Here’s an unexpected obstacle to my research : bandh. Not one, not two, but four entire days so far have been given over to this menacing sort of a strike when I can’t go into the city because it might be dangerous… plus, the buses aren’t running.
The past two weeks have been a jumble of student riots, suicides, fasting ultimata, and complications. Andhra Pradesh, it turns out, includes the territories of the Telangana; Hyderabad is within this region. The Telangana have wanted their own state for a long time (agitation in 1969 left 380 students dead), but these past two weeks have dumped the issue squarely in the present as KCR, a major political leader of the movement, declared a fast until his death or until his state is created or until Congress passes a resolution to create his state. He quit his fast a day or two later in response to a suicide, then started fasting again in response to his supporters. Hyderabad has been shutting down for 24 or 48 hour stretches during which arsons and student-police clashes mount up to fill the next morning’s papers, when business as usual starts up and trundles along for a few days. And it all has a very far away feel, like something happening on the other side of the country instead of the other side of my bus station, except when I answer a phone call in the evening and hear, “Where are you? Home? Good. Stay there tomorrow, too.”
Here’s the real problem I have with the bandhs : the people who really need a day’s worth of money aren’t making money that day. Schools are closed, and no one is going to make up the time to the students. For once, I’m in agreement with what the people around me are saying about current events.