A few years ago, one of my friends in Tiruchy had to write a competitive exam in Kochi. He missed the exam since there was a bandh on the previous day and he couldn't reach Kochi in time. I won't be surprised if someone told me a story of a wedding getting postponed because of hartal.
Not a very nice thing to say about my home state, but the fact is that it's simply difficult to get work done: the biggest threat being the strike. Any of the two dozen parties or unions can call for a hartal anytime on any issue.
So, when I had to go to Ernakulam (from Bangalore) to get some documentation work relating to property done at the village office and the subregistrar's office, taking a cue from others' experiences, I took a few days' extra leave.
And my fear turned real.
On Sunday night, a Kerala minister T M Jacob, a very senior, respected and popular politician, passed away. As a mark of respect to the departed leader, the state government declared a holiday across the state on Tuesday, the day of his funeral; and an extra day's holiday on Monday only for offices in Ernakulam district. With the result I could not get anything done on Monday and Tuesday.
To a certain extent, bandhs and hartals can be foreseen, though not always. Deaths can never be foreseen. For me, this was a totally unforeseen tragic event. Since I had taken a few days' extra leave, 90% of what I had to do, I could complete, and I am leaving back for Bangalore today. If it was a bandh I could blame the political parties. Here, in my case, I couldn't blame anyone for the untimely tragic event.
But the fact is even when there is no bandh or such disruptions, the amount of time that is lost in getting official work done at government offices is huge. Too much of documentation and paper work is one major factor. A good networking of all government offices will help. Details of property and such other particulars should be easily available at the click of a button.
Hopefully, the universal identity number that we all would get one day, will ease matters.