Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hartal - a Kerala misnomer

this is a continous debate on Hartals in Kerala

Hi all,
Issues are numerous in Kerala... I had a new enlightenment after listening to Prasant's experiences in Kerala. I think its worth a thought by all of us..
Here in Kochin we say tht its a metro city or a cosmopoliton city, think about the transportation system..... First, all the bus boards are in malayalam only...How can a person frm outside kerala travel by our buses without anyone's help??? (this might be our method of compulsory teaching of malayalam...!??)
Second, there is no share auto system in the city, which makes the travel expensive...
Third, food prices....dont talk abt it...its very expensive and we know the reasons..
Garbage disposal..... dont ask..... salim kumar's famous dialogue (Kochi ethee.. Kochi ethee...) is not at all an exaggeration!!!
street lights... dont ask...
And the crown of it is bus strikes and hartals (® by kerala state)...
How is Cochin going to be the investment destination???
God save God's own country.

I think we never have a dearth of issues here in cochi.....
All the best to 'Reinventing Cochin Team'.....


I have never understood who the beneficiaries of a Haratal are. Even those who give the call for it get only some media coverage. Nonetheless, number of Hartals increases every year and I am sure CPPR also can successfully declare a Hartal against any X or Y issue!!!
I also don't understand why Keralites happily accept a Hartal with out any resistance. In all the other states I have lived in, Hartal/Bandh days are just same as any other day. All the shops and offices remain open, vehicles move as usual and life is just normal. What makes Kerala different? That's a strange question we need to find the answer.
I think its high time we launched a campaign against it. We can start with a blog for people to voice their opinions. We should also think about forming a Citizens' Forum against Hartal with representatives from all sections of the society. Few public meetings against Hartal will be a mega hit than the pedestrian audit.
Elizabeth, I am in full support of issues you have raised… May god save Kochi from its traffic jam and Kerala from its attitude towards women…
i agree 2 all d views put up so far..but as jithin raised it,the whole concept of 'harthal' is a 'continuous success' just coz keralites luv fact,v ppl celebrate harthals..nw abt traffic reflects ineffective implementation..ideas r many but execution too poor.police brings up new signal systems here n there very often.but all tat they do is worsen the ' vicious circle' called traffic jam... another thing i just cannot comprehend is the attitude of keralites 2wards women..i dnt understand why ppl look at women as if they r seein such a 'species' 4 the 1st time..a girl cnt simply walk fearlessly after 7.30.are these keralites the most literate n civilized citizens of india??? moreover,there r no proper streetlights in the city..if at all there are,they remain switched on till 10 in the mrng or beyond that.electricty board is so much worried of the severe drop in they dnt seem 2 knw how much electricity they waste due 2 their own negligence.i doubt whether they believe streetlights run on solar cells..anyway dhanu,the reinventingcochin team is wit u 2 tak up the issue..our nxt effort can b in this direction
it is a hard fact during t bus strikes, it is only t common plple who are made to suffer.....for plple who thnk that t bus owners wld lose their money on t day of the strike, it is wron.they r t frst ones to fully utilize this unique opprtunity created by themselves........ they roll out their vehicles mainly jeeps and vans and cash their pckets with t minmum charge is 5 rs that days....plple r forced to pay it fr they thnk it is only fr 1 days... or max 2 days....... here also plple who leave on a penny suffer.......... thgh strict rules hve been laid down to curtail such a situation, the bus owners have their hand on cash..........
it is however noteworthy that t police are utilizing their buses fr providing transport on these special forced festival holidays.........Madhu

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Dhanu, please add me too. I am with you...



I am sure there will be none among common people who doesn't share the same emotion towards hartals as we do.

I agree with Jithin on the point that if the buses decide to run any hartal can be defeated effectively. But if its so simple why isnt anyone doing it is the question. I am sure the bus and auto drivers would not mind some extra cash in their pockets on any given day. It is then only because of the pressure from the political parties that they are not coming out. I do not think we can call it laziness.

I would be interested if this discussion can lead to an initiative which can actually have some impact to put an end to this hartal series.


Hi, I feel that , the real issue is not about ideologies or political affiliations .Well, it seems that everyone is aware that hartals doesn't serve any purpose for anyone . Its just that people in this part of the world are LAZY and are in constant search for a holiday which some people utilize . I remember once discussing with Dhanu , that if the bus owners who make their early morning trips to Cochin city , decide to go on the roads , any hartal can be defeated. But sadly anything of that sort , has ever happened. Next time we plan any event in Kerala , please refer this website :, they can update on the upcoming HOLIDAYS.
Vinu's "happy hartal" brings to mind a funny incident that happened while I was in Kerala. I met some family friends who had a little daughter..she was around 3 years old. She so disliked going to school. She always had a number of excuses to say that her school was closed...One day she told her Mom that her teacher had told her that school would be closed. On asking her what the reason was, she said Hartal!" Well, her Mom found out it was a lie when she called her school to confirm the kid's story...

I was so surprised that a little girl, hardly 3 years old was familiar with the word "hartal" and that is probably because school often had to be shut down due to frequent hartals...

Such a plight!


Dear Dhanu and all ,
I am happy to report some aspects i have seen here. The main incident was on the eve of Bharath Bandh, for the first time in my life was in class. Nothing happened here. All were working here. The production activities and the major domains of life were lively as I looked surprisingly.The political culture of the people in Kerala is very peculiar and the thought for me is that for the last fifty years many ideologies got contaminated and the problem of misunderstanding raised this situation. The in born nature to revolt and to strike is regarded as mallu feature here. So i think the political awarness and the interest aggregation won't look good outside , if you are a malayali. But the essence of the problem addressing looks pretty good.
So why can't we start a public campaign along with an intention to get noticed?
I don't know how much valid are these points and question. I am giving my opinion.
Abin Thomas

Today, it was the 82nd or 83rd (i am not sure....who cares?) "hartal"...this year!

Please don't feel frustrated. Every day morning I feel the same frustration. I agree, there are no visionary thinkers in the ruling or in the opposition party. There is no vision at all. The leadership itself is in disputes. They spend time quarreling on petty "ideological" issues. No physical development is taking place. Basic infrastructure is a pitiable state. There are no roads, only potholes, scheduled power cuts are regular and then there are unscheduled power cuts. I dont want to talk about Education, Sanitation,....I too get frustrated.....

Wish you a Happy Hartal!....what else can i say?

'ny I was able to touch a speed of 90kmph on Banerjee Road! (Could have crossed 100km, but for the occasional roads among the potholes...) The last time i did that was.....well, last Hartal day, of course!


I am getting frustrated with the lawlessness in God’s own country. It has been deteriorating by every passing day. Frequent strikes, agitations, attack on public properties so to say a few known events. The political leadership does not seem to carry any vision and political will to lead from the front. Kochi, the commercial hub of Kerala is crawling with traffic jams. No one seems to be interested to take the lead role either as a facilitator or as an active campaigner to solve the issues around – a larger impression across the state. But I do believe that if Kerala continues to be in the same mode and mood for some more time, it akin to the fall the of any welfare state in the history. Money flow from other parts of the world would be limited if the emigrants do not seek permanent settlement where they have been to, opportunities in the state are limited as there is no conducive environment to start with any economic activity, freedom for political expression is so volatile in the state, Private property and profit are the most demeaning words in the eyes of the custodian of the so called agrarians so to say are some of the threats to the life and joy on one of the most beautiful lands on the earth.

What do you think?, what should be the role of CPPR in this context? I hope this will start a debate in the coming days

D. Dhanuraj

Centre for Public Policy Research
39/717 (A), Rahul Vihar
Karakattu Road, Cochin, India - 682 016


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