We do not go to the Kolkata Book Fair today because there is a twelve-hour Bangla bandh in force, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A bandh is city, state, or countrywide general strike. This Bangla bandh is therefore confined to the state of Bengal.
A bandh is usually sponsored by a political party to protest some event or action. Typically, these bandhs are enforced with violence to ensure their "success." Zealous party supporters trying to enforce a bandh often clash with supporters of parties that oppose it.
This fear of violence usually intimidates everybody, so shops and markets remain closed during the strike, and most taxis and private vehicles stay off the roads, although public transport (protected by an extra deployment of police) usually functions normally.
For most people in the city, though, according to the Times of India, "the bandh call is a convenient excuse to skip work." They admitted that it was neither the fear of trouble, nor the uncertainty of public transport that had deterred them from going to work, but the prospect of "enjoying an extended weekend treat."
Whatever. I spend the day catching up with my blogging.