In the past few days India has felt so outraged with barbaric acts of violence and hatred, in Kathua & Unnao. These two incidents have shook the nation.
The act of extreme hatred of the kind which blinds a person to all reason and humanity springs from within and this within is created by a combination of factors. A lot of them are external and consciously and subconsciously work on a human beings mind to create such monsters. Some of the factors may not seem so serious when looked at in isolation but together they are a recipe for disaster. Here is a look at 5 primary reasons and also what we can do about it.
- Reasons within the human psyche: Hatred is an emotion which can be very powerful and compelling. And more often than that not people hate differences. That is why it becomes possible to hate an entire race, or community, or country or gender and so on. The drive for this hatred comes from within and it’s obvious that such people are unhappy people; happy people don’t go around killing and raping others. They hate others who are different because if they don’t , they fear that they will have to look within and deal with negative aspects of their personality and they know if they do so they will hate themselves and it’s easier to hate others. Overtime it becomes part of their personality and a means to feel better about themselves and the hatred becomes stronger and deep rooted. Things go to such an extent that certain kinds of hatred becomes part of the collective psyche of the people of a certain area, country, etc. But in all cases hatred speakes about the hater not the object of hatred. Object has nothing to do with it.
- Tacit Societal tolerance: How the seed of hatred which germinates into a full tree with poisonous fruits has a lot to do with how much social tolerance a society accords to such negative attitudes. It sounds a bit strange because who in their right mind would give tolerance to such barbaric hatred. But it happens. A society can give acceptance to hatred by not reacting strongly against it, or by somewhere endorsing it by equating it with strength of the macho kind. A social system also conditions its people to hate as a control mechanism. For example if a society tolerated hatred against a particular community it tacitly also endorses acts of discrimination, exploitation and even violence against them. And if that community raises its voice the hater takes it as a personal insult and a challenge to his control which makes him go to any extent to settle score and satisfy his ego and feel powerful and in control again. In fact the socialisation of genders can also perpetuate this linkage between hatred and control. So next time you see somebody indulging in road rage step in to help the victim, you see or hear domestic violence , intervene DON’T SAY IT IS NOT MY BUSINESS! IT IS!. Intervene, raise a voice and change things. Every daughter is our daughter! Till we collectively decide to do away with anger and violence it won’t work. Let perpetrators know interveners are everywhere. We will make it our business that’s the only way.
- Attitude towards women: This brings us to social attitudes towards women. Societies where women are still considered to be the weaker gender and where unequal treatment is acceptable there can be underlying collective psyche of negative attitudes towards women. And this can manifest into violence towards women as a control mechanism and as a means to take out frustrations. Since women in such social set ups are also considered property without much voice, directing violence towards women also becomes a means to hurt and damage the people you hate. By violating their women one is actually hurting the family in the grossest possible way. And somewhere society permits men to be violent by turning a blind eye when crimes against women happen whether they are domestic violence, abuse, harassment in offices or rape. Its justified as a manly act. It then permeates every aspect of life and culture like films, ads, songs (item variety), jokes ….. You name it.
- Lack of gainful engagement leading to exploitation: In many cases lack of active engagement i.e. gainful employment leads to idle mind, idle time and lack of resources even to fulfil basic needs can render lot of people vulnerable to be used by others to indulge in barbaric mindless acts of violence. Money or payoff can sufficiently motivate them. Add to this group some addiction like drugs and alcohol and you have a time bomb. This group also has lot of pent up agitation and anger which is negatively channelled by others looking to use them.
- Weak implementation of laws: When along with the above the implementation of laws is either weak or delayed or both it results in recurring incidents of inhuman violence. Moreover wherein having connections or power means one can circumvent justice it becomes a very dangerous situation of shielding criminals. And society as a whole begins to aspire for power and connections instead of fairness. This in turn leads to perpetuating violence instead of shunning it and we go on creating more and more violent law breaking generations.
The obvious question arises what should we do to leave a better world for our kids, a happier more peaceful place. Here are few things we must do:
- Say no to violence in our lives firstly by not indulging in it ourselves. This would include violence at any level, physical, mental, emotional, verbal, and in gestures! After all we all collectively make the society.
- Don’t Tolerate violence by turning a blind eye, protest and react. Most of us keep quiet till violence reaches our doorstep but remember when we overlook violence at any level we are bringing it closer to us. Raise your voice.
- Respect women and teach your kids to do so. This means NEVER create any example of disrespect and violence towards women at home or outside. Teach boys proper attitudes, it’s not macho to harass, hit, abuse or rape women. This is the only way to make your daughters safe!
- Say no to drugs every time. Don’t get exploited, don’t be vulnerable to exploitation.
- Try to create equality around you, try to create jobs if you can if you can’t at least treat all with dignity and grace.
- Mingle with people of all backgrounds to get rid of stereotypes; distance makes it easier to hate people.
- Be opinion leaders, in your own small way try to spread love, acceptance and peace.
Please don’t wait for somebody to come and improve things. Be the change NOW!
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