Rakesh, my eldest son, came from US to attend a marriage in Patna and combined it with some his business related work in Hyderabad. The marriage was on July 9, and he was to leave Patna for Hyderabad on July 10 for business meetings that were fixed well before he left US.
He was to leave for Patna from Delhi in the evening on July 8 as per schedule. It was late on July 7 that he came to know of the July 10, strike. In Noida, I did not know about it. As the protesters these days go to any extent to stop the operation of flights, railway trains, and even the vehicles on roads, our relatives in Patna advised for changing the travel plan. Rakesh spent few hours in fixing up the changed plan and made us all worry too. Will Lalu, Ram Bilas or for that matter all the political leaders who very often call these strikes or Bandhs as they call it, appreciate the difficulties and mental agonies of people affected in many ways by the rogue followers who manage these bandhs? Who should take the responsibility of the incidents of violence? Will Lalu and Ram Bilas justify their bandh supporters raining lathis on vehicle owners and shopkeepers who defied the bandh?
And then Rakesh had to take a flight on July 9 itself for Hyderabad via New Delhi without attending the marriage of his sister-in-law. Rakesh reached Patna around 8PM on July 8 and returned to Patna airport by 12 noon on the next day without attending the marriage and any other function. He had to leave behind his wife and kids in Patna.
And all the mess was due to the strike called by Lalu=Paswan against the price rise in the country. Interestingly, he had already seen one on July 5, when he arrived in Delhi in early morning on July 5. Fortunately, as it was in Delhi, he could come to Noida without any problem.
Leaders of Bihar have learnt the nitty-gritty of managing the bandhs in effective manner so that no sane person dares to come out from his house in a bandh perhaps from the masters of the art in the neighbouring state. Democracy allows only willing participation in protests. It never gives a license to resort to violence and threat to make others participate in a protest. Why should not the party resorting to violence in the democratic protests be banned? Why should the students be stopped from going to their schools and the poor workers to their works and the patients even critical ones are not allowed to go to hospitals?
I don’t know what Lalu and Paswan would have advised his sons if they get involved in such a situation. I and many feel aghast against the riding prices. But has any bandh that caused inconveniences to millions of people and loss of many types yielded any result? Is a check on the price rise their intention? Are not they showing their strength in this election year to their vote banks and trying to embarrass the state government?
K Subramanayam has very rightly called these bandhs as acts of terror similar to one carried out by the Naxalites in the country.
Why should not the political leaders innovate a peaceful way of protest without causing the loss to individuals or the nation? If these leaders try to copy everything that US does, why can’t they follow the same for democratic protests too?