Monday, July 5, 2010
The Great Indian Bandh
5th July, 7:30 am
I don’t belong to any national party. Be it the congress, BJP, RLM, RJD, BJD or ‘ETC’. I started off late today with fifteen minutes behind my schedule. I ran all the way to the bus stop to catch the staff bus. The bus sauntered 50 yards and then some ruffians with an orange tag around their necks stopped us. They asked everybody to vacate the bus. Nobody shook unless one of them pelted a stone and broke one of the headlights of our bus. I was happy. Monday blues suck and we received an automated holiday with a constant fear of our bosses’ phone calls with the cars allotted to our projects catching us sleeping in the second half. I and my three other roommates were happy but our stomachs weren’t. And the rain came to the party. We worked for Larsen & Toubro Hazira. Hazira is known to be one of the largest manufacturing hubs in India. The coastal belt has companies of the likes ONGC, NTPC and Kribhco. But all the buses stood stunned making a queue today morning on the wishes of certain bikers.
Our intestines began cribbing and the first thought that came to our mind was tea. We approached the nearest dairy parlor and found the owner locking the sheds. People requested him but he was helpless. The police stood nearby and so did the ‘bandh’ bikers. The men in brown stood like traffic police controlling the buses rather than bullying the bandh barters. We walked all the way to out flats somehow managing a packet of milk and bread, which charged hundred bucks. Welcome to black marketing! Somehow we managed our breakfast oblivious of the fact that our intestines would be dried all the day. We were happy and our happiness died as we switched on the TV. I was surprised with the scene that big shots of a national leading party voluntarily took the pride in getting arrested while protesting. They felt like the Mahatma or Sardar while getting arrested. We called our maid to get the utensils cleansed as we were planning to call our regular chef in the day time. To our surprise we heard her crying over the phone as some ‘bandh’ monger banged her husband’s head. The chef called us and asked for leave too.
I called the nearest 30 min home delivery pizza vendor. None picked up. I went out in search of Maggi or some stuff and faced locks. I came to know this brutal truth that the medical stores didn’t cater such items. We were hungry and angry. The electricity went off as it rained harder. The afternoons were horrible. The pain in our stomach reflected in our eyes. 4 hours later. We somehow passed the afternoon. The fan that hung off the ceiling started rolling. The electricity was in. We again switched the idiot box. The conveyor of some leading party declared that the ‘bandh’ was unique and successful. I wished to bang the screen. The traffic over the bridge started rolling in too. It seemed the grocery shops were trading. We thronged the shops and ate to life. But the thought that jolted me was the complete idea of the bandh and the atrocities it followed.
Bandh is anti people. Some people protesting against fuel hike are actually protesting against people’s comfort. There are unique ways of protesting against things like fuel hike. Why bandh? It is not only anti people it is anti human. The visuals of ambulance trapped in the mid of the roads and patients dying at the crossroads showcase this. We the people make the government and when it hikes prices some of us do this and favor those who promise to roll back the prices if given power. We the people do stupid things like bandh to give away pains to some of the people amongst us. Think logic. The only positive side effects of the bandh were we saved electricity, natural resources a day. This is it. Some of the women craving their husband’s company and some of the children cribbing for their working parents’ company were happy sharing lunch and pleasantries.
Thinking of alternative sources of energy and dependence from things like petrol will be a solution. A country with more than 50% of its population below the age of 45 is shameful thinking like this!
Jaago India Jaago…!
Give me freedom…!
Amit Purohit The Lone Soldier
An irate young Indian.