Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bandh: is it a solution?

West Bengal is in news for some days now. Everyday the major news on every news channel involves happenings in the state. First it was Singur for which Mamta Banerjee, who I according to me seems like always on the edge of losing sanity, is still on hunger strike. There was a huge fracas at the Bengal assembly. Furniture was broken all over and the whole assembly literally ransacked. Infact, the assembly was made open to the public for next two days to show how shamefully our appointed leaders behave. But I don’t think these half minds have even an iota of guilt on their conscience. But this incident was nothing to what took place today.
The whole of West Bengal and Kerela was closed in lieu of a bandh. The fact that the strike was initiated by the ruling party, resulted in a colossal effect. As a hindi saying goes, not even a leaf fluttered in the two states. Everything from shops, govt and private offices to trains and even airlines were left useless. OK. The strike made national headlines. It will be all over newspapers tomorrow.
But then what? Most of the unemployed and below poverty line people for whom the strike was meant for, may be didn’t even know what it was all about. They will be the first ones to forget the strike and get on with the struggles of their lives. But still it is good that leaders are concerned about the condition of the people which need attention. Strikes have always been an essential part of a protest and making a point. It was the major tool for getting independence. But the difference was that it had the whole hearted support of the whole nation. But now it is forced upon most of the people. To an average person like me, such bandhs give an impression of just gaining political mileage. How many times have we heard of such a strike being effective? Will some thing be done for the upliftment of poor people or unemployment? It is the same state govt which is not very enthusiastic about allowing IT companies and Outsourcing coming to them.
Then is not hypocrisy, what has happened today. The CPI leader was of the view that 1 such strike will not scare away the investors from the state. He may be correct. May be it will not deter the companies investing in the state but what about the people of the state – who were held ransom for a full day. No trains, no flights – the lives paralyzed. We don’t know how many families of the daily wagers had to sleep empty stomach. How many patients didn’t get timely medical attention? Business of crores of rupees was lost. And I am sure most of the people didn’t venture out – not in support of the strike but out of fear that they may be harmed. The way of protest loses its meaning when it has to be this way.
But how then should then the point be made to the government who is not listening?
Perhaps Raju Hirani can give the politicians some ideas of how to follow Gandhigiri in this case. May be, in today’s date, the CPI leaders giving roses to the Congress leaders outside the parliament will get an equal attention by the hungry media. This will save the country a lot of time and money and the people of the country will be spared a lot of inconvenience.

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