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Call for a Bandh to Bandhs
February 20, 2014
If work is worship, a bandh is praying to the Devil. One can never understand how stopping work contributes to the general welfare. This method of protest is a remnant of last century’s trade union militancy. It is coercive by nature, tramples on individual freedom, and forces a person to act against his own interests.
No political party or leader can claim that a bandh is totally voluntary. If it was, such a party should have got a 100% of the vote share too. Will any of these patriotic leaders and self-sacrificing government employees striving for a ‘noble’ cause, volunteer to make good the losses suffered by the populace? Losses in terms of income lost by daily-wage workers, of sales lost for pushcart vendors and restaurants, of perishable goods destroyed, of precious hours and fuel wasted on highways, of classes lost for students, of business turnovers decreased and thus prices pushed up, of medical procedures not performed — the list of losses and hardship are endless.
And the benefits? Has any country ever raised its national income by stopping work? Will the bustling towns of Telangana or Andhra Pradesh grow into cities by resembling ghost towns? What is purported to be achieved by this widespread coma? Even if all citizens are in agreement with a certain cause, not every single person need concur with the methods used to support it. Many leaders fumed at the handling of the AP Bifurcation bill in parliament. Funnily, the very leaders who cried hoarse about it being a black day for democracy, call for a total statewide bandh in the next breath.
A forced bandh is mobocracy, not democracy. If one shop can remain open when all around are closed — without a stone or abuse being hurled — that is freedom. Can any so-called lover of democracy assure that?