Random thoughts on a Harthal

Jobless or ‘jobbed’, I love Harthals! <3

The Harthal, as you know, is a mass-impasse imposed upon the populace by a group/political-party (or even a random Kanjirappalli Kariyachan) to protest/support/enjoy/rejoice/burst-crackers-for/dance-away-to-celebrate/booze-up-to-commemorate [citation needed]  an issue. The issue could be something as puny as the new government rule that would pull the plug on crores of ‘extra-earnings’ accrued by ‘important people’, or even something drop-dead serious, like the death of a friendly-neighbourhood-mongrel, for instance. The size and proportion of a harthal is as variable as the harthal itself – it could cover a rather huge geographical area like the Oolampaara Metro, renowned for the global H.Q. of Intellectual Stimulation Center™ (ISC), or even a comparatively-tiny place like the sleepy-town of Kochi.

I simply can’t comprehend why people strongly protest Harthals – aren’t you people too happy about a free holiday? Years back, when I was at school, Harthal meant celebration – sitting idyllically at home was fun; especially so if the harthal did postpone an exam or two. The Harthal was, is, and shall always be a God-given boon: an ill-prepared exam postponed was joy forever! As I moved to college, things weren’t much different. But I’d have to say that my batch wasn’t very lucky, most of our exams happened on the dot; but we did have our share of ‘Harthal joys’ during our first and second year. Along with internal-strikes, Harthals stood for fun and frolic!

Alright, that’s me. I know most of you are still pissed about having lost precious working hours to this ‘monstrosity’ – and I know for a fact that you ARE NOT jobless, for a fact. So let’s get into your shoes and analyze how Harthals are actually advantageous:

  • Reluctant Breaks: Indians have a reputation of being a hard-working-populace. Half of all successful janitors, sweepers, construction workers and beggars overseas owe their roots to the our nation (again, citation needed). These hardworking men and women toil their asses off (in some cases, quite literally), to earn their daily bread (or Vodka, for that matter). Such committed workers who work ‘hardly’ for the uplift of their Motherland should be provided a sabbatical, for myriad health reasons. Researchers have proved that constant physical exertion is on the rise. Modern adage seems to comply with the golden words: “Thou shalt die with a belly well fed.”, quote modern philosophers. In such extremes of physical torture, an occasional one-day break does only good.
  • Banking A peep into the arbitrary government office and you would stand awed at the dedication and commitment depicted by our ‘babus’. Apart from their daily duties of duly ‘glancing through’ files (whose super-fast ‘transfer-rates’ put Teracopy to shame), our Babus seem to have taken the banking system under their folds. A very secure parallel banking system has been established thanks to concerted efforts over the years. The system has reached such levels of popularity that it’s quite an open secret these days. However, this system of banking involves one-way transfer. The customer can debit money through secure cash-processing machines under office-tables. (S)he gets decent rates of interest (which are at par with Islamic Banking, if not more) and that too in the form of myriad benefits. This parallel banking system has reached such massive levels of popularity and success that Private sector banks have started grumbling about deficits. Harthals are a boon for private sector banks, crumbling under the yoke of the parallel banking system (whose deposits go a long way to sunny Switzerland). Since more Harthals would mean more shut-down for these ‘parallel banks’, Private sector banks can heave a rightful sigh-of-relief.
  • Too much work doesn’t just work ! The mentality of overseas Indians have crossed the seas and spread wings among their counterparts in good-old-motherland. India Inc is working ‘hardly’ these days! So ‘hardly’ that the word ‘hard’ has lost its very meaning! As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, and too much ‘work’ (including parallel banking) ends up spoiling the broth. So much for more holidays.
  • Booze ’em up! A recent trend in the country is the widespread adoption of teetotalism. India is the country of the Mahatma, who stated that Alcohol is the biggest evil our nation has faced (Gandhiji has had his share of booze in his childhood, nevertheless). Thanks to widespread negative publicity by numerous A.A.s, alcohol sales have hit rock-bottom, today. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is in the brink of bankruptcy and is rumored to have auctioned stashes of his old Playboy magazines for a paltry $5 billion, for want of liquid cash! Insider sources point out that Harthals are prompted by secret agencies (which have a nexus with Liquor companies like the United Breweries Group); the sudden holiday comes as a huge-blow for the hard-working-average-Indian, who, depressed by his inability to satiate his workaholic self – goes to the nearby state-owned-beverages outlet and boozes to heart’s content. Inventive idea, huh? But then why would the government declare dry days during Harthals? The forbidden-fruit demand-supply principle. To sell something quick, kill the supply and increase demand! Our leaders aren’t as dumb as they seem.
  • Television Viewership Let’s face it – television viewership is dwindling! Reality shows are seen as the last straw for TV channels in a bid to survive the blitzkrieg of new media. Once they go out of fashion, many television studios shall go bust. The Harthal is a boon to both the viewer and the Studio-Manager in this case. Studios dangle the carrot of newly-released flicks (bootlegged, in the case of local, operator-run channels), and the bored-out-of-his-mind  viewer jumps high to gobble it up. The studio gets its TRPs and the viewer smiles at his Rs 200/- of Multiplex Money savings.
  • Bonding initiative Let’s face it: Assbook, Farkut and Shwitter have killed real socializing. We don’t get to meet real people – let alone our family members. Harthal spreads out a wave of universal joblessness that we’re left with our dear and near ones to have some kickass face-to-face conversations. Harthals also mean empty roads, streets and avenues, leaving open some very interesting possibilities for PDA (and more).
  • Harthals heal the world! The Harthal is our very own innovation to get right back at Global warming. No automobiles, no factory fumes and no pollution for twenty four hours straight (not considering extra trillions of tonnes of human excreta that clog the sewerage system). Means of transportation are restricted to walks or even cycling – the best way to kill some calories and lose some flab.

If you’re still cribbing about something that the high court of Kerala has banned, you might want to sign this petition.

Bottom Line

Style of writing and ‘content’ inspired by FakingNews. *Respects* to Pagal Patrakar a.k.a. Rahul Roushan. You rock, dude!


Purely a work of satire. Please take it in that sense. Why so serious, son?

By hari

A twenty-something support engineer, web developer, blogger and journalist who makes the web a better place for a living, at Automattic. Immensely passionate about WordPress! Also loves books, music, movies, and drinking hot cups of coffee on rainy evenings. Dreams of writing a book, someday.

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