A mental malaise getting better of rationality
Nilratan Halder | Published:
December 24, 2015 22:20:09
October 23, 2017 04:34:26
"Move away, or I'll crush you", threatened a bus driver. The man whom he threatened was also an aggrieved driver but one of a CNG-run auto-rickshaw. Aggrieved because his three-wheeler was hit from behind and damaged by the bus the former was commanding. Then the bus driver really carried out his threat. For 30 metres or so the auto-rickshaw driver was dragged under one of the wheels to which the ill-fated man got entangled.
This devilish act took place right in the capital on Tuesday when a minibus that runs on the Mohammadpur-airport-Abdullapur route hit the auto-rickshaw and sped away without stopping. The auto driver could catch up with the bus at Jasimudding intersection on the Mymensingh Road where the red signal was on. It was here the auto-rickshaw driver parked his vehicle on the roadside and came to know why the bus driver did not stop. There ensued an altercation over compensation for the damage caused to the auto-rickshaw. Before long the barbaric outrage was unleashed by the driver of the bus, killing the man who confronted him.
This was no accident. It was plain murder in cold blood. A driver threatens to crush another driver and actually ends up doing so. Dismissing it as a horrendous crime committed in a fit of temper would be simply undermining the gravity of this and similar other acts now the nation is becoming a witness to more often than not.
Needless and unprovoked intolerance and violence are increasingly getting the better of rational judgment. Skewed mindset is fast taking its toll across the length and breadth of this densely populous country. A kind of proximity phobia drives people mad from a sense of insecurity that lies dormant under the subconscious layers of mind. When this happens, those not shining in life in the normal and traditional way opt for devious and dark means to exact revenge for their failure. They become either underworld goons, outlaws or militants/jihadists.
When their crimes go unpunished, it leaves an undesirable influence on apparently moderate and sane people. Usually timid, such common people may equally have their frustration when they see that people with no exceptional quality and qualification amass wealth by foul means and give a damn to law, tradition and values. But they cannot take on those otherwise powerful gangs. The simmering anger they digest most of the time but when an opportunity presents itself they would not mind unleashing their wrath on the weak.
It is this pent-up anger that seems to be getting exploded rather increasingly because society is economically and culturally more polarised now than anytime in the independent Bangladesh. The top segment follows more or less a hybrid Western-style of life with almost no holds barred. At the lowest rung, people are eking out a life on the fringe knowing little of life's many charms. They are considered a drag on society because they are mere numbers without contributing to the country's human development index (HDI) ranking.
In between those two segments lies the vast majority who know some of Nature's bounties and life's enjoyment but grumble because they think they have been unfairly treated. They deserved better and the existing system and also the providence have turned hostile to deprive them of their fair share. They hardly grow violent because they possess the most rational and analytical minds. It is because of this, a small band aspires after large-than-life images. They become creative enough to enrich human civilisation.
However not all of them can explore their creativity and thus leave an indelible mark on different areas of society. The disgruntled but ambitious among them are the most dangerous. All the evil and sinister plans and deeds go to their credit. Evil geniuses like Adolf Hitler thus take human civilisation by storm. But the timid and not so gifted with evil genius also look for releasing their emotion and anger out of frustration. So, they choose softer targets.
This is perhaps the reason why apparently normal human beings in the rural setting unleash extreme forms of cruelty on small boys and teenagers. Skewed psychology then influences more people to commit similar horrendous crimes. A bus driver thus considers an auto-rickshaw driver an inferior creature who can be crushed like cockroaches when people get irritated with those small insects. Even people have some arguments in favour of them against pestering cockroaches but in this case, it is the bus driver who is on the wrong side of the bargain and this does not prevent him from committing the ultimate crime of taking a life so casually.
No wonder, all religions teach that life is sacrosanct. But gradually hatred of the worst type is being propagated courtesy of misinterpretation of religions. Social intolerance is being taken to a new extreme. Man treats man with disdain and when opinions differ, the prescription for annihilation or humiliation gets the better of sanity and respect for human dignity.
This malaise is fast making grounds in societies known earlier for tolerance and peace-loving. Lawlessness and social intolerance are leaving a most pernicious lesson on the common people. Therefore, those who claim to be educated and enlightened enough should come forward to stem the rot. The perverted and skewed religious intolerance should be countered first.