a chiling moment

The gunning down of a 14 year old by his classmates in an upscale school in the suburbs of Delhi has shocked everyone. What seemed to be something that happened elsewhere, in other lands is now on our doorstep.

The past two days have seen a plethora of reactions from people of all walks of life trying to explain why this incident happened. From lax gun laws, to lax parenting; from violence on TV shows to violence in children, the causes are many and need to addressed. But what was at the same time sad and frightening was the sometimes furtive but often unconcealed references to the social background of the children. The greatest tragedy of the Gurgaon shooting is undoubtedly the fact that the children in question belonged to the other side of the fence, to the other India or rather as a commentator said to the third India that no one has seen coming: an India that is now claiming its right to everything that till late had never been theirs.

That rural parents should want the best for their children is to be lauded; that upscale schools are recognising this reality and becoming inclusive should also be hailed. It is definitely a step in the right direction. One should not make the fatal mistake of looking at this terrible tragedy as a social one, as one that occurred because the children in question belonged to a certain class of society. Children from so called good homes have also slipped and made horrific mistakes.

My blood ran cold when a parent interviewed by a TV channel stated that rural kids could not adapt to convent schools. This is a mistake we should not and cannot make as unlike what we knew as the other India is very different from the new India that is emerging and assuming power.

The reality is that in today's day and age money has taken the place once held by values. This a phenomena that transcends social barriers and is becoming a hydra-headed monster that will be difficult to contain.

The Gurgaon shooting is a wake up call in more ways than one. We must look at it in larger perspective and take remedial measures. What is needed is to have the courage to assume responsibility rather than pass the buck or simply forget it thinking that it cannot happen to us. And above all one has to ensure that this incident does not close doors for children seeking a better morrow.