If you feel a sense of deja vu in Bangalore, you’re not alone. The Cauvery Tribunal released its report yesterday and the response was prompt. Here’s a clip from today’s Deccan Herald:
The Akhila Karnataka Gadi Horata Samiti, an umbrella organisation of several pro-Kannada organisations, has called a Karnataka bundh on Thursday (February 8).
Was the award by the tribunal unfair? Probably. Is there any recourse? Yes, we do have options that the government is considering. Is the bandh going to help the cause in any way? Get real. Is the bandh going to put a lot of people through unnecessary inconvenience? Duh.
Yesterday, the state government did a smart thing by deploying police personnel all across the state in anticipation of trouble and therefore, there was little trouble. Yes, schools shut down in the afternoon and companies let their employees leave in the afternoon, but it was probably worth it.
What is irksome though is that a few organisations can threaten bring an entire state to a standstill by calling a bandh. It seems pretty likely that the bandh will be successful but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.
It is the threat of violence that prevents people from showing up for work or going to school on when there is a bandh. I doubt if too many people are going to say, Hey, I support the cause and therefore, I’m going to stay away from work. Wear a black armband or something.
For a country that claims to have a civilization that’s 5000 years old and won its independence by non-violent means, we do use a lot of violence and strong-arm tactics.
Also, I wonder if, without tacit support of political parties and maybe even the state machinery, how a bandh would succeed. All the bandh is going to do is make a lot of parents anxious about their children, make people anxious about going to work, and make daily wage workers eat leaves and grass on Thursday, since they can’t earn anything.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget about the Tamilians who are settled in different areas in Bangalore. They’d probably be nervous about speaking in Tamil and wondering if they’d be targeted. We already have a dispute with Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, now we need to pick up disputes with Goa, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh as well.
What’s next–a party called Tipu Sena or some such equivalent? Maybe they’ll start beating up school principals next.