In reading the book “Fear and Forgiveness” by Harsh Mander which talks of the aftermath of the Gujarat 2002 pogrom against the Muslim community, a larger concern seems to be swelling in me.
Why is it that a mob has many heads, but no brains?
Or is it that these brains unleash some of their suppressed ‘carnal instincts’ of violence, because the civilisation is trying to suppress these supposedly natural urges in us, as analysed by Sigmund Frued in his seminal work “Civilisation and its discontents”?
I could paraphrase this concern of mine from various perspectives, but what I really fail to understand is how mobs become efficient excuses to carry out atrocities such as the Gujarat riots, or closer to me here in Bangalore the animosity filled anti-tamil protests which had occured during my childhood.
My mother trembles even now when recollecting the riots of the 1990’s with excuses like the Kaveri river water sharing issue between Kannada and Tamil speaking communities; And also the Babri Masjid demolition riots. More vividly I remember in Karnataka, the riots for unreasonable (not that the others are reasonable, these are worse) like the death of veteran film star Rajkumar!
And when analysed, some people also attribute this to the unqeunched and sidelined populations, who are so suppressed that they find this as an excuse to vent out their disgruntle! I am not very for this argument, but it does explain some aspects like the mob violence in silly riots.
Factional riots, etiher based on religion, language, nationality or identity cause deeper wounds on the society. In most of these factional violence, a bottom line of partisan politics cannot be ruled out.
The recent exodus of the North East population from Bangalore and other regions of India, many believe is also a ploy by one major political party to pretend as the ‘vanguard of the vanquished’, while they themselves might have caused this vanquishing. Now, this claim might seem conspiracious, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.
A section of population seems to have a natural tendency to engage in violence and commit atrocities, and a smaller,yet more shrewd section of population taps this hazardous potential to execute their agendas all while riding on the ignorance of the masses, in the end making the society effectively dysfunctional.