Mumbai has seen flurry of citizen initiatives. Car Free Bandra managed to see participation of a large chunk of Bandra residents, coverage from press and 15 minutes of fame for people who thought about it.
The other one currently in vogue is Batti Bandh, Mumbai Unplug. The idea is simple. Global warming is affecting the way we live. We will all shut off all electric devices for one hour on December 15.
First time I read this, I had two thoughts.
1. Are electric devices causing global warming in the first place?
2. If unplugged electric devices are being used to spread a message, isn't there a better way than a bandh?
For the record I am absolutely against any kind of Bandh. Be it YFE or any other youth forum against reservations, Doctors against mandatory year of rural service or even shutting down electric appliances to raise awareness about global warming.
A Bandh by its very definition is against the basis premise on which the world has eveolved. The premise of growth, development and a continuous state of flux. A Bandh tries to stop the movement from one stage to another. And this is very reason Bandhs are mostly inaffective and end up as damp squibs.
A Bandh thus might have a few positive effects but the list of negatives is endless. No one can be held responsible for patients who died because doctors were on a strike or for students who couldnt sit for their annual exams because there was a rally being organized on the roads. Some people say we need to lead by example. Do we want to set example by shutting down work? By dis-obedience?
Agreed civil disobedience played a key role in our struggle for freedom but it was a different. We were not preached to stop working and go on a Bandh. Instead we adviced to work. We decided to march till Dandi and make our own salt.
Coming back to Batti Bandh, I am wondering people supporting Batti Bandh actually know the REAL reason behind Global Warming, Kyoto Protocol or carbon credits?
To end, I think Global Warming is a real issue and its about time we did something about it. I am not questioning the intent of people behind (and supporting) Batti Bandh, I am instead raising finger at the way they are going about it.
In my opinion a better way could have been to create activities that made people come out of houses (and eventually turn off lights). Something productive would have came out of it and awareness would have been much better.