Wednesday, November 12, 2008

on strike for... something

Well, I was apparently on strike today. Just as my calculus class was preparing to take another shot at LRAM, the office assistant opened the door and told everyone to gather in the auditorium, where we learned that the school was going to close its doors because of the Bandh (strike) called by the BJP. It should be noted that our doors are usually closed during classes this time of year, but this is mostly because of the chilly Himalayan air. Today their closure was symbolic, an act of independence, defiance, solidarity and resolution against the man. Or something.

The BJP is a political party, and a pretty strong one (at least in this area of the country) from what I can tell. So apparently the governing forces themselves call for institutions everywhere, school buildings full of teachers teaching and students studying, to cease business and take a day to appreciate the inanity that is Indian government. Of course, most of the government school teachers probably weren't going to come today anyway...

Our school actually had no reason to strike, and from what I can tell, the strike itself had nothing to do with education. Our school closed as a safety precaution because a strike is invariably accompanied by roving hordes of discontents, and it is not impossible that trouble could occur and our students could be at risk. I wonder if closing the school to protect the students was, in effect, working in the best interest of our students on this the day of the strike, and therefore perhaps we actually were working and struck the strike. Irregardless, nobody connected with the BJP was likely to notice our loss of productivity, so I'm not even sure it was productive. Or unproductive, or whatever it was supposed to be. (Being blindly submissive and following unknown procedures for a strike that one does not comprehend but has an obligation to join is a task not without its perplexities, and it does not seem to testify of that raging spirit of revolution that one would hope to see within the strikers.) I suppose that our school was closed down for the unlikely event that a government inspector should come around to check that we were upholding our part of keeping the children from learning. Because boy would it be terrible for the elections if the literacy rate slipped above sixty-one percent.

Now I am surely missing some of the information, but the fact remains that I and my students lost a day's progress for this unknown cause. Anyway, my confidence in the democratic process makes me certain that my sacrifice was not in vain, and I trust that the honest politicians, those bastions of integrity, were able to calmly discuss their differences (over whatever topic might be at the root of this heroic defiance) and come to a compromise. And to think that the negotiations were all made possible by shutting down schools across the region.

1 comment: