Bandh a Success – But what did we Accomplish? NOTHING
Mangaluru: Coming to the point : do Bandhs like the one yesterday serve any purpose? Apart from being PR exercises which give the call for these events, there seems to be precious little that the country/state gained in terms of the welfare of its people. On the contrary, the common man was inconvenienced even further with the shutting down of transportation, businesses and educational establishments, etc etc. Perhaps it wouldn’t be going too far if one were to suggest that ‘Bandh’ as an instrument of expression of disenchantment with the ruling dispensation has far outlived its usefulness. One easily loses track of the number of such ‘Bandhs’ organized by various political parties in recent times. Has even a single one proved to be successful in its objective? What then, is the point in continuing to persist with them and paralyze the normal life of the public, further?
So here were again with yet another one-day “All-India Bandh” called for by Trade Unions (JCTU), which included CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, AICCTU and employees’ Association of bank, insurance, railways, telecom, postal and other government sectors, to oppose what they called the Union government’s anti-workers policies/labor policies . Seemed like some of our political leaders and Union bosses are hooked on stupidity by arranging such “Bandhs” which not only cripples the normal life, but also resulted in huge losses to the nation. This is yet another nation-wide bandh observed against Narendra Modi – led government at the Centre. The agenda here is that a common man bearing the brunt again. But did this ‘Bandh’ resolve anything for that matter? Absolutely NOTHING ! The perspective behind the ‘Bandh’ is totally lost, it looks like it is just used to showcase the political strength of parties/Trade Unions in India.
Now, who benefited from this bandh? Bale Watis Parka! Mainly bars, who made a brisk business, also pubs which were packed with students and youngsters saying “cheers” to the bandh; “With buses and autos off the road, taxis and few auto-rickshaws earned some extra bucks charging commuters way more to reach their destinations; school kids enjoyed having some fun in the parks or playgrounds; many employees who couldn’t get to work also spent some leisure time with their families and friends; The Union is demanding Rs 18,000 as minimum wages per month. Why pay such an amount where many are not even skilled workers? Bank employees are demanding more salary. But why? How hard is their work, and they have more holidays than any other worker.
Who will not benefit from this bandh ? The government lost crores in revenues; businesses lost day’s profits; daily-wage workers/labourers and their families suffered due to loss of one-day wages; farmers also suffered huge losses; etc etc; We always tend to evaluate the success by the immediate material gain, and that is not our fault but our minds are shaped in that direction. After this ‘Bandh’, many Indians will be still be disappointed because next day they still have to pay for their commodities/fuel with no price difference. This obviously makes them say that this ‘ Bandh’ was sheer useless.
The first person to suffer due to this ‘Bandh’ was the daily wage labourer, he/she lost one-day wages, and some workers were kept hungry for a day. Even travellers who wanted to reach their respective destinations were stranded in bus-stands and other places, and cursing the people behind this bandh. This is democracy at its worst, where people are stranded like anything without normalcy in the country. While the citizens were taken for a ride, I don’t know what our government is doing by allowing parties to issue bandh calls which are disrupting everything.
Just because the shops and other establishments decide to close during the ‘Bandh’, doesn’t mean that they supported the bandh- they just didn’t wanted to face any untoward incidents. All this bandh did was – a few party/Union leaders along with their party members staged a protest/dharna, raise some slogans against the government, and got wide publicity in the media, that’s it! – and later the leaders went home/hotel and celebrated their “success ??” by opening few bottles of scotch! While on the other hand the lower income community were deprived of their vital livelihood for the day.
We may not have achieved anything tangible as such by these type of Bandhs or protest now and then, but can we deny the fact that the Bandhs are also a form of showing public resentment against the establishment of the day, be it of any party. Democracy has deep roots in India, that’s for sure. Of course, these Bandhs create public discomfiture and ultimately the loss incurred have to be borne by the public and the worst part is that the forceful Bandhs do cause public damage to property and loss to life which is indeed very reprehensible. But is there a solution, an alternative? The opposition who are also neck deep in corruption along with the ruling party does not even take part in meaningful debates which concerns the common man, it always wants to play to the gallery and selectively raise the issue where it is needed, that is on the floor of the Parliament or state legislatures.
Come to think of it do you find a single leader in India right now on whose call people selflessly or voluntarily chose to strike on a big scale, forget about the country or state, even a town cannot be closed voluntarily on a call in India right now from an individual or a group who is so morally right and has political support. So naturally the leaders have to resort to forceful Bandhs, which are no doubt not the solution, but is there a way out to show public anger to govt policies? Not surprisingly bandhs have become the most handy tool in the hands of politicians, Maoists, narrow-minded social groups who want to make a flash on the media by adopting the shock factor in the news. They do anything which disrupts normal life. We are morally dead, utterly corrupt and short-sighted, don’t rise above the personal interest, how can we see the nation?
Of course, we are writing and venting our anger in various forays, but I am reasonably sure that, given a chance, I may too become corrupt when given a chance to enter the system, who knows? What then the common man do? Not many bandhs have achieved positive results in the past-they only further inflation because of loss of productivity in crores and crores.. If bandh was a solution to everything, then there wouldn’t be problems in life. So what’s the outcome of an ‘ India Bandh’? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Sheer wastage of national productivity and inconvenience to common people. It only served the interest of political parties and their workers. Bandh has lost its vitality and relevance long back after Independence.
One thing we don’t understand is that we are not self-sufficient in everything, and we are dependent on other countries for a lot of things, including crude oil. The entire world is turning to market-based pricing and that will definitely have a spill-over effect on commodity prices in India. Until India opens to market pricing methodology, it cannot survive. The poor will get poorer and the rich will drift away to more profitable revenues. We the educated people should think alternate ways to speak out rather than bandhs, that worries people. We need to stop listening to political leaders. Also, political leaders should not force bandhs on citizens – let the people decide whether to support or not support the bandh depending on the issues.
There are many other ways to protest against the government decisions/wrong-doings, but we restore to the easiest and most lunatic way of doing so. If you see other developed countries nowhere such kind of bandh is carried out. By committing to the most idiotic way of protest, “Bandh” we are not only jeopardizing the normal life but also creating chaos. We should restrain from getting influenced by such moves and use our common sense and exercise the best way out to make the government realize its mistake. Period!
What we need to see is have government/systems become people friendly like in other nations. I think ‘Bandhs’ are not the solution to solve issues, instead transparency and reasoning/justification that we should be asking for. We should ask why the government is taking such decisions and help the government with alternative solutions in case the government is unable to look for an appropriate solution. One day ‘Bandh’ will not solve any issues or problems. The bottom line is ‘ Bandhs’ will flame inflation for sure and will increase income disparity-making poor poorer. All I have to say is that “Bandh” is useless, waste of time and energy, huge losses and disruptions to normal life. I bet many of you will agree with me. What do you have to say?