Many times in life one comes across some situations which are generally impossible to generalize with a correct answer to dig the way out. One such situation which provoked my thought today is ‘Why Bandh/Strikes always needs to be destructive? I have never understood the motive behind the destructive Bandh/Strikes.
It’s not that I am Gandhi, who preached the way of non-violence or non-cooperation to express once anger or angst against the wrong or what one perceives as wrong? It’s even not that I don’t like the call for Bandh/Strikes and consider it as loss of productive hours, because I loved it as a Student, because being a child in protected environment, I was never concerned of the cause of strike and also love it as an employee, because such strike call, gives me an opportunity to set myself free from the mechanized lifestyle and think about myself and the world around me. But that’s me…
However, I not at all endorse the destructiveness associated with the Bandh/Strikes. It not only spreads negativity, but sometimes also causes pain to someone who is not at related to the cause of Bandh/ Strike or has any power to resolve the conflict. Bangalore recently observed three major disruptions due to one or the other reason and I feel none of the disruptions did any good to people at large. Had the leaders leading those strike calls had given some thought and innovation, I am sure common people would have appreciated their cause or fight. Let me pen down my thought on how I would have given such strike calls for some of the instances… you can term is as Gandhigiri or Munnagiri… but I am sure, if I can think of these ways, ‘intellect’ in our country can surely make way to more constructive or innovative ways of expressing their views to highest level of power corridors.
Let’s analyze the first call of destructive Bandh/strike. State Transport and City Transport bus drivers & conductors went on strike for two days, working days to be very specific, on reason for majorly better pay and other perks. Was it really necessary to stop plying buses on road and inconvenience general public? Consequences of these two-day strike were, all transport from rural place to other villages/cities can be complete standstill. Secondly, entire Bangalore public transport system came to standstill, including airport services (approx. distance of airport from nearest city point is 25 Kms). All private vehicles in Bangalore hit road for commuting purpose, leading to traffic deadlock. Lastly, poor people who didn’t have their own vehicle traveled on roof of private buses, risking their valuable (read valueless) lives. What differently could have been done by these State Transport Corporation employees? Well couple of things, firstly they would have not worn their uniform but instead would have worn black clothes showing their dis-satisfaction. Secondly, conductors should not have issued tickets but instead would have requested everyone to support them by buying black ribbons and wore on their forehead till they travel in buses. (Remember, every ticket not issued hits directly to pocket of corporation, direct impact to corporation, no direct inconvenience to passengers). Third, drivers would have driven the buses at speed of 20 Kms ensuring that travel is delayed but not halted. I am sure if these three things would have been done, they would have won their case as well as hearts of people they serve without destructive bandh/strikes.
Second call of bandh was even interesting, opposition parties unanimously gave call for strike/bandh against price rise of cooking gas and diesel. Consequences, every activity came to standstill and not even ambulances were available for the needy ones. Aren’t this and little extra in name of bandh/strike. If it has to be something innovative, they would have made their volunteers sit at each petrol pump and have urged people not to buy fuel from these pumps and people could hire shared taxis/autos or do car pooling. They could also have put two volunteer at each gas distribution agency to ensure that all delivery of cooking gas is done as per the booking order queue (such step would have really hurt all black marketing gas agencies). Also the most different would be to move to house of each MLA/MP of opposition and empty their car tanks of fuel and kitchens of gas cylinders.
Third bandh was the one called for showing opposition to Govt/Supreme Court/Cauvery authority against asking Karnataka to release water to neighboring state Tamilnadu. This is highly sensitive point for both states and in past has created lot of trouble in both states. However, if it had to be different, I would say, Karnataka would have released the water for Tamilnadu and have also asked its citizens to implement plan of conserving water (Bangalore gets almost 8 months of rain) and Kannadigas (Residents of Karnataka) would have adopted that suggested plan to ensure they conserve enough water for themselves and their neighbors. I am sure if that would have been gesture created by people of Karnataka, even Tamilnadu would be forced to reciprocate to this gesture and implement similar plan to conserve water.
I am sure, many would question my solutions, but will not question the problem I am trying to address. After 65 years of Independence, we are still living in an intimidating environment created by destructive bandh/strikes. If we really want to be grow, rise and call ourselves mature country, we need to really address these problems differently, innovative and most-important non-destructive.
– Image for representation purpose only – Original Image