Happy Hartal!!!

Posted on January 12, 2007. Filed under: bandh, kolkata, Politics |

The other day I recieved a forwarded SMS from a friend of mine with the following message:
English man subha uthkar bolta hain-Good morning.
Hindu says : Suprabhatam
Muslim: Salam
but aj kal subha uthkar Mamta Banerjee Bolti hai: aj bangala bandh hai…!! Happy Hartal
For a moment, I could not but laugh out loudly. But an instant later, it no more seemed funny. And it should not either. And for all those who do not understand the signuficance of the sms here’s a list of .. well… what should I call it- poltician-declared-public holidays in Kolkata last December onwards: two 12 hour bandhs plus one 24 hours bandh and then one 48 hour bandh for various issues and various poltical parties in 31 days of December and then once again a Bandh on the 8th of January! Okay, and this list doe not include the endless number of processions and things like road blocking.. protest… all that one can think of to disrupt the life of the city and irritate just about everyone!
I understand full well that the issues the parties take up are serious and that they need to be addressed, and its not just one Miss Mamta Banerjee but Bandh is a strategic tool of peaceful mass protest, but then a simple fact is, a bandh is supposed to show that the certain issue has so much support from people that people are going on a strike till their demands are met, but the truth is people do not come out of their houses during bandh- not exactly becaus ethey support the cause or anything but simply because they are scared they might be stopped on their way and they would have to face various troubles and hazards which is not rare either! So its a “forceful” espousing the bandhs demand. And for that matter there is a certain section of the population who are not even aware of why this strike has been called!!
Kolkata’s annual calendar has hardly been bandh-free for years now and finally,now that the ruling party is taking steps to curb the number of such abrupt halts… the opposition seems to be reluctant.
I am not a poltical or even social expert… but as a layman- as an young student of both the city and the country, I just want to ask one question- is bandh the only peaceful way to go about it? I only know nothing is absolute, so there must be alternatives. And all I know is, it is high time such alternatives are adopted because there are professions other than POLITICS in the city.. in the country, in which having a ‘bandh-day’ is neither helpful nor desirable… and there are certain people like daily labourers for whom a day-off implies -a fast.

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Suggestions for better democracy.

Posted on November 25, 2006. Filed under: India, Politics |

Crazy, you can all me, but I won’t shy away from proposing some constitutional change or to say a demand for better performance of our central government. I recently read, which many of you would have read, that India is one the failed democracies, though I don’t buy there vision and neither there methodology, but still there are many things which can be improved to make ours a better democracy. One of them I think, which I am proposing over here is as follows:
Every party which is going to run for say minimum of 300 seats out of some 550+ seats in Lok Sabha elections, should before election declare there prime-minister candidate. And those who are in no position to nominate there PM candidate, which means that they are running for less than 300 seats, have to before hand support any of the Prime minister candidate. It would certainly tell us the people a clear picture of future, and thus make it easy to select candidate of our region. It will thus make parties answerable to public beforehand. It must also be made necessary for every candidate to (on there own money) publish their biodata in at least 2 popular local dailies.
I also feel that there must be some legal paper signed just like contracts between two parties before an alliance, which should be made public, and this must be done before election, so that people who vote should have a clear picture of parties and people for whom they are going to vote. This will avoid development of any future crap. And a much stable democratic structure. I think we should make democracy for our need and should break away from a highly borrowed up democratic system. India is a very unique nation, which absorbed democracy like no other nation that too after long autocratic rule. If any person comes up and say that India is failure in terms of a democracy then I would ask him to visit India, a nation of such a magnum opus society, with such a variety of cultures available, and with a very long history.
These are few potpourri views, which will only work better if reviewed by many others. So I will love to read comments on it.

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