It is mid-afternoon and the work is progressing smoothly in Bengaluru at the start of a new week which brings fresh challenges.
Then the news comes of the Supreme Court judgement and the activists take over. Many are genuinely concerned about the effect of releasing water from the already low levels available in the Cauvery basin to Tamil Nadu which could cause a water crisis in days to come and also adversely affect the existing crops in Southern Karnataka. Many others join the fray as they seek issues to score political, social, even materialistic goals which such emotive issues can provide. Within a couple of hours these two groups merge together and form a mob which takes over the city of Bengaluru.
Add to that, media both social as well as visual creates images of people being abused on either sides of the two states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, famous for the intelligent, educated and some of the smartest people India possesses. Fuel is being continuously added to the fire and the mob turns violent.
Within hours the mob is able to instil fear in the minds of the law abiding read fearful residents of Bengaluru and nearby areas as they rush back from their work places, close their shops and business establishments, pick up their distraught children from schools which convey their inability to provide safe transportation home while praying to their chosen Gods to see that everyone reaches home safe.
Instantly flags come out and are parched high on the buildings and establishments to show solidarity to the cause, more to avoid being hit by stones from miscreants.
Politicians worth their salt, raise shrill voices on either sides speaking about how they will fight for the rights of their respective people and accusing each other of not doing enough to protect natives living on either sides speaking different languages.
Indians asking Indians to protect Indians from Indians!
The administration abjectly surrenders to the mob. The state expresses its weakness to control a few in the crowd who are causing violence while the majority is distraught with the events of the day. Sadly political fruits seem to be more important than governance.
A law section is imposed on the entire city while certain parts are brought under curfew. Central reserve forces are called for and the entire city is brought to a standstill.
This is the story of Bengaluru decades back or even perhaps a century back as the dispute runs deep.
NO. This is the story of Bengaluru of today! This very day!
I watch with sadness from the four walls of a room in this city as the madness has taken over this city. Like many other residents I am pained to see how a few could thrive on the impotence of an administration and a culture that thrives on ‘Bandhs’ and protests. A ‘Bandh’ as a sign of protest, a relic of the pre-independence India is still in practice used in the modern India. We are being hell bent on retarding our own growth by such ridiculous protesting way.
The losses run in billions. The daily wagers and their families may go hungry. Unnecessary shortages of commodities may be created. Life is at a standstill for lakhs and lakhs of people craving for work.
Above all fear rules the minds of the people especially the ones speaking the language of the state in dispute.
Like most others, I too should care for my safety and be silent.
NO. This is the time to speak out. The common resident of this city must speak for sanity.
Would these protests resolve the issue? Would abuse of residents, burning of vehicles, shutting down of businesses and establishments and stone throwing on Policemen make the state speak for its cause? Should we allow a small section to take over the city and bring a vibrant city down to its knees?
Everyone knows and understands that this is a century old issue and can only be resolved through mutual dialogue. The highest court of the country has ruled over and if the judgement is creating problems in a year of scarce monsoon then the two states should understand each other’s problems as only brothers can and talk it over. And for people’s sake, the governments should sit down with the central government rather than write letters meant clearly for the public consumption on either side.
As for ordinary people like you and I, we should remain positive and strong. Let us not get bullied any more by a bunch of hooligans and stand up to them. We want our normal lives back and will approve of any silent protests by wearing a black band to work or by taking part in demonstrations and rallies at appropriate times in a dignified manner, perhaps on a weekend. However we will return to work immediately peacefully and will show our love for this city by working with twice the energy while also supporting our farmers by being twice as much productive. We will never bow down to the unruly.
A large part of the problem is man-made and we must work to preserve and rebuilt lakes and water bodies and start focusing on water conservation. We must ensure that our industries are less polluting and focus on recycling water. We must plant more trees, build green buildings and enable a sustainable growth while optimising on limited resources.
Bengaluru we want you back up and running and we will. We want peace, civility, work restoration and nonviolence. Immediately! Let us make it happen. Today!
Posted in Times of India on 13th September 2016. Link below-