Gang murders, looting, rapes are violent reality that people have to deal with in Mangalore today. A city that was placid until a decade ago but has now a vibrant and pernicious underworld that thrives in some of the most ill-serviced localities. What has made this crime come about?
Why do our guys feel that being in a gang is both an acceptable and prestigious way to live? The long range answer to these questions can only be speculated upon, but in the short term the answers are much easier to find. On the surface, gangs are a direct result of human beings’ personal wants and peer pressure. However, by looking at the way humans are influenced in society, I believe there is good evidence to point the blame at several institutions. These include the forces of the media, the politicians, theater, drugs and our economic system.
On the surface, gangs are caused by peer pressure and greed. Many teens in gangs will pressure peers into becoming part of a gang by making it all sound glamorous. Money is also an crucial factor. One of the ways that kids morals are bent so that gang, violence becomes more acceptable is the influence of television and movies. The average child spends more time at a TV than she/he spends in a classroom. Since nobody can completely turn off their minds, kids must be learning something while watching the TV. Very few hours of television watched by children are educational, so other ideas are being absorbed during this period of time. Many shows on television today are extremely violent and are often shown this from a gang’s perspective. Movies released in the recent past like Satya, Company, Vaastav which portray the underworld don as a hero. Violence, Sex, Smoking are common shots on the screen today.
A normal adult can see that how foully these criminals are living. However, to a child this portrays a violence, gang existence as acceptable. ‘The Ends Justifies the Means‘ mentality is also taught through many shows where the “good guy” captures the “bad guy” through violence and is then being commended. A young child sees this a perfectly acceptable because he knows that the “bad guy” was wrong but has no idea of what acceptable apprehension techniques are.
Once this mentality is installed in youngsters they become increasingly prone to being easily pushed into a ‘crime’ situation by any problem at home or elsewhere. For instance, in poor families with many children or upper-middle class families where parents are always working, the children will often feel deprived of love. Parents can often feel that putting food on the table is enough love. Children of these families may often go out insearch of the pleasure, firstly out of boredom and to belong somewhere.
Perhaps the most heinous of offences, one that is palpably under-reported, is rape. Its number has been constantly rising. The question that is often arises is how to protect women against rape. This issue becomes knotty if one reckons the fact that most of the aggressors are relatives or acquaintances of victims. How does one solve this problem? How much precaution can a woman take in interacting with a friend or relative?
The appallingly poor rate of conviction of accused in court is another factor that has an impact on the crime scene. Where the rate is high, the message goes down to the underworld that the judiciary means business. Where it is not, there is an ambience that is conducive to a certain lack of inhibition on the part of individuals and groups that are prone to crime.
Ultimately, crime control is not the responsibility solely of the police. The community as a whole and the judiciary also have a significant role. It is doubtful whether the implications of this position have been understood. Assistance from the community is no doubt growing, but not at a pace that can bring about a measurable change.
I know few people who grew up in miserably wretched conditions and turned out to be caring adults. Candlelight vigils, media coverage, and an endless judicial process turns the criminal into a celebrity while the victim’s family seethes with resentment, sometimes for decades!
We need only to look around the world to remember that subservience to violence as a way to resolve problems has brought us perpetual misery and suffering: just look at Israel, Kashmir, Rwanda, Serbia. Is our mangalore going towards the same direction at this rate? Can I expect my readers to tell me how exactly they react to this state of unfortunate despondency?
Author: Jeevan Pinto- USA