Thursday, July 3

Is this the spirit of democracy? MP BANDH

Politicians should delete Bandh from their dictionary if they are not concerned about the masses.

The right to strike without disrupting public order is a given in all democracies and is a tool to negotiate and it evolved as an expression of dissent during the 19th century. But what we see today is pillage, arsenal, and damage of public property, commotion in public life, destruction and religious intolerance…..

Bandh and hartal the Indian versions of mass strikes were powerful expressions of popular discontent during the independence movement. Hartal was M K Gandhi's unique idea of non-violent protest against colonial rule. It involved the closing of schools and shops, offices, courts of law and other work.

Today what we are seeing is no powerful moral argument but utter vandalism in the name of bandhs. Bandh now days are seldom voluntary. Political parties who call for a Bandh enforce it ruthlessly. What we see is no commitment for civilized conduct, tolerance, equalities of gender, religion and creed, free expression, and the rule of a humane law and order policy.

The violence was set off by a plan to transfer forest land to the Hindu shrine to erect shelters for thousands of pilgrims. The land allotment to Amarnath Shrine’s board was canceled and as a consequence we have massive demonstrations all across the country. In the name of God we saw political thugs attacking people for not accepting the bandhs that was called.

This was observed today in Bhopal and other cities of MP. Terror tactics were being unleashed in the name of Bharat Bandh. Forced shutdown of social and economic activity backed by the implicit threat of violence was witnessed and thus claiming Bandh to be 'successful'. This has happened as they succeed in enforcing their call because people fear for their safety.

Voluntarism was given a quiet burial. Even essential services were not spared during the Bandh . Absurdly, we saw political parties calling for bandh while holding office. Who is their protest aimed at? What was the basic reason for the Bandh was far away from the masses. Why were offices forced to close down? Is this the way we can inform people about the injustice met by the shrine board? Can awareness be generated by force? Only terror and hatred..

Look at such disruptive tactics. Senseless furore often fuelled by religious hatred is one thing that we perhaps will have to learn to live with. At least till the time when the realization about the enormity of the damage caused by incidents that leads to these protests seeps in. And I don’t see that happen in the near future.

What we see today is a new experience of democracy. It has opened up numerous points of dissent, new conflicts of values and identities and a permanent animosity of meaning and interest that often leaves Indians with a sense that society is flying off in many different directions at once…

The way we get our priorities mixed up is seriously obscene and disturbing. A bunch of people who were pelting stones, forcing close down aged 15-18 years —clueless retards, more descriptively—get offended and agitated and provoked ? EXCUSE ME! I’m sorry to say but they are not even aware why they were doing this… People are thoroughly justified in protesting. But its regrettable when the protests are not confined to demonstrations, slogans and rallies but when law is taken in hand, burning of public properties; persons unconnected with the matter are harassed. This reaction is extremely and grossly disproportionate

Not that we have a fantastic public transport system. Images of buses, autos, trucks being burnt at the slightest provocation suggest there is little that those running the system can do little to help save the situation. Are we responsible for the hapless public distribution system? What kind of anger is this? And who is the looser in the long run? And who are benefiting from this? Why unrests and protests are done by damaging public property and harassing the innocents? Will this solve the problem?

I don’t want to jump the gun but a suggestion comes to mind. Anyone indulging in causing damage to public property should not be entitled for any government favours for the rest of his or her life. After all the buses, shops, etc are in no way responsible for hurting sentiments. Exemplary punishment will have to be doled out to those indulging in such senseless acts. The punishment will have to be such that it acts as a deterrent to others.
Will we get a solution by the shoddy acts? Right to fight against any kind of oppression or wrongdoing is right but how does such an uncouth act in the name of party and an agenda solve the purpose. I’m sure we all get offended by injustice met and it should be strongly condemned, but these violent acts are unpardonable. More important the leaders fail to restrain their followers. It is shameful that some leaders in countries incited people to violence. Such events provide ammunition for the propaganda and give credence to that heresy. And that is indeed a tragedy.

The greatness of democracy lies in the fact that it forces governments to look at the real reason behind protests/Bandhs and not promote it. Most Bandhs are just a case of desperate politicians trying to whip up a storm in a teacup.

The specter of growing protests movement of the awakened is threatening the parliamentary Govt and while the Govt while claiming itself to be democratic, adopting repressive measures which encroach on the democratic rights of the people to preserve law and order.

The “basis on which the parliamentary form of Govt rest” does it rally represent the will of the people? Are the institutional devices evolved to allow full participation to the people in the political process and also provide appropriate channels to redress the grievances, wrongs and harms done to the people or section of the people.? Are these compatible with the Govt? And further, out of the varieties of the protest how many forms of direct action should the democratic? GOVT permit in consonance with its democratic pretensions? Does the parties political assumptions justify violence on the part of the citizen, if the govt though elected by them encroached upon the fundamental right or exercise its authority that prevent the enjoyment of the fundamental right to a large section of the people.

Is this right ? Spirit of democracy?


  1. Politics and religion is a heady cocktail and politicians are smart enough to evoke public sentiments at every possible opportunity. Its a shameless species , so no point in looking at their spinal chord.

    We can only voice our opinions and try and educate masses about the true motives. But its a tough task .

  2. “Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.” - Mohandas Gandhi

    Gandhi was a religious man but above was the idea of religion for him. Now our esteemed politicians have altogether a deferent ideology. This bundh was a pure election strategy of BJP. Where were they when people climbed on the “shivaling” last year and there was nothing left for the pilgrims? We all must be prepared for more of this….

  3. rightly said. Non violent tool being used for violence...

  4. But this politics of bandhs has been inherited from 'the father of nation' himself! Gandhi sowed the seed during the freedom movement, we are merely tasting the fruits of a tree on fertile grounds