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Bandh Blues . . .
|by Ananya S Guha|
What do I do sitting in my room, during a bandh? It is an excuse not to work, but what do I do? A friend rings up and inquires whether I am at office, or home. I say office sweet office. The entire city is supporting the bandh he says, almost expostulates. I say, yes I know, yes I know. When will you go home? he demands. I hesitate, a couple of hours later I say vaguely. OK is the peremptory reply.
My brother from Kolkata, sorry Calcutta, calls up. Totally successful, the bandh he says. I say, naturally any excuse for the people there not to work. Work ethic there is certainly not a strong point.
My colleague from New Delhi calls up, he says the things are normal in New Delhi and the office is functioning full swing. That's surprising I mutter, I believe it is virtually successful all over the country.
Anyway I take time to relax and think. The fact of the matter is no one wants to work. No one cares a damn for the daily labourer or the daily wager and uses a pretext not to work. And bandhs could not be better pretexts especially this one which is called because of the hike in Diesel Prices.
We Indians have two or three standards. When the government enhances salaries to disproportionate levels we jump with joy and are euphoric. Understandably. But when we go the same office to work we do not always seem to put our heart and soul into it.
Tell me, if we take Central Government Salaries and then participate in a bandh called by opposition parties isn't it a clear and hypocritical case of blatant and brazen double standards?
This is not meant to be a rhetorical question. This is meant to be a serious indictment of our spineless value systems that we have worked out according to our sheer convenience. It is a shame that when people do not get to eat two square meals a day and if my statistics is correct there is at least 70% of them, then what right do we have to hold handsome salaries? which are normally enhanced prior to elections or done as a populist measure. Forget it.
All those dreams of being a developed nation and a super power cannot come just like this, out of thin air and the magician's wand. A few shopping malls and people flouting their mobiles will not take us to the roads of recovery or for that matter a super nation. This hype of a super power and the developed nation is the myth making of politicians, the western countries who want to woo the country for their business and aggrandizing reasons - such as exploring the country as a market for selling consumerist products and now also, education.
I resolve to continue my work on this day as much as possible and spleen some of the hypocrisies that have been ingrained in us as a nation.
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