By Lian Samte

Bandh is a sign of backwardness, ignorance and stupidity. The guy who made up this tactic must have been a very bright one but most probably a misfit, a failed politician or an abominable reformer. Nevertheless, the unique feature of this intelligent device is that it will never be outdated or outgrow its importance, especially in the context of India in general and Manipur in particular.

Some people call this loathsome practice a democratic right — a very handy one at that. And we have oftentimes resorted to it though mostly with more harm than good. That, in my humble opinion, makes it more a liability than a right although you may consider it vice versa.

I don’t mean that this bandh thing is completely useless nor is it completely useful either compared to our fondness for it. What I do mean is that the relative frequency of exercising this right of ours seldom yielded the desired results. Usually contrary to our objectives, the outcomes are rather dismal and diagonally opposite. That, too, after causing unspeakable public inconvenience, economic loss and social disturbances.

All knows that blessings do sometimes come the hard way. However, more often than not, the blessings we receive from such block-outs are seldom the sort we really are asking for. Instead, it’s verily a curse. Even if it brings any good — in whatever form — why should we be so hard upon ourselves for that negligible fraction of gain?

No one, in fact, had actually benefited from this abusive right we have made up for ourselves without any sound foundation. Even if there is one who is awarded a benefit from it, it would not be without an ulterior or personal motive. The rest of us bear the brunt.

I remember I had once hinted the importance of changing this (fading) strategy. However, it seems Manipur has so far not produced a son to outdo this creative freak. Isn’t it a high time we heed this suggestion of mine to spare the general populace of its suppressed agony? It’s time we listen to the silent wails of the innocent daily breadwinners who have to go without a morsel of food on such ominous occasions. Never forget the goodwill and blessings of a beggar also count. The very gesture from that lowly mortal may be the divine one. Who knows?

I feel this favorite political tool somewhat out of place and impractical in today’s hi-fi world. While our fellow beings have rushed to and from the space and had already landed on the moon, forget the fast paced developments they are on, we are still pulling our trickling sluggish traffic to a grinding halt. Bah!

No. Bandh simply has no place here. Even irony will not make us digest it or force this nauseating neo-tradition to assimilate into our veins.

The desired result is no more achieved as it might initially have. Perhaps, it never has! Right from its advent, I guess, it’s a dull, insipid, unproductive and lackluster form of protesting and venting one’s concerns. Yet, so sad we have no genius to excel this brat who first came up with it. Or was it a collective invention that it so tenaciously stuck to the so called constitutional means and cannot (or not permissible to) be done away with at all?

It’s time someone does something new, more effective, simpler, cheaper and less involving to get our political, economic, social or what-not grievances redressed or addressed. You know, today’s professional housebreakers need no bigger than a coin-sized explosive to burst the safest safes open. That’s it. Small, cost effective, yet powerful. Mass participation, though must never be ruled out. That’s exceptional — in appropriate situations. And that’s the right way to employ our democratic right, too.

Gandhi had wrested freedom from the White imperialists firing not a single shot but with the power of mass movements. But, it’s not the White specter we are fighting with now but against a more complex demon of our own greed and selfishness. Therefore, judging from the immense loss incurred economically, educationally, socially, etc. I prefer to call this bandh a daylight robbery by certain vested interests.


About Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi

Zou Students' Association Delhi Branch
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