Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bandh- (Un)Necessary Evil? - www.legallyindia.com

Bandh- (Un)Necessary Evil?

The strike of the strike, as a newspaper called it.

What are the effects of Bandh? Is it the right way to protest?

Bandh is basically a strike. Everything is supposed to be closed on a day when a Bandh is ‘called’ for. If you ask a layman about whether there should or should not be bandhs, you will surprisingly get mixed answers. It is true because for a bandh to be successful a lot of people have to co-operate. Kolkata is very infamous for its bandhs. Nationwide bandhs are a rarity but are not entirely unheard of. I was in Gujarat when the Bandh took place. I have stayed here all my life and I have never seen such a huge response to a bandh ever before. There have been minor events but nothing of such magnitude.

I am still not sure most people know why the Bandh actually took place. For those who don't know, it took place as a protest against the rising prices. Inflation.

I would like to quote some figures given in Times of India.

[Economics Loss due to bandh (In cr.):

13,000 according to FICCI
10,000 according to Assocham
3,000 according to CII
Maharashtra (estimated economic loss Rs 1,000cr),Karnataka (Rs 725cr),West Bengal (Rs 250cr),Kerala,Orissa,Bihar and Madhya Pradesh (Rs 150cr each) among worst-hit states Though the stock market remained open,trading volume at BSE was down 52% to Rs 2,857cr against daily average of Rs 6,000cr Rail operations,especially in east,severely affected with 78 trains 60 mail and 18 passenger cancelled and 340 disrupted At least 96 flights were cancelled across India,with at least 47 departures being cancelled in Mumbai alone Over 62 lakh commercial vehicles remained off road,according to trucker unions.]

Bandh has a very negative connotation. Well, to an extent, it is bad. Imagine how many daily wage earners lost a square mean due to the Bandh, and to think that this was a Bandh for them. (Ha!). Even then, as I am a law student, I have been asked to look at both the sides of everything. So I will deal with it accordingly.

Against:

Bandh is a stupid. It is a way for political parties to show power. They bully innocent citizens into participating in the bandh. It causes great economic harm to the country (as stated above). It is a very barbaric way of solving matters or getting our point across. It does nothing good. It’s a extended weekend for the college student, a lucky leave for office goers and tension filled atmosphere for the people whose offices were not closed. Loss to daily wage earners, most important. I guess we all know a lot of points against. I need not mention all.

For:

Okay. I am sure not many people agree to my views. I advise them to read the entire thing before commenting or framing views about the post. I guess this is the main part of the post.

I agree Bandh is bad. The main problem that I have is, if they don’t listen through any of the legal ways, what do we do?

Common citizens cannot go to the parliament every time. When our elected representatives try to put our point across they are accused of being traditional in their views and being against development of the nation. They are then in a Catch 22 situation. The price rise is not a figment of imagination of the opposition parties. It is out there. Reducing the value of our money consistently. he Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for May 2010,the latest month for which data is available,shows a 10.2% increase over May 2009. Food inflation, which actually affects the aam aadmi (common man) even higher. The rate of pulses grew by a whopping 32.4%,eggs,meat and fish by 35%,milk by 21.1%,sugar by 26%,flour by 16%,cereals by 6%,and fruits and vegetables by 7.6%. It’s not like everyone else in the world is faced by it. China had only 1% rate of inflation with regard to food prices. India is one of the very few countries where the rate of inflation is above 9%. The above mentioned percentages are with regard to WPI (Wholesale Price Index), the real danger can be found out from CPI (Consumer Price Indices).

So my main contention is that, there is a problem. It has been a problem since a long time. The government has been told about it since a long time. What has the government done? Almost nothing, or even if they have, it hasn’t worked.

Bandh is barbaric but well, when we cannot achieve anything through proper means, are we not allowed to be pissed? Is there no specific waiting period?

I have to make it clear that I am definitely not in favour of holding Bandhs. I want the country to work efficiently through the prescribed mechanism. Bandhs waste a lot of resources. Let’s not do that.

Bandh karo ye bandh ! (Stop the strikes).

Lighter Note:

My dad was scandalized when I told him that now onwards I should get a raise in the pocket money according to the rate of inflation. In his counter offer, he proposed a 10% increase every 6 months. He thought that it would be more economical to him. I guess he has a lot of ‘faith’ in the government. :D

Okay one more.

If the opposite of pro is con then the opposite of progress is ..... ‘Congress’ :D

Disclaimer: I am not a supporter of any party. I like individuals in various parties. I know most of the political parties have both merits and demerits. I wrote this article because I kept on getting ideas about why people resorted to Bandh and so wanted to put it together. All the figures have been taken from the Times of India.


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