Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hate Hartals? What Can You and I Do?

We have now, almost quite unanimously, decided that most of us hate the antisocial and antiprogressive event of convenience celebrated very frequently by our scum politicians under different names such as hartal, bandh, roko, strike, panimudakku, etc. It does no good to ANY one in this state or country. And because of this single phenomenon, Kerala has stagnated and rotten.

So now what can we do? Clearly, at this stage, I am not in a position to go out and protest [or call a hartal against hartal as someone joked :)]. And I am not interested in filing a public interest litigation and adding to the long list of petitions against hartals.

I am going to list a few of my ideas against hartals and banhds. I welcome all our readers to contribute to this post and add your suggestions. All reasonable, sensible, and practical ideas and suggestions will be compiled and sent to all leading newspapers in Kerala/ India. (jokes are welcome, but wont make it to the final list) You can choose to give your real name or a nickname (even if you dont have a blogger id), but preferably avoid anonymous comments.

My suggestions:

1. I have always believed in creating awareness and educating people. Whenever I get a chance, I speak about hartals and the loss they create to the state. I explain how only hard work can lead to progress. I also stress on the importance of working within the system. I tell all these things to whoever I can in Kerala - be it a driver, rickshaw-wala, shopkeeper, policeman, businessman, or engineer. Giving such perspective can make them think, and realize themselves. And in turn, they will spread the good word to many others (hopefully). So my first suggestion is to:

"Spread the word against hartals and its ill-effects to everyone you come across"

2. For those of you with considerable local clout, please encourage the local decision makers and people to work against hartals and strikes. I have read about one or two towns in Kerala that have people working together against these political games, and remain open during hartals. If this can become a mass movement, and spread across Kerala, then Kerala will surely make progress, and more importantly, it will cut our wily politicians to size.

"Encourage pockets of community activity against hartals"

3. Another longer term action that we can take is to stop voting for parties/ leaders that encourage hartals. Obviously, that would mean that we will not be able to vote. But the idea is to create an awareness among the scumbag politicians that hartals and bandhs will only earn negative points for them. Hopefully its some discouragement for them.

"Vote out politicians and parties that encourage hartals and bandhs"

More suggestions and action points are most welcome.


Anonymous said...

Are you real??? Be ready to sacrifice; not merely preach.

Collect Rs 1 lakh each from 50 NRKs. Give me the 50 lakhs. We shall found an anti-hartal party with 25 lakhs, and ensure two MLA-ships in the next Assembly. You can be one. With the other 25 lakhs, we shall start a newspaper which will be made into a TV channel in 3 years.
We can then force-manipulate an end to Hartals.
If we pay Rs. 50000/- each to a few community leaders including five pragmatic Bishops, things can be rendered faster.

Vinod/Kakka said...

Why not something smaller? How much does a full page ad on Manorama cost?

I am willing to pitch in. Seriously. Its time that we had a think tank or NGO that takes out media ads against stuff like this.

MC said...

@ anonymous - haha..MLA-ships..good one

@ vinod/kakka - thats a smart plan. we will work on this separately. will speak to the rest of our team members and revert via mail. a full page all kerala ad on mal man should cost a couple of lakhs for sure?

nishanth nair said...

I agree with Vinod..

Its the time to do something rather than spaeking,we have discussed a lot,now we have to implement.

scorpiogenius said...

Why dont we pitch it up to the Media themselves..As we know our frontline dailies can make or break a story

Give a mass petition to the newspapers, TV channels and FM stations to avoid reporting the hartal to public

No one will know there is a hartal and life will go on as usual.. People's participation is the main problem we have in case of hartals. When life flows as usual, it will become increasingly difficult for those pests to disrupt it.

Or else adopt the naxal model

Got it?? Form a society like the 'Ayyankalippada' or something...Give those thugs who commit atrocities in the name of hartal, a taste of their own medicine...

Malayalathil parayam...Akramam kanikkunnavanteyokke kaiyyum kalum adichodikkanam...

to be frank, I feel now this is what is going to happen. the youth are getting increasingly frustrated and their tolerance will soon reach a tipping point. There is an overwhelming sense of uneasiness among regular public MC, and its just a matter of time.

PCM said...

Dear MC,
Excuse me for thinking on different lines. You know the story of Ulysses? All his crew ate the fruit of the lotos in Lotos Island and refused to follow him in his return journey. Tennyson perhaps foresaw the Keralites when he wrote these lines.
"There is no joy but calm!"
Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things?
Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
To war with evil? Is there any peace
In ever climbing up the climbing wave?

Hartals are not successful because the call is strong. People take a day off from offices, workplaces, shops and travel because they don’t lose anything - salary, wages for the work that could be done the next day, shops can sell their wares later on and travel could always be postponed. Those who start their journey without listening to the media might get stranded. Those who choose to fall ill or die on that day are fated to suffer.
The only thing the callers of hartal should do is give the call before the beverages shops close. Can’t you see the chuckle on the face of our Finance Minister when liquor sales boost up on the day prior to hartals?
Hartals are successful because the people of Kerala have learnt to be lazy, inactive and stoic about their fate. Why should they work when their relatives are sending them money from outside Kerala?

mathew said...

The root cause of the success of a hartal comes from three sides

1) The parties that call it
2) The thugs who implement it
3) The working class(read salaried) who get another holiday.

Practically the only people who suffer here are:-

1) Business(regular shops/tourism)
2) Travellers

I would say allow the salaried class to do the harthal or bandh, but at the sametime enforce a system that allows them to work in compensation on an alternative weekend..lets see how many are going to skip office then!

Allow the police a free "practical training of police academy classroom notes". Thats good for the general fitness of the police and allows the police to recruit well bodied thugs into the force...;-D

I dont understand why the heck schools and colleges should suffer in a harthal..when I was student I loved it because thats how I was conditioned to believe in..However optimistic I am I have lost hope on a corrective change from the current generation..Atleast lets teach the next generation of malayalees the mistakes of the past!!

Finally the main point is teach the common man not to equate democratic means or freedom of expressing civil rights as the equivalent of public services disruption...when they hold the public to ransom, let them remember they themselves would be held ransom some other day by some other group....

sorry for the long comment..

Suman said...

I am from Hyderabad and we dont have even half the problems Kerala faces. You should learn from Hyderabad. It is expanding very nicely.

Vinod/Kakka said...

On the part of "whom does hartal affect the most", I would say the day laborers, the fishermen, autorikshaw, bus drivers et al. They loose the oppurtunity to earn money.

The salaried class is the biggest gainer, getting money for no work.

scorpiogenius said...

I would say allow the salaried class to do the harthal or bandh, but at the sametime enforce a system that allows them to work in compensation on an alternative weekend..lets see how many are going to skip office then!

Mathew, thats a suggestion we could seriously consider, what say MC??

About the people who suffer during Hartals, I'd say everyone, except those politicians and their thugs...

Kerala wont escape the claws of this social menace until and unless a cosmopolitan culture evolves here, like in Blore or Mumbai. Each day must be important in their lives and we must learn the value of time..Still, this over-politicized environment is a dampner.

Madhavan said...

Kerala will never acquire a cosmopolitan culture.The Mallu mindset is narrow, backwardly thinking, egocentric and self destructive; as evident from hartals.Unless the Malayali youth start thinking on progressive lines; Kerala is destined to the dumps.I think most of us who are voicing our concerns are all living out side Kerala.The people stay in Kerala are all disaffected & are not bothered.Until & unless a strong voice of dissent come from people living in Kerala, Hartals will be the way of life!
On the positive side we can be proud that Kerla leads in:-
1.State with the highest number of Road deaths in India.
2.State with the highest alcohol consumption(Punjab is 2'nd)
3.Highest level of corruption(Ref-lokayukta)

Nish said...

The Kerala High Court should make it illegal for a newspaper or a TV channel to pre-announce a hartal.

If the political terrorists have no means to get the word across, then by virtue of the fact that no one knows it's a hartal, they will not be able to bring the state to a halt as they currently do.

Dr. Chandra Kumar Jain said...


Dr.Chandrakumar Jain

silverine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anush said...

i had done my studies in kerala and now working outside (obviously there arent tht much good opps in the state). This problem of hartal (or bandh as it used to be called once) seems like a never ending phenomenon.
But its will of people tht will help in breaking this deadlock
Some of the methods suggested in the post and comments are really good. Hope something transpires and Kerala is able to achieve its potential.

I remember one small incident in my Engg college (its a top college , so wud leave it unnamed)

We used to have frequent strikes in college due to politics and disputes betwee SFI-ABVP-KSU factions.
Thing used to get so bad that some of our senior batches faced what is called semester lag .. due to lack of attendance whole batch repeats one sem and passes out 6 months late. When i was moving to final year ,IT sector seemed to be on rise and people could sense that there were well paying (non-gulf)jobs available after graduation. But at the sametime were facing this menace of strikes and somebody calculated tht we were running very close to attendence shortage as classes were seldom held and would have to repeat our sememster.
I think there was not much planning involved , there werent any heroes giving speeches to bind students together .. but all of us felt that we had to ensure that no further strike happens and classes are held as our future was at stake.
I cant recollect how we reached that stage , but once tht feeling (awareness) spread then someone suggested that all of us should not leave the class when next srike call comes and we would continue to sit and ask the lecuturer to continue.
Then next week there was a strike call for some trivial reason and when the guys shouting slogans came to our class , we all decided to sit in the class and defy the strike call. Something people we were earlier scared to do because of lack of a collective will...
Earlier we were individuals facing 20-30 slogan shouting guys of one party or other , but now it was a group of students.
And then somehow we did it , a couple of so called leaders of these student parties came in and asked us to 'co-operate' , but to no avail.

The same thing was done in a couple of other departments ... the majority had won and for the first time a strike had failed in our college.
There werent any calls for strike after tht , we graduated .. I hear a lot has changed after that , the college has brought in uniforms for our juniors and though they have elections for student bodies , most of the meaningless strikes have been eliminated and college boasts of good campus placeements these days

i do wish the state also follows in the same manner and im sure when the time comes , people will effortless weed out these unecessary hartals.

Apologise for such a long post , but a point i would stress again and again is that an awareness of what they are losing should spread among people and more than that the idea that they CAN change it.

Kannan Kartha said...

I do not think awareness will ever change it. People are aware of the ill effects and so are the political parties. The problem is, inspite of all these, political parties still resort the same old ancient ways of protest and bring public life to a stand still. There is no resentment and they just go on with their own political agenda like morons.

The only way out is fight the legal battle and bring out the sufferings of common man (I am afraid, you will have to provide evidence). Second is to set the law and order system right.

God's own country gone to DOGs.

Jackson said...

i like the comment about a political think tank.. i think it will be great if we can have organizations that could participate in politics from (hopefully) an independent viewpoint, but whose focus is not contesting elections but enforcing good policy..
what such a body will need are a group of motivated, aware people and the funds to maintain its presence.. not such a big thing to ask.. its biggest advantage is that it will have a ripple effect of making people aware of its existence and inspiring others to do the same as well..
the greatest challenge, however, will be to maintain its independence from mainstream party interference and influence while sticking to a particular point of view..

MC said...

thank you all for the wonderful view points. we will summarize the suggestions and see what comes out of it.

also, the point that awareness will change Kerala is so true. thats the whole idea of this blog even. slowly but surely, with every person that stops by here and thinks of a change, sees a different perspective, we will build more hope. and that hope will multiply and transform into a great force some day.

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