Two Bharat Bandhs in one week; neither is it good for country’s economy, nor does it speak good about a conducive atmosphere for prosperity. Grievances will always remain. But Bandh is not the only option for the grievances to be redressed. There are other methods too. So, if one section of society is angry, it can always avail those paths. The path may be lengthy, but the delay will not harm anyone. Rather, it will definitely help to solve the problem amicably. But indulging in shortcuts, encouraging violence will lead us nowhere. Such steps will only make the divide permanent. Such a possibility should be avoided by everyone because only together can we prosper. If we do not understand the need of unity, clearly we are inviting doom.
Besides, before calling for a Bandh, every organisation should be careful about the cause. Take the example of April 2 Bandh, called by various Dalit organisations. The reason behind the Bandh call was simply perplexing. On March 20 last, the Supreme Court of India ordered some changes in the law framed to curb atrocities against the Dalits and Adivasis. It removed the provision of arrest as soon as a complaint is filed. Naturally, the Dalit organisations were not happy with the changes as they believed their rights were compromised. Clearly they were angry. Many other organisations and political parties also held the same view. Pressure was mounting on the Central Government to file a review petition against the judgement. Moreover, the Dalit organisations were well within their rights to approach the Supreme Court to appeal against any dilution of the said law. But instead of taking the legal recourse, the Dalit organisations took their agitation to the streets. A nationwide Bandh was called. The country witnessed violence in almost all states. 11 people lost their lives in violent incidents. More than 50 people were injured. Properties, worth crores of rupees, were destroyed. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar were among the worst affected. As all these states are situated in the country’s heartland, virtually the entire country came to a standstill. But what did the Dalit organisations achieve from this Bandh? Apart from headlines in newspapers, it achieved nothing. Rather it left the country bleeding.
Barely a week passed when the country witnessed another Bandh on April 10. This time the Bandh call was given by various organisations dominated by upper castes. The main demand of those organisations was to remove reservations meant for the Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Communities (OBCs). We all know that initially it was decided that reservations to those sections would be in place for a span of 10 years. The then rulers of the country thought by that time the government would be able to bring all sections of the society at par. But that didn’t happen. Rather, the gap between various sections of the society continued to grow. It was then realised that to remove reservations would not be an easy job. So it is continuing till date. No matter how much agitated the upper caste people are, there is no chance of removing reservations in near future. Yet a Bandh was called. Thankfully this Bandh was devoid of destruction. But it has left a scar on society. A dividing line between the Dalits and upper castes were drawn, a division which could easily have been avoided. Clearly, time has now come for our leaders to put the country’s interest ahead of their personal ambitions.