Victims of teenage gang rivalry

Published: September 03, 2018 22:16:46 | Updated: September 05, 2018 21:23:12

Teenage groups' gang rivalry has claimed yet another victim in the capital's Dakkhin Khan, a kilometre or two east to the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Such gang rivalries made screaming headlines in January, 2017 when a ninth grade student was beaten to death on the ground that he defected from one group to its rival gang. It was a chilling discovery when details came out. About a dozen groups were found active in the capital's Uttara, a posh residential area. The gangs were formed with students from some of the reputed schools in the area. Usually school drop-outs and big brothers with criminal records led the gangs and fought for supremacy. They wanted to command respect or esteem from juniors as well as seniors. Their existence actually caught the elders in the locality off guard. Mostly because, the graffiti that were all over the walls had names that sounded more like musical bands or dance parties. The guardians were misled to believe that their sons were forming such cultural groups.

What was of particular concern is that a few unwilling students had to join such groups under threat. Once in the group, it is difficult to avoid them. Only parents with enough income could help their sons by sending them abroad for study. Intriguingly, the majority of the members of the gangs came from well-to-do families. So what prompted boys from such families to form gangs in order to command respect? William Golding's Lord of the Flies provides an answer. In the novel, he has delineated with child psychology to show that teenagers instinctively want to prevail when there is no one to teach them self-control. In the Uttara case, the influence of Western culture, particularly the Mario Gianluigi Puzo's Godfather-famed culture of violence may have had a role.

The local police claim that they arrested members of the gangs several times but they come out of prison after a few months only to carry on with their criminal activities. Influence-peddling by teenage groups may arise out of inferiority complex too. The cause behind this may be found in the families they come from. Parents lead a busy life and have little time to spend with their children. In the absence of sports and cultural facilities and participation by local communities, it is only natural that teenagers on the threshold of adulthood look for adventures which at times derail them.

Evidently, the elders are to blame for not taking the care growing children need. Even those who are confined to the four walls are not safe. Apart from frustration and loneliness, they develop psychological disorders of varying types. Some become addicted to modern gadgets and live in an unreal world of illusion or hallucination. So it is important that parents spend quality time with their children and initiate them to healthy habits and practices like reading books, listening to music and practising painting etc. Sports and cultural facilities should be created in order to ensure local community's participation.

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