The season of change –
Bangalore : July 31,2016
The seasons change. Overnight, the mercury plummets. The rajais , comforters and woollies come out. Seems so typical of nature-to be taking one by complete surprise each time- just two months ago: a hot, arid and unbearable summer, suddenly overtaken by welcome but incessant rain, and then the cold winter months.
If the vagaries of nature weren’t enough , the vagaries of human behaviour also envelop me with complete surprise. A season of bandhs descends on Bangalore – almost a dark, cloudy, menace like season – starting with the BMTC bandh ( a complete stoppage of Bangalore municipal transport buses) , and then moving on to Karnataka Bandh ( a protest against the water tribunal award of river water). And so a whole week goes by, nothing gained, nothing achieved , but much lost. Kids languishing at home, for all schools have stopped. Commuters held to ransom for going to work. Daily wage workers tightening their belts for losing their livelihood . And it doesn’t stop there. So much more lost, by way of morale, productivity, and common sense.
What sense does it make though- to stop work completely because someone is not happy with
- What they get paid
- How much water they get from the river water sharing agreement
What stops them from walking out of the situation a? Walk out of the job if unhappy- isn’t that ideal? The Bangalore transport staff are not bonded or wedded to their jobs. Why hold a city to ransom? Cushy government jobs are a privilege for some, not a right. Certainly, me thinks, no one has the right to use that as a lever for making the life of public citizens miserable, do they?
All this raving and ranting will still get us nowhere. Perhaps, a Maggie Thatcher approach, if not Maggie Thatcher herself, would do the trick. Privatise completely. The buses, the roads, the water, the electricity. Privatise and regulate. So that things actually work , albeit within boundaries. The telecoms being the best example. If we hadn’t privatised them years ago, we would still have been at the mercy of the monopolistic BSNLs and MTNLs, waiting years together for a telephone connection at home, and having to pay an underhand amount for the technician to actually come and fix the last mile, when ones turn finally came.
Perhaps that is what is needed . The iron lady approach. Or an iron man one. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Things need to work- that’s all, for India to continue working. Or the seasons may completely take over life and push us back to the dark ages- stuck for want of basic stuff like water, electricity and buses. Fellow citizens and BMTC staff- Isn’t it time for the seasons to change now, change towards progress- for India to move on?