A Day Off!
The BJP called bandh due to hike in diesel prices seems to be having an impact. Even in my part of the country, which normally is free from BJP intervention, or looks askance at it, is taking their call seriously. Diesel cars are not plying, so are taxis.
The culture of bandhs, which in essence is a symbolic gesture, seems to have permeated all aspects of our life. NGOs, activists often call bandhs, which implies protest against some decision, which in their view affects community life, or the common person. Bandhs are also called to protest against decisions, which have political overtones.
But Political parties calling a bandh, clearly indicates a political battle, which is dragged on to the streets. If there are political differences, between political parties, issues should be solved by means of dialogue, and in Parliament. But, by crippling life, the issues not only cannot be solved, this cripples life and the daily wager, the common man eking out a living in difficult circumstances suffer. This should be borne in mind.
The BJP's bandh call, having an impact in North East India may also indicate some support for it, in the wake of the recent trouble people of this region faced in certain parts of the country, which led to an unprecedented exodus. But the BJP are not exactly lovers of Minority groups, especially religious groups, and this should also be remembered before we play into their hands.
Schools calling off classes is a waste not only of study hours, but a serious infringement on the rights of the child to study, play and mingle with friends. But if taxis do not operate how will students come to school, and the school authorities have no option but to call off classes. Even here, in my part of the country when NGOs call for striking work, educational institutions are normally exempted. But what is worse, is that in some States we even find the ruling party calling for a bandh, especially when it is in power in the State, and not in the Centre. It is a clear fight, and battle lines are drawn.
The BJP is desperate to come back to power. In the garb of social and economic issues it has called, or calls such a strike against work. Its agenda, is to play on religious sentiments, and to play this on the minds of the people, by talking of majority rights, as opposed to minority ones. In a way it may be right, but calling bandhs is not the solution. It only weakens our system against the forces which encourage a day 'off' not to work. It encourages lassitude and inertia, in our work ethic and culture. As it is government employees as such are not exactly known for hard work. But, a day off in gratis, is a bonus!
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Ananya S Guha
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