Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Bandhs are routinely called in India, especially the North East region. There are Bharat bandhs, state bandhs, district bandhs, area bandhs, tribe/caste bandhs, economic bandhs, etc.
Bandh calls are so common in the North East that many people cater to bandhs while planning for major festivals or events. Most citizens are now accustomed to postponing travel plans or travelling late in the night to beat bandh timings.
However, bandh days are unusually quiet days. For people living in towns and cities, it is a pleasure to wake up to soundless days. We get so used to hearing all sorts of noises made by so many vehicles, two wheelers, generators, etc, that we do not realize the bliss of silence. Even electricity supply is steady since many electric consumers like shops, offices, garages and factories are closed.
There are health benefits also during bandh days. With vehicles off the roads, one gets to breathe fresh, unpolluted air, giving our lungs a much needed respite from contaminated/polluted air. If one has to visit any relative or hospital during bandh days, the only option is walking.
During bandh days, schools and colleges are closed, offices are closed, shops and bazaars are closed, factories are closed, and everyone stays at home. Students and office-goers enjoy bandhs since they don’t have to go to school or office. So bandh days provide opportunities for spending quality time with our family members. One can complete pending household work and catch up on hobbies. Increased family time allows bonding with family members, thus helping in healthy relationships within family members.
However, some citizens do suffer during these bandhs. Casual labourers cannot earn their daily wages; daily wage earners have to make it up the next day. Some citizens have to reschedule or cancel their travel plans. There may be some harassment to patients travelling for medical treatment, and students travelling to their schools or colleges.
There are occasions when commuters travel late in the night to reach destinations outside the bandh timings. Office work and business plans have to be postponed for a day. There are no business transactions or factory production during bandhs.
However, there is an additional benefit accrued during recent bandh days. With the ongoing FIFA World Cup in football, it is a bonus during bandh days as fans can watch their late night football matches without bothering about waking late next morning.
Bandhs are commonly held to oppose injustice, price rise, lack of civic amenities, unresolved criminal cases, interstate/inter-tribe conflicts, politics, etc. However, any clues as to why there are no bandhs organised against corruption? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)