Thursday, August 07, 2014

Does a bandh achieve anything?

Desolate streets, burning a bus somewhere, hooligans forcing the shutters to go down and a hapless police, watching a helpless common man being torn between responsibilities and his safety. This is the picture my mind paints when I hear the word 'bandh'. A Hindi word bandh, literally means 'close' which in political terms is represented by the closure of business and the normal life to spread awareness and corner the Government on a certain issue.

As a child, a bandh always made me happy. It meant a day of missing school and spending time dirtying your hands under the sun. But the recent bandh supporting the abuse of the 6 year old in Vibgyor, got me thinking who the bandh benefits? It certainly did not help the 6 year old. The protesters declared the bandh a success. Is success defined by the seductive power of getting the whole city to a standstill or, is it the paparazzi that follows? Nirbhaya's case called for a Bharat Bandh and though I support showing sympathy to such a criminal act to the girl, I wonder what has been achieved by it? The rape cases in the country or, city have still not gone down. Has a stricter law been passed to punish such offenders that I missed reading?

But the bandh did disrupt the day to day activity leading to lose if not gain. A medical emergency lost life as the city's transport came to a standstill; the daily wage worker slept hungry; wedding party spoilt; an unimaginable amount of the countries money lost. Are bandhs just called by vested interest only to cause inconvenience to the citizens or, is there more to it?

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