Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tamilnadu Bandh - living through an oxymoron

I am in Chennai for work. I have to conduct training for new members of the organization and also conduct interviews for five new candidates. Part of routine - you would think. But then today is a government-sponsored bandh here. So no autorickshaws or buses on the road, shops closed. Thankfully the training program is proceeding on course because they have been at this venue for the past three days. But as for the interview, only two out of 5 candidates have braved the bandh and reached here. Who is responsible for the other three, who have probably lost out a chance to secure a job? Will the government take this responsibility? I don't know about the family background of these three gentlemen. How many of them have old parents dependent on their sons to support them in their old age? Do they have children aspiring of getting admission in decent schools? Do they have young wives with dreams of building a happy family? And what about the dreams and ambitions of these young men themselves?
I have no clue what views these three people have about Sri Lankan Tamils, but I am sure they are keen to get a job and bring a smile on the face of their families.
I always thought that governments are meant to run things, not stop things. So a 'government -sponsored bandh' is a classic oxymoron.
I am witness to just a small human drama here involving the future of three families. Guess what a one day's bandh is doing to millions of families all over the state. Further, I cannot understand the fundamental purpose. How is a one day bandh going to have any effect at all on Sri Lankan government? They have had enough trouble for decades and seem to be now determined to go ahead and do whatever they have to for solving this issue. Bandh or no bandh, I wonder if they are even paying attention to what is happening across the strait of Munnar!
I now have the challenge of reaching the airport. My colleague here is aghast because the cab operator just informed her that no cars can be made available till 6 pm. Thankfully the hotel has agreed to arrange for my transport and it looks like I will eventually make it to the airport. After that, I should be able to reach home, unless the pilot is also a supporter of the Lankan Tamil cause and decides to fly to Jaffna! Going by the 'government-sponsored bandh, what shall we call it then - an airline-sponsored hijack?

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