feudal atavism

Many incidents of incomprehensible and inhuman rage made the headlines in recent days. On each occasion I held on to my urge to react as I felt that my words would have no or little effect. However the pictures aired yesterday on all leading channels broke my resolve.

It was a story from a small town in Bihar where the mob decided to met out their own brand of justice to a young thief. What was disturbing was the fact that the police played to the gallery and tied the poor boy to a motorcycle and dragged him in full public view. All his was aptly captured on camera by a local journalist. Nobody reached out to help the boy. For those three hours all that holds a society together and protects it - the rule of law - was conveniently forgotten! From being the largest democracy in the world, we had travelled back in time to the middle ages or the roman arenas.

In the recent past there have many incidents that have brought to fore the latent anger and rage that seems to reside in apparently sensible people waiting for the slightest reason to break free. A young school girl is beaten by six teachers for having failed to do her homework. A young boy is beaten to death by his classmates for having soiled a shirt. A man is beaten to death for simply not giving way to a passing motorcyclist.

These are only some of the ugly incidents that have made their way as headline news. The reality was one has to face is that as a society we are giving up the rule of law and resorting to wild west ways. And when law makers or protectors resort to such ways too, then it is the beginning of the end.

One needs to stop and try and analyse the reasons that have led us to this day. And as is oft the case, the sated cliches come to mind: corruption, politicisation of institutions, arrogance of the rich and more of the same. But to this we also need to add frustration, lack of opportunities, impossible aspirations and the lure of riches, not to forget the now jaded caste and creed.

To add to the plethora of baffling realities one wonders why a district official gets suspended for not recognising the Chief Minister's voice on the phone or why a cop gets suspended for hugging a cinestar convict. In spite of our democratic cloak, are we not atavistically feudal and thus resort to our feudal selves at each provocation.

Think about it.