typr of Bandh . Very bad..keep it up.

Jayanth Madhav Barki said...

Very true. But how do we ensure that no bandhs take place at all....? I mean, some sort of a civil disobedience of a bandh? Funny isn't it?