mid day editorial: Time to find an effective way to protest

By mid day online desk | Mumbai

Several establishments remained shuttered as there were sporadic cases of violence and threats to the city

It was wary and worry for Mumbai as the opposition and a cluster of other parties called for a Bharat Bandh yesterday. Several establishments remained shuttered as there were sporadic cases of violence and threats to the city. Nationwide we did see disruption of normal life. In Mumbai, the bandh was fairly tepid compared to the bandhs of earlier, where we have seen large scale damage to public property and unfortunately, loss of life, too.

It is time we re-looked at the concept of bandhs, strikes or any kind of agitation. Those that are adamant about launching these must now focus on getting their point across, making their voices heard without disrupting normal life.

Several political parties still believe they need to make a statement by shattering glass fronts, blocking rail tracks, smashing window panes and setting tyres on fire. They believe that shock and fear are reasons to tom-tom a triumph.

Every agitation must now be held in a space, which may be prominent enough but causes no hardship to ordinary citizen. Placards and banners can be used effectively to make one's point. In fact, when coupled with creativity and trenchant wit, these posters are far more evocative than other forms of protest.

Social media, too, is a powerful tool to put forth an opinion or argument. Bandhs are now counter-effective as they take away from sympathy for the protesters and in that way, identification with the cause. Right thinking people tend to distance themselves from the violence unleashed by agitators.

We are at crossroads now, which calls for a new way of making an impact. Use the one which spares people and public property. In fact, you can take the people along if you are wise and measured in resisting or taking on the government. The new bandh should be bandh to scare-mongering and damaging what has been paid for by tax payers' money.

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