To Strike Or Not To Strike

nat1.jpgTwo days and two consecutive bandhs! What message is the West Bengal government is sending to the rest of the country and the world. We have a CM who promises to take the state ahead on the path of development and industrialization but with the state collapsing to such imposing bandhs, the journey to development seems rough.

There is a sheer sense of frustration among the citizens who are forced to stay indoors. Unavailability of public transport and the terror of being mobbed by the party workers are the only reasons of people not defying these bandhs. And there are those as well who take these bandhs as an opportunity to rest.

In the recent times Kolkata has seen a peaceful way of staging protest by lighting candles in the case of Rizwanur. Our politicians should take example of the impact that such peaceful protests can have and the strength of the message that gets delivered to the masses. But these politicians seem to be in no mood to take lessons. The politicians just try to show their prowess and sensitive issues like Singur and Nandigram are mere pretexts to get their political motives fulfilled. No doubt citizens have concern for the dreadful acts like that in Nandigram but bringing the State to a standstill is no solution.

The financial losses due to loss of a working day is immense and that too during the peak festive season. The situation worsens for people in emergency when they feel crippled for reasons beyond their control. Let the leaders compare the number of lives lost on the way to hospitals on the days of bandhs and rallies and the lives lost in the violent incidents that lead to blood shed across many parts in the State, and they would find a comparable difference in the “favour” of the former.

Our politicians should learn from their counterparts in other countries where political parties protest wearing black bands and badges while on work. In such protests even the normal public gets involved and shows their concern. A political leader from Kolkata when asked about the reason for two consecutive bandhs remarked that if two parties call the bandh on the same day then the public would fail to understand which party’s power actually brought the State to a standstill.

Our leaders should now take a look at the views people today and especially the youth holds about such bandhs. On 31.10.2007 a forcible bandh declared by Trinamool Congress in West Bengal I actually saw that I was not alone in defying the bandh and going to office. It is tough time for the daily wage earners and the service class. But there is no dearth of people who defy the bandh. In the event of such bandhs the metro railway becomes the lifeline of the city as it is the only public transport running. This morning also the metro railway stations were packed with commuters and it was reason enough to believe that people are actually coming out to defy such acts to hinder growth. The end of such bandhs is imminent.

Namit Agarwal