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Fists of fury

Angry Indians are no longer just brooding. They are resorting to violence.

The Week: “What has become of the average urban Indian who once grew up on tales of non-violence and satyagraha? There is anger at the workplace, anger at home, aggression and frustration on the streets, and it is getting harder to rein it in. And there is rage, the extreme manifestation of which was seen in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. ”

Very good article. I think there are several reasons for Indians turning to violence - especially, momentary bouts of anger.

1. Upbringing

Most of us - atleast people of my generation - are taught in family and in school that you shouldn’t resort to violence. Discipline is taught not as self-discipline, but as enforced discipline. ie., If you do something that is not good, you shall be punished. Few adults take time to explain "why you shouldn’t do this or that".

The greatest single gift of human beings is to be curious. Don’t nip that in young kids. Explain to them the reasons for why they should do things and why they shouldn’t do some things.

2. Misplaced Optimism

A standard way for Indians to explain unfortunate incidents are by blaming it on fate. Which is not tangible and not something you’ve control over. So, what do you do? You pray more, spend more on your contract with God and hope fate will give you a better deal.

Keep in mind that if you can’t do anything about a problem, there is no point in thinking about it. Even thinking about "fate" is not healthy. If you can do something about what is bothering you, think reasonably, do it and move on.

3. Bottling Up

#1 and #2 have a side effect that people tend to bottle up their issues. Sometimes, this takes people to find solace in alcohol or drugs. Which, I think is a better option for the society :-) If that doesn’t happen, all that channelled up frustration needs a way to get out. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I think the best way to vent that is through violence - violent thoughts need violent outlets. Just make sure your violence doesn’t endanger others. Go to a private room, yell out loud. Or go jog for sometime. Do something physical that vents out the physical part of violence building up inside you. *After that*, do something that soothe you - like listening to music?

Anger, just like happiness and sadness is an emotion. Find your own way to achieve the emotion you want to have. Remember, the only thing you can *really* control - even if you want to control more - is yourself.

Too much of unvented frustration results in anger and unreasonable expectations. Anger results in violence and unreasonable expectations might result in joining ranks with similar minded people. The second scenario is more dangerous. Master tacticians (usually politicians!) know how to build upon individual frustrations and make people do things in a group that they would never do when alone. An extreme case of this is when people want to resort to planned violence on their own. “There is nothing more dangerous in this world than a fool with an ideology”.

Anyway, it is a good article.