Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bandh and Hartals strike again

Do you like strike? If you ask me this question in my school days, I will definitely say yes. After all we will get another holiday - an unexpected vacation. Usually we will not think who is declaring the Bandh, except to analyze the effect of it. If the organizing party is strong then definitely we will get a holiday! Bandh - originally a Hindi word meaning ‘closed’ is a form of protest used by political activists in South Asia like India and Nepal. During a Bandh, a major political party or a large chunk of a community declares a general strike, usually lasting one day. This is the theoretical definition, don’t think that majority of the people will take part in it by will; infact common people don’t have any another way, so they too see this thing.

But the impact of this in business and other regular activities of common people are worse. After finding the problems related to Bandh, it was banned in many states of India. But like other banned products, its came back with another name - Hartal. Both are not same but where Bandh is banned it soul will transmigrated to Hartals body.

In almost all cases people don’t like Bandh/Hartal. But the organized union of small number of people will defeat the unorganized common people. Of course there are some entities which may benefit from Bandh. First one will be "Beverages Corporation" - they will find their sales jumped to new levels in the previous days of a Bandh. And the next group may be the news and entertainment channels. After all it offers then unbelievable opportunities. New and hot news will be generated!!! in these days, somewhere some people will create havoc on roads, stones will find their destinations in the nicely decorated buildings. People like to throw stones to glass plates.

One of my friends who earlier worked in Trivandrum told me that whenever there is a strike in the college near to their location, a hotel just opposite to them will lost their front glass.

But ask to any people who are travelling to far places or coming from distant places, ask to anyone who is going to hospitals, ask to the business community they will explain the effect of each and every Bandh - all of them will have some sad stories to tell. If business centers are closed even for a single day due to Bandh/Hartal there will be mind blowing losses to the firms over and above they will run out of time to complete the project.

There are people who were unable to reach airport in time and lost their new jobs in the far away places like Gulf of Persia due to Bandh. People who are struggling to reach hospital on time, people who are waiting in the railway stations to reach home.

In the last month, I was forced to wait in a bus stand for more than one and half hour in the night, a place which is used by hundreds of buses was looking like a graveyard. This is the situation even 3 and half hours after the Bandh was over!!! This so called Bandh was for asking the government to restrict the astronomical price hikes of vegetables and other things. Everyone knows that prices are not going to reduce because of one day strike. It will simply add another burden in the shoulders of common people as well as losses to the industry. Do you ever hear that the prices are reduced by 12 hour Hartal? If yes please tell me.

The parties which declare Hartal should execute mandatory steps before going for a strike. They should discuss the issue in parliament and with concerned ministries. Instead of creating chaos in discussions and later demonstrating a walkout, they have to provide viable solutions to issues. It’s easy to create chaos and provide impracticable solutions for an issue and then walk out from parliament.

People are not electing representatives just for the sake to represent them or making chaos in assembly. They are elected for creating a livable environment for common people, not to destroy the calm environment people already have. So before declaring Hartal, think twice.

Sajeev

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