A ‘Bandh’ on Day-to-Day Life

A general strike is a common method of protest all over the world. India is no exception, the state of West Bengal topping the list. It witnesses at least one ‘bandh’ every month, called either by the ruling party or by the opposition.

On 30th of October CPI (M) -backed workers’ union called for government employees’ strike. On the same day SUCI called for a ‘bandh’. The next day the opposition Trinamul Congress took up the baton.

For long 48 hours West Bengal remained paralysed because a rich businessman suffers the same way as a daily wage earner. A ‘bandh’ is disastrous as it cripples a state’s economy. A ‘bandh’ brings economy, education, infact life to a sudden halt.

In the economic field, the foreign investers would hesitate to invest with the fear that they might not profit from their investments. On a ‘bandh’ day both large scale and small scale factories and mills remain closed as the attendance of labourers is almost nil.

Education is hampered as schools reopened on the 29th October after the pujas. The University exams were cancelled. The competitive exams were also cancelled and postponed.

A ‘bandh’ also affect health as attendance of doctors in hospitals is very low. Patients have to wait in the hospital campuses for admission. The number of ambulances is also less at the time of emergency.

A ‘bandh’s worst effect falls on conveyance. Very few buses, taxis are ransacked or even set ablaze. Passengers get stranded in railway stations and airports. On 31st October very few trains departed from Howrah and Sealdah stations, though all scheduled flights took off, according to reports.

On 31st there was a clash between two parties; the mob turned violent and ransacked a medical shop. Amidst the chaos a 6 year old girl (daughter of a local roadside stall owner) was injured in a stampede and had to be taken to hospital.

The party leaders comment that a ‘bandh’ becomes successful at the end of the day because of mass support but the truth that lies deep beneath the outer façade of deserted streets and closed shops is the fear in the hearts and minds of people.

As long as the political parties do not understand the negative aspects of a ‘bandh’ the development of a state is very difficult to work on.

Aryani Banerjee