In India, Bandhs or Strikes are the general weapon used by the political party to express their protests against policies mostly levied by the Government. Bandhs lead to paralyzing of normal life, where people are forced to stay at home; shops, offices are forced to close and transports are put off the roads. Even though these strikes are supposed to be voluntary, but with the kind of terrorizing impact the political party impose, people are forced to take part in those strikes.
Why do we need a Bandh? How does a Bandh help to protests against the policies or killings? Or as a matter of fact any event for which the Bandh is called. Has anything changed after Bandh? There has been a series of Bandh called in protests against the price hike; did the price ever go down? There has been Bandhs to condemn the killings here and there, did terror activities get reduced? So why do we need Bandh? While Bandh has no major positive effect on the society, here are some ill-effects:
1. Most of the Bandhs are called immediately with no prior warnings and this leads to passengers getting stranded at the airports, railway stations and bus stations. With very poor food and medical facilities, it adds to people’s woes. They are aghast and curse the parties calling Bandh. Is this what the party calling the Bandhs want?
2. People needing medical attentions gets affected the most. Recent case of a heart-patient dying on the streets of Ambala (near Punjab) and Kanpur (near Uttar Pradesh) are hard facts that how Bandhs can play with the lives of the people. Who is responsible for the deaths? And these cases are just the ones which caught media attention, how many thousand of cases go unnoticed!
3. Offices are closed resulting in loss of work. With so many outsourced works coming to India, sudden Bandhs results into deadline miss! Well Politicians can say “Ek din mein kya ho jayega..“, but to all those blessed faces, people working abroad value DEADLINES and its as important as eating your food at given time. Further, there are many small shops, establishment who rely on daily earnings to ensure square meals at their home. Who will ensure the food for those people?
4. Schools/Colleges have to reschedule the examinations and lectures, which means these Bandhs plays with the educational life of the children and youth. We know what kind of hell we have to go through preparing the exams only to know that the exams have been postponed, leading to more tensions.
5. Economic Loss is huge. The one day loss of the Parliament sitting itself is in millions. Banks loose millions as a result of the Bandh. And whose money is that? Our, yours, mine TAX Amount and Funds.
6. Protesters motivated by these political parties destroy public properties; uproot railway lines, burn buses and destroying shops. I mean for God sake, what are you destroying? These properties are bought from our money and we are destroying them. How easy is to ignite fire inside some illiterate people and cause problems for ourselves? And who will be affected when rails and buses stop plying?
No, I m not advocating that we should not protest, no I m not saying we should not go for Strikes. But it was to be more selective and should bear some positive results. “Raasta Roko (Road Block)” on the busiest streets will not affect the Government, who make their way with 10 Police jeeps on either side, but to the common people who have some commitments to meet and cannot. Bharat Bandh will only take India back and not forward and for whom we should close India, for those lazy people who would enjoy a day off than to resolve our issues. Think again, even by being silent spectator we are supporting people who have no enough reasons to cause so much loss to common people’s life. The Supreme Court of India has banned Bandhs in 1998, but political parties still organize them. So all Bandhs are illegal, but see how weak is the judiciary system, the Bandh continues to plague our lives.
Instead of Bandhs, let’s protests by wearing black armbands, by sending continuous petitions to the President, by staging dharna before the Government offices and compel them to rethink about their policies. To protests against the innocent killing, arrange meetings where we can rebuild the confidence of the people to fight terror, organize blood camps, arrange prayer meetings and spread peace.
Just thought should put an example here: In a shoe factory in Japan, workers went into strike by making only one portion of the shoe and protested that the second portion will be only completed when their demands were met. As soon as their demands were met, the second portion was started. This way, production was not hampered and yet the protest purpose was also met. Perhaps we need to think on those lines.
Further the judiciary system should ensure that people who do not want to be part of the so called political Bandh should have all liberty to continue their work or move on the streets without any fear. Perhaps that’s the best way to judge how many want to protest against the policies, killings or other events for which Bandh is called.
So friends, next time there is a Bandh called, think again. There can be more productive way of expressing our disgust!