THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Bandh. It’s a term that is very common to the Nepalese and a practice that has stood out as the ultimate weapon in making the government pay the price for failing to satisfy the demands that the bandhkartas (those who have staged the practice on the roads) have presented. These bandhs have won the hearts of the political leaders who frequently order their party disciples to get into action. The situation that follows is hence very promising for them. It delivers them a package to make the concerned authorities hear out what they have to say and thereby forces the country rulers to organize a meeting. Little do the bandhkartas know about the purpose of the meeting. Little do they know that the discussions will be filled only about ostracizing these stupid brainless people from the roads and finding 100 reasons to deny the demands getting a fixed shape such that the Nepali filmmakers can make out a lucrative film to match the success of those of Hollywood. As for the fellas uninvolved in the demand transaction, well, there is nothing but to hope the two parties come into an agreement. For the denizens, it is always a case of condemning each group’s banal actions. After all, these bandhs do nothing but to prolong the impasse.

The highway looked deserted yesterday in Buddha Chowk,Pokhara after a bandh was called to disrupt election preparations.

With the Constituent Assembly election just around the corner, the Baidhya faction maoists together with other 33 small parties organized a nationwide bandh to urge the government in cancelling the election. On top of that, they were very happy, I believe, to deprive the citizens of their adult franchise rights by announcing 10 days bandh as if doing so would mean no harm to the common people. Hardly do they place themselves in our position and imagine the oblivion that brings in if the possibility of promulgating a constitution reduces to nil. Gladly, unlike so in the past, the bandhkartas limited their vehement demonstration to just ban the vehicles in travelling on the road. Do these bandhkartas believe that depriving the general people of their basic rights such as travel and resuming their business would win them votes for the next election? If so, then hats off to them for already deciding on the next date and raising hopes to end the impasse. But seriously, we doubt the direction that you want us to believe we are going. 

I have a question to ask these insane bandhkartas: now that you succeeded in imposing a bandh, were your demands met? I am asking this because the media has not reported the delay in the election date or its anticipated cancellation. Or have you guys adopted the decade old policy of corrupting news media to bring the news to your favor? If you are adamant in your decision to organize the bandh, then what noteworthy results did you achieve to brag about to the public? Are you happy to throw away the NRs 100 billion that was possible with the daily transactions? Wasn’t this on your agenda to further develop the country? It seems fine to admit that your bandh has developed our country and it is just a few inches away from overtaking the elite countries. Once again, congratulations for the bandh.
These questions are not rhetorical. I seek immediate answers from the bandhbkartas. Also, I am not entirely blaming on these people. These questions are directed to people who had notoriously organized such bandhas in the past as well. It is logical for the present situation to follow what had been a near successful bandh in the past. Time and again have we seen the strike taking a bizarre shape and even leading to fatal situations. The burning of tires, felling of trees to block the highway and massive vandalism of public property have occurred as an aftermath of increasing crude oil prices, protest to the actions undertaken by the opposition parties and when an accident on the highway costs someone else’s life. In case of highway accident, people call upon the strike to demand compensation from the government. It is all right to ask for that but why give a burden to the passengers for their own purposes. Can they not negotiate with the government officials in the nearest office? Overall, these naive actions have cost millions of money. Such acts would only lure the country into crisis.

Only a few vehicles are seen on the road thanks to the efforts from Nepal Police
Despite threatening to punish those bandh offenders, there are some people and institutions who stand up for the good of others and thereby serve as a striking example to those who think defying such acts with an audacious attempts can be pivotal to establishing peace. Such was my Alma mater’s attempt to defy bandhas that the school continued to taking classes amidst the horror engulfing the capital. Seldom did we celebrate the bandh to our benefits. The authorities challenged the bandhkartas by asking this rational question Would you be so determined to organize a bandh every now and then that it would hamper YOUR child’s right to education? And if that is the case, why are they so desperate to condemn the teaching style of the teachers whom these bandhkartas are blaming for the poor performances of their children? Do they not realize that their own actions have led to the downfall in the quality of education sector?
Every actions that these protesters take directly affects every sectors of development. Can they not put themselves in the place of meager people who have only a meal to afford from the daily wage that they get in transporting goods to another place? Don’t they know that these bandhs serve as a hindrance to fulfill the dreams that the victims are carving. If they don’t, I suggest them to take a look at the national newspapers which delineate the difficult circumstances the victims are going through. 
Instead of spending their energy on the useless strikes, they can direct it to develop the nukes and corners of the country. We all need support to take the development process into shape. Last piece of advice: Spare the thought of organizing bandhs.
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