To Take : It was heartening to see many Jammuites debating the efficacy of the nature of the protests and worry about it becoming a pattern. There has been a lot of discussion on social media about the Bandh and its impact on small businesses, daily wage earners and students. The inconvenience caused to the Yatris is not only bad if we see ourselves as a hub for religious tourism but it is also a blot on our Culture as gracious hosts. Bandhs during the yatra season and all that played out on the streets of Jammu throws for a toss our culture of Athithi Devo bhav. The wine shops flouting the Section 144 and doing decent business in the midst of a shut down is shameful as are the plans to holiday by a certain section of the Society who can afford to take the shut down as an extended holiday.
The one image doing the rounds of the social media which left a bitter after taste was of a protestor attacking a roadside shop Noorani Muslim Restaurant. It is to Jammu’s credit that it was widely condemned. Many rushed to call it an aberration and the handiwork of anti social elements which get a chance to do their bit when protests spill out on the roads.
The quality of education and the students we produce is detrimental to our future. It does not bode well for the future if we have youth who welcome these Bandhs because it brings with it, postponements of exams and cancellation of classes. We cannot jeopardize the process of learning and promote a culture which has a negative effect on the development of our youth. An appeal issued by the Jammu University asking examinations to be kept out of the perview of Bandh calls reflects the same concern. These are some of the reasons which has people fretting over the methods employed to demand our rights.
It has been good to see ACC being responsive to some concerns raised but it is more a victory of the people who have voiced their issues and sought a redressal for them.
Many supporting ACC also have stated their worry about these frequent Bandhs and the way the City is paralysed leading to economic losses which our State cannot afford. The suffering of the general public during Bandhs cannot be dismissed. The hope is that we will move towards a healthy debate on the drawbacks of promoting a culture of bandhs and brainstorm on alternative ways to protest and dissent, and on how ‘to take’ what should be rightfully ours.