Bharat Bandh

Yesterday as I was sitting in my flat and was watching news on the national television about BHARAT BANDH, I was astounded by the diversity of views. Government of the day says that this Bandh is uncalled for and the opposition is behaving irresponsibly. And the opposition is saying that it was necessary to make a non-sensitive ruling combine listen to the legitimate grievances of the people.

Then there are several news channels. Most of them were opposing the Bandh. They were showing that trains are running on time, planes are taking off as per schedule and general public is out on the streets for work and that things are normal. But today in the morning  when I woke up and saw the morning news papers, I was astounded again. Times Of india and Hindustan Times, two leading news papers, were carrying photos of empty roads, deserted highways and motionless railway stations and aerodrome. So the question arises; which medium is right and which medium is giving us right pictures and true news?

Then there is internet. Micro social networking site twitter was full of various tweets – some supporting the Bandh and some opposing it. People like Mr. Pritish Nandi , Mr. Chetan Bhagat and Mr. Kanchan Gupta were in support and equally eminent people like Rajdeep Sardesai, and Nidhi Razdan were airing their views in opposition. I am reproducing some of the tweets here which I retweeted :throughout the day. If you read them in ascending order ( i.e. from bottom to top ), you can understand my predicament and confusion. Tweets, which I retweeted, are :

  1. PritishNandy

    If fuel prices must be marked to market, why not prices in the Parliament canteen? Where else in India can you get lunch for under Rs 10? 11:05 AM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 87 others

    Rahul ChowdhuryIshita SachdevShehzad tweetssariyu behlSuvi NadakuzhackalHarsh BajajSandeepKangkan Kashyapsatyajeet dubeyAnirudh MandhanaLaxmisrikanthSatbeerKunal India KashyapJyoti KumarBhawesh Jha

    showing latest 15
  2. Kanchan Gupta

    The arrogance of the ‘humble’ PM is astounding. Similar to the arrogance of an upper division clerk who can sit on files. 11:36 AM Jul 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry® Retweeted by you and 16 others

    Saurabh ShrivastavaPankaj MohanDevyani BilloreAmssubodh khannaIndia gistVidurAn IndianV BRishi Kaliakaushik duttaANIL KUMARAkhilesh MishraShine PInternet Hindus

    showing latest 15
  3. Internet Hindus

    Surprising isnt it that we all kept quiet wen Manipur was blockaded 4 69 days but 1 day bandh seems like a crime 2 our so calld intelectuals 12:19 PM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 24 others

    ronidroyPranav KarkhanisscadzaTejas CVidurNimueRahul MulchandaniNitish KumarNILIM DUTTAShubhankar MazumdarSanjib ChakravortyAmbuj TiwariAnirban sahaAbhishek BhatnagarBharat Bandh

    showing latest 15
  4. Pritish Nandy

    Well, the bandh seems near total. Everything’s off the roads. Trains, planes not working. Shows public anger with price rise. 11:00 AM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 15 others

    Kunal India Kashyapvarada shindeYogesh Kumar DubeyAvantiShreyans DesaiAbhishek BhatnagarPRAVEEN TRIVEDIAnkur SharmaSaiff ♛ Diwan ✓Sharath VvivekSukhdeep GroverVidursanjaybenganiVibhu Rishi

    showing latest 15
  5. Pritish Nandy

    First, food prices went thru the roof while Pawar played cricket. Then inflation ran into double digits. Now fuel prices raised! Mad? 8:50 AM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 18 others

    Bhaskar AgarwalVikrant ChaplotVikas PrajapativivekVidurSurvivor _Aashay Jardoshravie ravan kathuriaBeyond MagicShreyans DesaiKrishna Kumar JalanBergesAmsRaghul SudheeshArvind Raghavendran

    showing latest 15
  6. Chetan Bhagat

    Not in favor of bandhs usually, especially violent ones, but Indian inflation is going at insanity levels 9:16 AM Jul 5th via TweetDeck Retweeted by you and 27 others

    saubhik dasPrashanth KBBinjal ShahYogesh Kumar DubeyPawan RathodJayakrishnan KarolilR TAmsvivek scadzaApurva BParikshit SalvepatilAchyut TelangKanchan RawatRaj Agrawal

    showing latest 15
  7. Chetan Bhagat

    The fuel price deregulation is a sham. More than half the petrol/diesel price is taxes – customs/excise/VAT/cess 9:17 AM Jul 5th via TweetDeck Retweeted by you and 54 others

    Rahul Chowdhurysaubhik dasAntik Shahserendipityprabhat kumarPawan RathodR TAmsvivek Tanmoy GhoshHarleneRohan NatawadkarVishal DharankarAbhinav ChadhaJatil Sharma

    showing latest 15
  8. Pritish Nandy

    Any Govt that comes to power becomes fat, sloppy, corrupt. But that doesnt mean we throw up our hands. Choice is our only weapon. 9:34 AM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 18 others

    smarellakunal jalanUtkarsh AmbasthKhurpVignesh.Rshefali sagarPiyush JainVidurNakul ShenoyDr.Lokendra MalikGokulsanthuSOMANAATHAN MChinmayi / ChinmayeeDr.Love

    showing latest 15
  9. Pritish Nandy

    This fuel price rise is nonsense. How much of the price we pay for fuel is actually taxes, thats the real issue. 9:50 AM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 20 others

    Rahul ChowdhuryKunal India KashyapVignesh.RVishalSharath VVidurvivekPallav NarangSOMANAATHAN MLaghu SikarwarChinmayi / ChinmayeeSiva KrishnaRishiRaghul SudheeshPranav Dixit

    showing latest 15
  10. Pritish Nandy

    And have we, the people of India, taken a theka to keep the PSU oil companies in profit? Not me. 9:52 AM Jul 5th via web Retweeted by you and 11 others

    Rahul ChowdhuryKangkan KashyapVishalSharath VnisargVidurvivekTarang ArdeshnaPallav NarangSatbeerAmeet PanchalDEBKANCHAN MITRA

So which version to follow ?  Which one is the true version ? Every one , I have mentioned here, has impeccable records. But everyone cannot be right . So truth definitely lies somewhere in between.

I would like to say that Bandh is not the most desirable or right thing to do. But if the government of the day refuses to pay heed, and works imperiously, then what is the choice ? When opposition sits silently, media blames it for inaction. And when it hits the road then it is accused of unparliamentary behaviour. So what to do ? In my opinion Bandh is the legitimate weapon and should be used sparingly. Sure it causes inconvenience to the general public and makes things bad for the daily wage earners. But price rise is not going to benefit daily wage earners in any way. When inflation is rampaging at the rate of almost 14% and spiralling prices have made life hell for the common man, then the question of the inconvenience of the common man does not arise. So in my opinion this Bandh was necessary and unavoidable action. Public supported it whole heartedly and participated in it suo-moto. As for as the success of the Bandh is concerned, morning news papers debunked all the claims of the public annoyance and so-called pictures of the defiance of the common man for yesterday’s Bandh being aired by the electronic media.

One thing, I must say about the electronic media, is that they were following the official and the government’s version about the Bandh. Their coverage was biased and one-sided. They call people , who are called panelists and I suspect that they are professional panelists, who surface and resurface at the channel’s studio at every given moments and air their views on every subject under the sun. They are experts on every matter and only they are called by the channels. May I ask what is the criteria for the selection of these panelists ? Almost all the panelists look rich and seemed not to have experienced hunger and poverty. So why are they so concerned for the poor ? What the hell they know about the common man ?

Then there are chronic publicity seekers also. Yesterday there was this gentleman, who was interviewed by the correspondent of a particular channel. He was intercepted at a petrol pump and was asked about the difficulty he is facing while filling the tank of his car. Why was he out on the day of the Bandh ? Why was he roaming around aimlessly from Thane to Andheri ? There was no emergency, so why was he searching for the petrol on the same very day ? And if public was out in the large numbers on the roads, then how come print media is showing pictures of empty roads ?

BHARAT BANDH was successful and it was with the support of the general public. There was pent-up anger and it came out openly. I am not a political activist, but I did not venture out to work and in a way supported the BHARAT BANDH.




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