By Sapan Kapoor
We are a country of Mahatma Gandhi who gave the message of tolerance, brotherhood and non-violence to the world that was in the grip of incessant bloody wars in the early twentieth century. Ironically, 67 years after his assassination by a ‘Hindu nationalist’, we seem to be a nation that has gone mad, drenched with violence and intolerance from tip to toe.
Today, there is violence in our words, thoughts and actions. It’s everywhere. People seem to be gunning for each other like wild beasts for their prey and taking lives over as trivial a matter like parking at a wrong place or over music in a club.
On October 20, just three days ago, 22-year-old Rohit Bhardwaj was brutally beaten to death with hockey sticks after a scuffle at a party in Gurgaon over a request for the music to be changed. His father was also severely injured when he tried to rescue him. CCTV footage of this disturbing incident being shown on news channels can make one’s hair stand on end.
Rohit, a college student in Delhi and a resident of Gurgaon, had gone to attend a friend’s birthday party in a vacant plot in the New Subhash Nagar area in Gurgaon where around 20 others had gathered.
Police said a brawl broke out when Rohit asked the DJ to change the music and the latter refused to do it. A few of the drunken partygoers then attacked Rohit, brutally beating him up with hockey sticks.
When Rohit was being attacked, his father, Deepak Bhardwaj, reached the spot and tried to save him. But the boys did not even spare him, attacking the latter with sticks. The attackers thereafter fled the spot. Rohit’s brutal, heartrending murder was caught on camera which is enough to send shivers down one’s spine.
We should be losing our sleep over this growing intolerance and violence in our society. But, alas, that does not seem to be the case. People are being bumped off for their ideas, eating habits and the way of their life. 50-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq’s only fault was that he lived in a society where mob justice was ‘acceptable’.
If Gandhiji was alive today, he would have cried his heart out after seeing the level of intolerance and violence in a country for whose freedom he sacrificed his life. How right he was when he said that ‘violence is an invitation for more violence’ and that ‘an eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind’. If we all became zombies, who will be left?
Check out this video wherein a man can be seen shooting his acquaintance in the head in broad daylight in the middle of a narrow crowded lane in West Delhi’s Vikas Nagar.
The incident took place in June this year where CCTV footage shows a man alighting from a rickshaw when another man who at first seemed to be casually passing by started an argument.
The confrontation at first seemed unprovoked, but the visual shows the man taking out a gun and later shooting at the man twice, reminiscent of a typical Bollywood shoot-out.
The man was first shot in the chest and after being hit, he tried to run away but could not succeed. The killer kept standing there, observing the victim struggling for his life. After a few seconds, he shot another bullet into the man’s head, ensuring that he did not survive the attack.
All this happened in the heart of the national capital in broad daylight and nobody came forward to rescue the wretched man.
This is where the media has also failed to perform its job i.e. to educate the people about the ramifications of increasing violence and intolerance in our society. Media’s job is not only to disseminate information but also to show the people the right path shown to us by Mahatma Gandhi. There seem to be absolutely no debates and discussions on our 24/7 news channels about the moral degradation of and growing violence in the country.
We are, alas, a nation today where two Dalit children are burnt alive by members of an upper caste community, something that should make us hang our heads in shame. Why have things come to such a pass? And where are we heading to?
In these turbulent times when ISIS asks for a Caliphate, Taliban butchers school children in Peshawar, hundreds are killed and displaced in the name of religion, we need to introspect.
The big question that needs to be asked is: Are we still humans or have we lost it somewhere in the process of evolution?