Drawing inspiration from the success of recent bandhs in Karnataka, another bandh is being organised today by the political parties of the state and by extension its people to oppose the Cauvery River Authority’s (CRA) directive to the state to release water to Tamil Nadu.
The bandh was originally planned for Friday but organizers concluded that Arvind Kejriwal’s expose of Sonia Gandhi’s Son-in-law, Robert Vadhra would evoke a massive media cover-up and a series of political and corporate denials that might rob them of the media attention.
People flocked the streets of Bangalore from early in the morning skipping their baths in order to save water. Tyres were burned for reasons not yet disclosed and shops were shut down.
One of the organizers informed us of the importance of the bandh and shared the plan for the day, “We have requested all cable operators to not air any entertainment channel. Only news channel will be aired for the day marking the bandh”.
Our reporters confirmed that while TimesNow was reported to be not available in many parts of the state along with Sony and Star Channels, our own news channel was up and running across the entire State. TimesNow was not available for comment. However, many people seemed unaffected by this move as they often relied on news channels like India TV, AajTak and NDTV for quality entertainment. This news report was itself written while listening to a food show on NDTV and watching movie trailers on Headlines Today.
We talked to the Bangalore Water Transportation Committee, a group of people responsible for providing water tankers to the people of Bangalore, who are part of the agitation and are holding a procession with a cavalcade of water tankers showcasing the importance of water. On being confronted with the question that why all their tankers leaked profuse amount of water carelessly everyday if there was already such a shortage, they answered in a philosophical manner.
“The water tanker is a symbol, so is the act of its leakage. Symbols are given power by the state. Alone the leakage is meaningless. But with the release of water to a neighbouring state, it stands for the way water is being wasted away ”. Perplexed the reporter moved on to another bandh-karta.
He laughed and dismissed any relation of the remark to ‘V for Vendettta’ and explained that the tankers are meant to provide water to the people out in protest. Though many protesters complained that no water was available to them as all of it was lost due to leakage from the tankers during the movement.
Seeing signs of regionalism the Thackrey’s extended their support to the bandh and claimed that it was the Bihari immigrants with Pakistani connections that were drinking up all the water and even sending some of it back to their homes leading to the acute shortage. However, their support was quickly discarded as the Organizers promptly issued statements clarifying that the Tamil-speaking people are not being targeted and the people of Karnataka are far more compassionate than the Thackrey clan.
We talked to random Bangloreans and tried to get their valuable comments on the day’s events.
“This is strongly affecting the general public”, said one 23 year old teenager standing disappointed outside a closed Mall. On being asked to ‘elaborate’, we were first asked for the meaning of the word after which he carefully proceeded to demonstrate to us the critical relationship between mall culture, economic progress, FDI, rural development and food security in the country.
We asked another girl, whom the cameraman picked going by her skirt, if she was impacted by the bandh. She asked if she looked alright for the camera before she answered in the positive. She explained why bandhs need to be restricted to weekdays to allow people a chance to not work from home, at which she giggled. On being asked about the water shortage, she hesitated and stated that she took a bath everyday and there was no water shortage in the city. She pointed at the water tanker passing us by and said, “In fact there is so much water that we have to carry them in trucks. The pipelines are not good enough”.
As transportation loss continues to mount while IT employees do their part by not taking a bath for weeks, it remains to be seen what becomes of the water crisis in the state.