Bandhs and India


Bandhs , they evoke terror in any working household . Bandh means no transport to go to office . Often the office itself is closed wasting a leave for the employee .  Necessities have to be stocked in the house as shops remain closed during bandh time

Education suffers as schools and colleges shut down fearing the any destruction of property by the bandh enforcers .

Business men suffer as they have no business for the day . Worse even if they do close  shop,  they could still suffer damage/loss of property  from the mobs which patrol the roads during the bandh day .  Retailers can’t get fresh stock or sell their old stock as the transport is shut down for the day .

Travelers suffer as there is no transport for them to go to their destination . They have to stay put which results in a loss of money and time . Often they find difficulty even with money in finding a place to stay or some food to eat.

So why do we have these bandhs which evoke hardship in all sections of society and cause loss to the nation as a whole . Main culprits behind bandh are political parties .

Political parties call bandh mainly to assert their power to the government and blackmail it . This is usually to pressure the government to withdraw a perceived unpopular policy decision or to implement some populist measure.  In this game of political oneupmanship people suffer .

The recent bharat bandh on 5th July , 2010 is a case in example . The opposition parties united to call a bandh against price rise in petroleum products . Petroleum prices rise all over the world and a result has to rise in India as well. But logic and facts do not come in the way for politicians.

The same opposition parties would have implemented the same measure if it was in power . The present ruling party would have called a bandh then if it was in opposition .  Hypocrisy thy name is politics .

Sometimes bandhs start for absurd reasons . The death of veteran actor Rajkumar on April 12 , 2006 caused  a shutdown in the whole state . Mobs went around vandalizing and stealing from businesses . More than 100 vehicles were burnt and 12 people killed in Banglore .

Bandhs occur in only 2 countries in the world . India and Nepal share this dishonorable distinction  together . Hopefully the countries see sense and ban this useless and loss making form of protest . In fact , the Supreme court tried to ban bandhs way back in 1998 .

In West Bengal 40-50 days each year is lost due to bandhs . One hopes either the people or courts find a way to counter this economy bleeding activity. When we are trying to become a major power in the world , bandhs and shutdowns are the least thing we need .

One Response to Bandhs and India

  1. Suna says:

    Bandhs are supposed to be one of the democratic ways to protest against wrong doings of the people in power. But honestly does it help? I don’t think so. Do the people calling for bandh really care about the poor people who needs to work each and every day (e.g. the rikshawalas)?
    The NDA also hiked price many many times in their ruling time. It’s true that they didn’t increase much. But you have to take care of the existing condition in the international market of crude oil.
    I will really be happy if they didn’t increase the price of kerosene, but I would never call for bandh which would affect more people and would affect the economy of the country adversely.

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