Monday, July 21, 2008

Bandhs and hartals

1915. MK Gandhi, a new leader, plunged himself into India's freedom struggle. He had a new way of fighting - satyagraha. It included demonstrations and processions, hartals and bandhs, towards the conscience of the oppressor. This trick worked well and finally India got independence. Thereafter hartals and bandhs were allowed in India. But now, the political parties in Kerala and India have misused it to such an extent that people begin to count the hartal-less days in an year to count the number of hartals. This overuse has also brought with it another disadvantage. Hartlas does not serve its purpose like it did earlier. As the frequency of hartals increased, people began not to think about the cause of them. Now, they can only be used to disrupt public life. And they couldn't even do that had them been conducted in the right spirit and only those who wished to take part needed to take part. But what happens today is that people are forced, almost violently to keep inside their houses on such day. This is certainly different from how hartals were organised in pre-independence period. And this is certainly unjust. So it is high time that the government make sure that hartals become succesful only if people want them to be.

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