The 48 hour bandh called for by the Telangana activists is near total. Roads are empty. All shops are shut. The petrol bunks were shut even at 5 in the morning. ATMs are closed in some places. All commercial establishments are shut. People on the roads are walking for lack of transport. Autos and taxis are making a killing. Cops stand by in groups at some centres. The small vendors are missing on the road. Kiranas are shut - no milk, essentials if you have no stock. The message is clear. It is almost like it was a state sponsored bandh.
What happens to the daily wage earner? To those in medical emergencies? To those who need to travel and have no independent transport? To those who sell wares on the road for a living? To the commission agents, salesmen? To rickshaw drivers, push cart vendors? To small businesses trying to survive? As always the bandhs affect the ones the most who are least affected by any change in government. The ones who suffer the most are those who have all the power, the public. And also who has no say, the public. Ironical.
The idea of a bandh, I presume, is to show people's support for a particular cause - a cause that they wish to bring to the government's notice. One wonders how many people support a 48 hour bandh that will affect them and their families immediately. Obviously the bandh will be claimed as the verdict of the people - but that may not always be true. All one needs is to scare people into shutting shop. With no police protection, it would be that much easier. If this was not enough, there will be vandalism, destruction of public property and great inconvenience to the very public you want to represent and protect and alleviate. Tomorrow the same classes will bear the expense of the economic imbalance in the form of taxes. The same classes will be credited with having made the bandh successful. Poor fellows pay for something that they did not do. Unfortunately, few bandhs are voluntary. Most people of the population are still eking out basic necessities. At that level, there is no ideology, no political alignment.
In this political push and pull, the worst affected are the weakest. The old, the infirm, the young, the students. Their lives, their health, their futures are always at stake. One hopes that there comes a better method of voicing grievances, of getting the government's notice without affecting everyone. One hopes that bandhs are made completely voluntary to really know how popular and people-centric they are. Ah, I would like to know the number of people who would shut shop then!