Rioting is an antisocial activity. Most of such activities are emotional outburst and inability of managing emotions. One must look for alternatives of discussion and proper method of reaching out to authorities to drive home the point – provided your point has merits. If your opinion has no merits, you’d get to learn the larger perspective and understand appropriate reasoning. If your opinion has merits you get to reach a consensus.
Most of the times, rioters are more interested in creating problems rather than getting to a solution. In fact riots are more politically motivated rather than actually a problem in society. The Delhi violence (I wrote on Paris Attack earlier) reminded me one an incident in my life.
It was a winter’s morning in the year 1999. We read news that previous night one of the students of our college met with an accident and passed away on the spot. Those days, there was no WhatsApp, mobile phones were expensive and limited news local channels so news spread next day. A friend read name of deceased recalled this student had joined recently and was from our part of the state – Malwa (a region in MP). There was natural – read regional – connection for us. We spoke to some other friends of ours who were from the same region. These friends were very closely connected with the student. In fact, at the time of accident, he was riding bicycle of one of these friends. All in all, we were about 10 students very close to the dead friend of ours – we knew him personally, stayed together, from same cities and he used cycle of one of our friends. Naturally we were emotionally attached and angrier than many other students.
We went to the college, students were angry. It was an unfulfilled demand for quite some time that across both the entrance gates of our college plus other colleges on this road there should be speed breakers. Students were planning protest (about 50 or so). They blocked the road just outside our college. In this crowd 4 of the 10 friends were there. This road blockade turned violent within no time, one of my friends got a wooden stick (god knows from where). They attacked the very next bus they saw. Some threw stones and my friend went and started breaking windshield, windows of bus. In fact he cared less if any stone thrown at bus hits him. My friend came back towards the college gate. Passengers sitting inside the bus somehow ran for life at the very next opportunity. Besides, the driver, an old man was also hurt and his hand was bleeding. Some local antisocial elements too joined the protest plus the violence. Someone brought kerosene and put one wheel of bus on fire.
When I saw my friend had wooden stick, I warned him to leave it, it is a peaceful protest. When he started running towards bus with intention to attack bus, I kept on shouting – don’t do it. The moment I, few friends and other saner students saw violence, we left the site. Soon local police came on the site and dispersed the protestors, antisocial elements and took control. They booked some students also.
Since, the deceased friend was using my friends bicycle and was neighbor of his, police had asked him to go to the hospital, identify and help them with informing deceased family etc. So, the emotionally charged friend who attacked bus, bicycle owner friend and one more went to the Govt Hospital of the city. The emotionally charged friend was ashamed when he saw the same old man in the hospital for treatment. [Those days, police case based medical treatment used to be managed mostly by Govt Hospitals].
The world indeed is round; whole world came full circle for the emotionally charged friend of mine. He was sorry, never accepted it verbally though, but was not ready to accept his mistake of emotional outburst. I think until today he has not accepted his mistake [I remember at least after 5 years when I asked him about the incident he did not accept he was wrong]. When someone resorts to violence the things get worsened at times to the point of no return. The speed breakers were never constructed, a cause completely lost.
Take an example of Delhi riots, media is not reading out a small paragraph of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), it is an amendment to offer citizenship, it is not about taking citizenship of a particular religion. Our constitution has a problem of not defining minority accurately, when and how a religious group should be defined as minority. When a community should be considered as minority; when it is 10%, 25% or 50% of total population? The riots are politically motivated, no one wants such unrest. These riots may worsen the chances of reaching a more balanced resolution to CAA. The way it happened during our college – no speed breaker was constructed, people got hurt, public property (bus) was gutted and a day wasted – same may happen in this case too. Though, CAA protests are more politically motivated than people’s emotion driven. The worst – Indian leftist media is adding fuel to fire. The media has more so become a harbinger to cause trouble rather than be impartial.
It is good to have emotions. Yet emotions are good to have a resolve to act responsibly and get some solutions out. Emotions – when taken to extreme – become problem rather than opportunity to do something good for self or society. Humans have an ability to manage their emotions. Managing emotions require awareness; awareness comes from understanding oneself better. Awareness also helps one to take logical steps and actions. Lastly, easiest way to improve awareness and thus managing emotions is meditation.