Let ‘Smita Formula’ go viral…

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
05 July 2013 14:43 IST

It is not the first time a student like Smita Chodnekar has protested against denying rightful half ticket in the bus. But it is perhaps for the first time a student has dared to directly approach the authorities, rather than simply cursing them for doing nothing. When Smita rang up Director of Transport Arun Desai, he swiftly moved into action. Not only the bus conductor was challaned for denying 50 per cent bus concession in tariff, but he was not allowed to ply his bus for the whole day.

The society is becoming negative day by day. Everybody feels he or she is being denied justice and the authority is in collusion with those who deny the citizens their right. And what is the solution we find for it? One – do nothing but curse those who harass us. Two – curse also the authorities as well as the politician heading the government – means, now Manohar Parrikar or last five years Digambar Kamat – calling them Monu or Digu etc. Three – discourage others also from fighting the issue. Four – live like an impotent.

Imagine if Anna Hazare, who turned 75 last month, had a similar negative attitude of cursing everybody and doing nothing. The movement of India Against Corruption would have never emerged in India. But Anna simply does not fight his whole life. He has built Ralegan Siddhi as a model village, with the help of government funds and schemes. But not through corrupt methods. And then he fights against corruption. In fact fights for his right; as a citizen of our country. That’s the reason authorities and politicians get scared of him.

If the students of ‘70s and ‘80s were impotent, 50 per cent bus concession should have never been a reality. Initially, in 1972, students had won a battle for 25 per cent bus concession and then in 1978, for the 50 per cent concession. The second agitation was a violent one as the private bus lobby was controlling then MGP-led Shashikala Kakodkar government. Students were beaten up, lathicharged and even jailed. Buses were stoned and even burnt. In fact the government collapsed after 50 per cent bus concession was granted.

Then started a next phase of retaining the right of half ticket, in ‘80s. No bus conductor dared to deny half ticket to any student in the bus. But many buses were not stopping at the college bus stop. Stoning buses at Farmagudi by the ITI students was a regular affair. Students used to block the road and stop the buses, if it did not stop. So many times bus fares were hiked, but no politician belonging to any political party dared to scrap the decision of half ticket to students. Some attempts were made to give passes – from home to college and back – but it could not materialize. The blanket bus concession remained. That was the Students’ Power!


Times have changed in the new millennium. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can today stop the student from entering the bus, denying half ticket or even pushing the student down from the bus. Sometimes students fight, but keep quite when the private bus conductors get together. And more worst; no student bounces back by instantly approaching the authority.

But the Smita Formula worked!

Be wise like Smita. Have telephone and mobile numbers of the police and RTO from your area on your mobile. First, wage a verbal fight with the conductor, if you are denied your right. Persuade them about the injustice. If they don’t listen, then call up the authorities.  No student union is required for this. Student is ONE COMMUNITY, no matter which college or higher secondary school it belongs to. It is not one Smita who did it. They were almost 15. Together. United. Fighters. Be a Smita.

Know the rules. Know your rights. Fight for your rights. Have confidence in authorities. Demand a board in the bus, which will have telephone numbers of the Police Stations and RTO from that area. Demand with the transport department on-line complaining system. File official complains on-line. Learn to write complaints, just not love letters. Learn to fight for your rights. Let the Smita Formula go viral…. Be together, Fight together…. Till you get justice! 

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.

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Previous Comments

In India when you stand up for your rights it is abnormal and heroic. People celebrate you for that. Otherwise it is all normal.

- Antao, Toronto | 13 th August 2013 23:00


Bravo! Let this smile (SMITH) be there on every goan girl's face...

- Shekhar Gaitonde, Panaji | 17 th July 2013 12:46


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