What do you do when you have people who don’t stand up for others’ rights?
One could brand them as individualists, hurl a few abuses and leave them be at peace.
What do you do when you have people who don’t stand up for their own rights?
Whenever I hear people say that a strike is bad, without understanding the reason and motive behind, I feel depressed first, and follow it by sympathy to the softheads who have their heads stuffed with numbers, lots of numbers, but no comprehension of the problems.
Let me give you couple of examples of why we are in a situation of crisis.
Just talk to your neighbour in the public transport vehicle (not the air-conditioned one, mind you), it might mostly be a daily wage worker who will, in high probability be commuting to his/her work for about twenty kms. Let me quote it out of my experience of one such discussion.
A man who is commuting from Vidyaranyapura to the Electronic city in a BMTC bus. He is commuting to a construction site, where he is a mason. He carries his yellow namesake safety helmet. He says, he earns 200 per day in this project, and when he gets to work for few other big projects it might reach upto 300 rupees a day (as expected a rare opportunity). Now, we might want to think it is ten times higher than what our Government thinks one needs to survive in urban centres like Bangalore. Let us verify.
Cost of his bus pass is 50 rupees, and he ends up going in crammed up buses because there are fewer normal BMTC buses plying this IT Hub route. He can’t dream of shelling his day’s wage to the Vajra (diamond) services of air conditioned buses which throng this route. He carries a small lunch pack, because it costs no less than 30 rupees to eat a filling meal in a hotel. So, carrying food from home which is in no way a balanced diet, but a diet to balance the budget still costs a hundred rupees for a day, for him and his wife and three year old kid.
How? If you still haven’t gone out buying provision for your household – rice per kilo has shot upto 50 Rs, and the not so easily palatable rice (to the ones like us) still is at 40. This man has of course no LPG connection and uses kerosene stove. If I am right kerosene too is expensive at about 50 rs a litre. And because one cannot just eat rice, dal or a handful of vegetables with a bit of milk adds up to another 50 rupees. Milk just had a net hike of 3 rupees per litre. Because he works for twelve hours under stressful conditions, I don’t blame his habits of chewing tobacco, if that alleviates even some of his burden. I am sure no philosphy would help him, like that tobacco might at that point in time. So granted.
Now, this does not require the PhD’s of our prodigal economists in the cabinet starting from the Prime Minister to Finance minister and home minister, and the ever ready opposition , or even our President.
Now, if you talk about how the subsidies are hampering the state of affairs of our country, and how depreciation of currency has affected the stocks and trading – I say – Cut the crap! Feed the people.
Every time there is a price rice in essential commodities, and we stop at one status on Facebook and get used to the revised prices, we are burdening more than half of the country under the weight of our ignorance and arrogance, we are becoming part of the evil that haunts rest of the country. I don’t understand why people blame it on democracy and stop at it. If you think it doesn’t work, get out and change it.
Urban India likes Anna Hazare because Lokpal seemed reachable, then, all you had to do was give a missed call.
After first time people don’t want to get onto the protests. Strikes, as taught by MK Gandhi are not mere stalls of your routine so that you can enjoy a holiday stuck at home, or stuffed in a mall – it is the powerful tool of non-cooperation. The government when does not cooperate and is focused to making the lives of its people worse by the day, with every policy, all we can show in return is some non-cooperation and not servility!
Strikes, are not effective because you did not make it effective. You need to feel the pinch and send out your anguish loud and clear – cribbing about one day’s strike, or looking forward to more of it so that you can miss your work simply makes you a traitor, not against the government, but against the state – an embodiment of people, and not of pages of laws!