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East-west banda



It's easier these days to forecast the weather than to try to forecast when and where the East-West highway will be blocked. It all depends on the mood of those living by the highway. Jobless youth may suddenly get tired of their carrom games and want some action. Herders may get sick of herding buffalos. It's still not time yet for rice planting, and schools are closed, so everyone has time. Time to get a few logs, some boulders, cement blocks, and block the road. Add a burning tyre, and there you have: an instant banda. Who cares what they are protesting about?

Your columnist nearly had to camp out on the highway. East of Chandranighapur they were burning a madhesi minister in effigy, but we managed to pass that because the protester hadn't yet decided how serious their banda should be. A really serious banda was in progress further down the road near the Kamala river. Boulders were piled on the road and there was a queue of buses and trucks on both sides. The agitators were agitated and were carrying long rods. The reason was that the local transformer had been taken for repairs ten days ago and hadn't been returned. Villagers had to do without electricity. They had blocked the road to protest the NEA's delay.

We will soon be seeing more of this: road blocked because the telephones are out. Road blocked because of a fertiliser shortage. No sugar, so block the road. Schools closed, so close the highway. Students didn't pass their exams, block the road. Buffalo lost, close the highway. Wife eloped with another man, block the road.

We are lucky to have the East-West Highway, otherwise how would the people of the madhes express their legitimate and illegitimate demands?

Related Article: Ban bandas



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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