Known fondly as God’s Own County, due to it’s very green and lowe(st)r polluted air quality, Kerala has a curse now.
A politically active and home to a unique brand of communism which is elected to government every alternate election, the state is different in many respects.
One of the uniqueness is the ‘bandh’ called by political entities to protest. This is by way of a forced shutdown of the state. Clearly a violation of personal liberty, the courts stepped in and banned it.
Here’s where the ingenuity of a Malayalee (people of Kerala is called based on the language spoken-Malayalam) is seen. Instead of bandh inflicting personal liberty, it’s now called ‘hartal’ or protest, a fundamental right…
The best I read on hartal was about a world health organisation official’s report after a visit to the state. He wrote ‘European union and other developed countries should take a leaf out of Kerala where people voluntarily keep their vehicles off the roads every now and then’. This kind of awareness and public involvement in pollution control is something to be emulated’.
He saw a few hartals……
jokes apart, it’s now a menace. We just had the first hartal on a Sunday, affecting weddings, family visits (mine included) etc.
Malayalees were accused of probably enjoying hartal, considering it as an arranged holiday. As for business and trade, the Malayalee psyche accommodates a business loss, as long as the neighbor is also not able to do business.
I hope the Sunday hartal without notice will get the silent majority to wake up and teach the proponents a lesson at election time.
Perhaps the only cure for this menace……