National Bandh & Delhi’s Selfishenss


Some political parties called for a bandh (shut down) today in India.  I thought I would be able to have a relatively more free ride on the roads of Delhi due to the bandh.  Of course, I know that bandhs don’t affect Delhi whatever political party may call for it. Even the ruling party cannot carry out a bandh successfully in Delhi.  This is one of the main reasons why I love Delhi.  Delhi does not belong to anyone, to any political party, to any religious community, to any linguistic group, to any chauvinist.  That is Delhi’s greatness, according to me.

Delhi is selfish.  Delhiites mind their own business.  There are exceptions, no doubt.  There are rapes and thefts happening in Delhi occasionally.  Given the population of Delhi and given the incessant migration to Delhi from all over the country (and even from Pakistan and Bangladesh and elsewhere), the crime rate is not beyond comprehension.

Ayn Rand is a philosopher-writer who called selfishness a virtue.  I have always agreed with her on this score.  Selfishness is indeed a virtue.  If every individual on this planet minded his/her own business and lived life according to his/her own (genuine) individual vision, there would have been no crime, and no need for any bandh.  Has Delhi arrived at that kind of selfishness?  No, not at all.  Delhi’s selfishness is still about how to win by defeating others.

It is selfishness, nevertheless.  And that selfishness defeated the national bandh called by quite a few important political parties in the country against the rise in the price of petrol.  The traffic in Delhi was not a bit less today than any other day, bandh or no bandh. Nothing really changed in Delhi because of the bandh except in a small area where a few leaders like Prakash Karat were taken away by the police.

Nothing will really change in Delhi whichever party comes to power and whichever party opposes that power.  Because Delhiites have learnt the virtue of selfishness to some extent at least.

Why did they call for a national bandh today?  Petrol price.  I was stuck in the traffic today with my scooter for as long as I used to be on any ordinary day in Delhi.  The petrol price has not affected any Delhiite, it seems.  That’s the greatness of selfishness.

It’s better to be selfish than be stupid. It’s better to be selfish than be political (the Left parties), religious (the Right parties), or pretentious (the centre parties).

Jai Hind.

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4 Responses to National Bandh & Delhi’s Selfishenss

  1. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    I wish you had posted this last evening! During the day I had to go for a meeting with a client and fearing the effect of the bandh I called for a car from the company pool rather than take an auto (my usual mode of travel).

    You are responsible for my carbon account today :)))


    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, I remember taking my students for the Board exam on a day when the BJP called a bandh and the party was in power at that time. The bandh was an utter flop in Delhi. That’s when I started noticing this peculiarity in Delhi. Be sure you can keep your carbon account low the next time…

  2. On the Bandh day, yesterday, I crossed the entire city – from Dwarka to Ghaziabad and then back and to my surprise, I found more cops than the people. I guess the police should be forwarded this post 😛

    • matheikal says:

      Yeah, Sid, that’s what Delhi really is. In my home state, Kerala, people would dread to come out of their houses on a bandh day. I love this contrast in Delhi.

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