“Friday’s Bandh cannot be termed as ‘Successful Bandh’ as it was a ‘Forced Bandh’. This Bandh has created a fear psychosis among the residents of the peaceful district. It has resulted in large scale economic loss. Plenty of Vegetables and fish got wasted. Families stayed home fearing of attacks if they went out.Diwali was a festival of ‘Darkness’ instead of festival of ‘lights’ due to this bandh. As per Supreme Court order the organizers have to pay for the loss incurred during the bandh. Our CM has remained numb instead of taking quick action-he should implement the SC order in this regard, and recover all the loss from the groups who called for this bandh and take stern action against the guilty. Sangh Parivar members who are inciting communal clashes need to be stopped”- B Janardhan Poojary, Former Union Minister
I fully support the above statements by Senior Congress leader B Janardhan Poojary. 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. Was anything accomplished by this bandh, other than economic loss. This ‘ Bandh’ was sheer useless. The first person to suffer due to this ‘ Bandh’ was the daily wage worker, 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 railway stations/ bus-stands and other places, and cursing the people behind this bandh. This was democracy as its worst, where people were stranded like anything without normalcy in the district. While the citizens were taken for a ride, I don’t know what our government/other law enforcement authorities are doing allowing parties to issue bandh calls which is disrupting everything.
Regular bandhs, protests, unrest among people, moral policing etc are making visitors to this educational hub to stop coming to this would-be “Smart City”. With quite a few violence taken place recently, investors are reluctant to start businesses here-and also due to constant moral policing even students who are eager to study in this education hub are seeking college admissions elsewhere. Due to regular bandhs, violence etc etc visitors to this city are facing lot of inconveniences/hassles, and many get frustrated about this and decide not to come back here again. Among the many visitors who were put into hardship due to bandh, here is one couple from Goa, who are regular visitors to DK/Mangaluru., who have made a strong decision not to visit here again, and also want to spread the word among their relatives and friends not to set their foot on the DK soil.
Speaking to mangalorean.com during a conversation at a Madhuvan restaurant (Hotel Moti Mahal), Deepak Salgaonkar and his wife Pramila narrating their horrific story said, ” We love Mangaluru and DK, and that’s the reason we visit here often. But due to all these bandhs, protests, moral policing, violence etc going on here, have many a times made us to think twice whether to plan our trip to this beautiful coastal destination, filled with religious temples and monuments. But after our latest experience faced during the Friday bandh, we have strongly decided not come back here again, and we mean it. We had developed love for this coastal district ever since our daughter was admitted to medical college in Manipal few years ago, where we used to come down quite often to visit her- but unfortunately due to the rape incident in Manipal couple of years ago and also due to moral policing incidents now and then, we had to shift our daughter to Davangere”.
“In spite of that we still continued to make frequent visits to DK since we wanted to explore the naturalistic beauty of this this area, and we both love the authentic Mangalorean cuisine, among which Kori Rotti, Chicken Sukka, Neer Dosa, fish pulli munchi are our favorite. Couple of weeks ago, we had come to Mangaluru with our Goan friends, Albert Mendes and family- and we reached Mangaluru Junction Railway station we found out that the City was observing bandh in protest against Yettinahole project. We were helpless that day without a auto-rickshaw to reach our hotel and later no transport for sight seeing. We wasted whole one day by loitering in the hotel.”
“Last Friday was once again a horrible day for us- when we reached the railway station we were told DK/Mangaluru was bandh to protest against killing of a young man- once again there was no transportation- we had plans to visit Dharmasthala and Chikmagaluru-the taxi driver wanted to charge us Rs 15,000 for our trip. Since that was ridiculous we cancelled our trip to Dharmasthala and Chikmagalur, and decided to stay in a hotel in Mangaluru-we booked our room at Hotel Moti Mahal-the whole Friday was a waste doing nothing-no where to go. We decided to go back to Goa on Sunday morning -so on Saturday after doing some shopping in the city, we went back to the hotel and later that evening we wanted to go to The Village restaurant in Kavoor for our dinner- but that evening we found out that auto-rickshaws were not plying between 6pm and 6am. Once again our dining out plans were messed up – so we stayed back at the hotel and dined at the restaurant inside the hotel”
” One day Mangaluru bandh-no transportation, and the next day, to go out in the evening no auto-rickshaws. We were fully frustrated and upset, and wanted to get out of this town. It’s sad that such a tourist destination is facing all these problems from some saffron organizations. What did anyone get from observing bandh? Why all the violence in this district? Why can’t the police control moral policing? Look how people are happy in Goa-the government banned Sangh Parivar (Sri Rama Sene) from entering Goa? Why can’t Karnataka government put a restriction on all these groups that incite trouble and communal clashes? Travelers can’t waste their money coming to this district and then get into all these kind of inconveniences/hassles. That’s it -we have finally decided not to make any more trips to DK/Mangaluru” said the couple in a very bad mood.
Yes, I don’t blame this couple for their decision-enough is enough of all these consequences and nonsense that they had to bear when they came to this town. One day the whole town is dead, the next day there are no auto-rickshaws after 6pm- this will surely put the visitors in hardship to commute. Even though the organizers feel that the bandh was successful, but actually it was a forced bandh. Just because all the shops and other establishments closed 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 leaders along with their party members cheered on their success, and also got wide publicity in the media, that’s it ! -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 with 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 and saffron groups 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 a ‘ bandh’ now and then ? Nothing ! Absolutely nothing ! Sheer wastage of national productivity and inconvenience to common people. It only serve the interest of political parties and their workers. Bandh has lost its vitality and relevance long back after Independence.
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 or other authorities, but we restore to the easiest and most lunatic way of doing so. If you see other developed countries no where 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 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 for why the government is taking such decisions and help government with alternate solutions in case the government is unable to look for a 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 more poorer.
by Alfie D’Souza, Team Mangalorean