Sunday, 5 February 2017

Violence: The Spirit of our Times

The news that an engineering  student beheaded a teenaged girl on the college campus of St Xavier College, Ranchi is indeed blood-curdling. The girl seemed to have an affair with the boy. You all may have noticed a recent dangerous trend among the rebuffed lovers to retaliate by harming their 'objects of love' when relationships turn sour. This is something alarming. First of all, it's not love in the first place. I may sound too utopian or ultra-principled, but love which harms and hurts is no love. This also underlines the violent streak among the youth to surface at the slightest provocation or when being spurned by their girlfriends. American sociologist Glenn Webster wrote in his book, " Campus crimes in the US,"  " Today's youngsters can't  accept refusal and rejection in love. They become violent and react in a manner that was unthinkable until the last decade.
When love's viewed as a conquest on the social barometer, it loses its pristine meaning and becomes an issue that involves ego. Acutely ego-driven love affairs often end up in a pool of blood..."

 The same happened on the campus of St Xavier, Ranchi. The headless body of that ill-fated girl was lying in a pool of blood. Violence has become so much a part of our collective consciousness that nowadys we read and forget the very next moment. Gory details don't seem to move us any longer. We don't brood over them as to why we all have become so much violent and savage. Agreed, man has always been violent. But his violence was not so obvious. Now, he's proud of his violent deeds and others try to emulate such barbaric acts. " When a society at large tacitly and tepidly reacts to violent acts, it sends out signals to approve of it, " opined the late Dr Edward W Said in one of his perceptive essays written for The New York Times. He raised a vital point.

The whole society seems to become too casual to violence and has willy-nilly accepted it as a part of life like corruption. Who remembers a rejected lover stabbing his ex-girlfriend in Nagpur? This happened recently or a young man in Gurgaon raping and disemboweling his girlfriend when she decided to marry someone else. This too took place as recently as December, 2010 or a man in Lucknow sodomising his teenage girlfriend in February 2011. She bled to death. What was her fault? She refused to have sex with her boyfriend of 2 days!

There're scores of such violent incidents happening rampantly across the country and all over the world, to be more precise. Our mass apathy and inaction can be held responsible for these crimes to go unabated and at the same time underlying Roman statesman Cicero's rhetoric question," Whether in love or lust, when did man not react violently?" The question asked centuries back, must egg us on to think even now.  
                                      ---Sumit Paul  


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