An art to master


The increasing rate of lynching across the country, including the Northeast, is worrisome, dangerous and indicative of not only mounting intolerance but also of the surfacing of deep-rooted psychological disorders. The latest is the gruesome murder of two young men travelling from Guwahati to Karbi Anglong a couple of days ago. It is unthinkable that we have reduced ourselves to just catching hold of any person and thrashing her/him to death simply on suspicion of child-lifting or rape or any other crime and/or wrong-doing ~ worse still for possessing beef or transporting cows. Isn’t taking law into our own hands indicative of the mistrust of law-enforcing agencies and the judicial system, in fact, in the break-down of governance itself? Isn’t lynching and other forms of breaching the law also indicative of our ignorance and/or disregard for the rule of law? It is time for the elected and selected in Government to study the issue not simply from the perspective of law and order but more importantly from the perspectives of breakdown of value-systems, the coming-apart of the fabric of community and societal bonds, the political, economic and social inequalities and inequities that have manifested in rampant corruption and the ultimately in the ever-widening gap between the privileged and the disadvantaged ~ the alienated and marginalized. These then also call for serious analyses on why the once-strongly bonded tribal societies are now losing our way and at sea about what’s happening around us and to us. Definitely, there is a need for deeper studies of present-day traditional, religious and secular leadership. Political leadership have increasingly come to believe that it is enough to “govern” the people but without fully knowing the socio-psychological profiles of the people, we simply cannot be “governed” by laws, rules, norms and conventions, which are increasingly flouted by the political class itself ~ thereby negating the rule of law. There is an increase in the number of cases wherein suspected child-lifters are lynched or thrashed by the public across the country, including the Northeast, indicating not only an increasing rate of people taking the law into our own hands but also indicating an increase in the instances of child-lifting ergo the fear thereof. This means that child-lifting has taken serious dimensions in the country and it is well-documented that one of the highest incidents of child-lifting and human trafficking happens in the Northeast. Have our state Governments in the Northeast formulated a cohesive policy to address the issue of child-lifting and human trafficking? Have they sought the assistance of psychologists and other social scientists with expertise on the issue to help formulate such a policy? Unless state Governments, indeed the Central Government too, address these crucial issue of personal rights and liberties on a war-footing, electoral triumphs and government formations amount to nothing and cannot be called “governance” by any stretch of imagination. Governments are elected to take care of each citizen by upholding the constitutional provisions ~ failure to shoulder this responsibility will see an increase in people taking the law into our own hands. Most unfortunately, our Governments are not interested in what the people want; they are interested only in shoving down the throat of the people what they want ~ which is basically to vote them to power so that they can loot the public. It is then not surprising that Governments have not a clue about social issues pertaining to violations of rights, liberties and freedoms that have raised the people’s heckles to such a point that our communities and society at large feel threatened to such heights of taking law into our own hands. Even a cursory study of the Constitution reveals that it is definitely the Government’s obligation to address social issues ~ after all, social issues are the matrix of politics in a multi-cultural society like India ~ therefore it is irresponsible of any Government to avoid addressing social issues. Ironically, our Governments interfere where they aren’t supposed to but keep distance from issue they need to address with undivided attention. Governments also need to learn to discern causes and effects. Most probably, the recent lynching at Karbi Anglong will be treated as a law and order issue and the issues of child-lifting, the fear of which reportedly led to the lynching, will be ignored, as has happened before in so many instances of social issues. To truly “govern”, nipping the bud is an art that needs mastering.