There was a state-wide Bandh in Karnataka today — a kind of protest, curfew and general strike, which meant that shops, restaurants and pretty much everywhere was closed all day.

My fellow lecturers and I had planned to go and see the degree show at Srishti, but that was closed too. So we ended up whiling away the day at a swanky hotel, eating a long slow buffet lunch out on the terrace. It was pretty full, presumably because it was one of the few places open.

Later in the evening on the way home I realised how quiet the city was… some streets were almost empty of traffic, and they felt darker than usual. Possibly due to so many shops having the shutters down.

It turns out the Bandh was called by the BJP, the ruling political party in Karnataka, in protest at the prosecution of a minister over corruption — a huge issue in India, and very much on the world’s radar since last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

A strange atmosphere on the streets tonight… very quiet with a kind of subdued tension. All the more noticeable because usually this place feels very vibrant and lively, as well as being busy and noisy.

I guess the worry of the protests getting out of hand was very present in people’s minds. The Times of India’s report is telling:

Barring minor incidents of stone-pelting and arson [the Bandh] passed off peacefully today…

Apparently 29 buses were torched across the state, 2 of them in Bangalore, and 500 people were taken into custody. Here’s hoping any future Bandhs are equally “peaceful”.

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