KOCHI: No stone was thrown, nor was a piece of glass broken. Still, they were able to find a cure to their woes. The recent agitation by the nursing community sends a strong message to political parties and trade unions as it busts some of the myths associated with strikes, especially in the state. The nurses did not resort to hartal, violence or other means of protest which are believed to be quintessential for making agitations a success.
“The strike received an overwhelming support from the public. We were determined to have a non-violent mode of agitation even if it meant a delay in achieving our target,” says Jasmin Shah, president, United Nurses Association, and one of the chief architects of the agitation.
The modus operandi of the strike will open a fresh chapter in the history of strikes in the state where the majority of them are episodes soaked in blood.
“The nurses’ strike proves there exists a method of agitation in which civic sense is not compromised. We have never heard of a woman destroying public property during a hartal. The nursing community is one where females enjoy a majority. They had no political agenda. They only fought for their rights. The strike is a lesson to the Kerala model trade unionism,“ says Joy Mathew, film personality and social observer.
Political parties say the nursing community could win the war with support for the public and the timely intervention from the state government. “It turned out to be a success as the conditions were at their optimum level. It is true unwarranted hartals can nullify the spirit of strikes.
Some strikes are ‘turned’ non-violent to create news value. This trend started in the last decade, especially after the advent of the visual media,” says P Rajeev, CPM Ernakulam district secretary.
According to Raju P Nair, Ernakulam DCC secretary and a crusader of the anti-hartal movement, this is a wake-up call for political parties, “Most of our political agitations are token strikes. No follow-up is done in many issues for which violent strikes and hartals were held. Parties should realise the changing times.
Otherwise, it will result in the formation of an apolitical society,” he says.