The children are happy with the added holiday that they got. They can relax at home without worrying about the exam that was scheduled or the homework that they had to complete for that day. The government servants are happy about the unexpected leave that they get; they can relax watching TV or attend to other pending work at home. The rest of the people are suffering, the private firm employees try all their luck to get on to the ‘state owned buses’ overflowing with people to reach office on time. The private daily wage workers cry about their wallets being lighter with one day’s wage missing, the taxi drivers complain about the money they could make if this was not a holiday, the shop owners worry about the business they lost because they were closed down for this day. The holiday is none other than hartal or strike. For all the people other than Indians read the following to get a better understanding. The wikepedia defines Hartal as following : Hartal is a term in many Indian languages for strike action, used often during the Indian
Independence Movement. It is mass protest often involving a total shutdown of workplaces, offices, shops, courts of law as a form of civil disobedience. In addition to being a general strike, it involves the voluntary closing of schools and places of business. It is a mode of appealing to the sympathies of a government to change an unpopular or unacceptable decision. Hartal even has a website dedicated to it!!!! http://www.hartal.org/Hartaleng.htm which says “Hartal” is a Gujurati word. “Har” means “everything” or “always”; “Tal” or “tala” means “to close”. The word “hartal” means a day of mourning or protest, on which all the shops are shut and no-one goes to work or does any shopping. Indians are born to this world of strikes, hartals and bandhs. I’ve heard little kids asking their mom “Mommy what’s the difference between a hartal and a bandh ( a similar one but banned in different states in
India). We welcomed the court decision to ban bandh, but it’s practiced more or less the same way as before but with a new and smarter name to it. Disrupting common man’s daily life and devoid him of his daily bread was not exactly that MK Gandhi might have had in his mind when he introduced this form of protest. Well everything that the great man has started or stated was misused by the so called servants of the society themselves. I don’t really get the idea why people accept the calling of strikes and hartals all the time. But I guess it could be one of the following reasons.
Fear Fear exists in each and everyone. Hartals remind the common man of torched vehicles, people being beaten up or mobbed by the supporters of the hartals, shops being forcefully shut down, employees forced to walk out of their office. We fear to take our four-wheeler out to the streets. We are afraid to open our shops. We live in fear. No wonder we see deserted streets and at the end of the day news bulletins praising the party of getting the ‘support’ from the people. I smile when I see people put up stickers such as ‘Hospital’ or ‘marriage’ on their vehicles when they go out onto the road. This explains the fear. I think this is outrageous. Laziness Supporting a hartal of an unknown party for an unknown problem is nothing but laziness. An ideal time and excuse to stay home. Your inability to get to office because of the absence of transportation and the dangers involved in walking through the streets would be the ideal excuse that no boss can refuse. Protesting might be a constitutional right, but the rest of the things that is being practiced in the name of strikes are criminal offences. We all know about this, we all talk about this, but when do we come to a state when we can boldly say NO to this atrocity? I see a future where everything is normal, with businesses up and running, streets crowded with people, shops & schools open and people living with no fear on a Hartal, I just hope the future is near!