“Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” – Lord of the Flies
A group of young boys ageing 10-11 use this mantra to kill the beast i.e., a pig in the jungle. But soon, this killing becomes a ritual under whose influence, the boys loose their individuality and start living a cruel fantasy. A fantasy in which they mistake their friend Simon to be a beast and kill him mercilessly. No one comes for his help. They act as if they were intoxicated with violence. The repetition of this mantra in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is somehow highlighting the groupthink and it’s violent outcomes.
The novel came out in 1954 in the UK; it’s 2019 in India. That’s quite a long time and space to compare two things. But as they say, literature is a reflection of society and it can be universal. This mob killing is also a universal phenomenon that questions the existence of humanity among people every time it occurs.
India’s Lynching Spate
Over the past few years, there is an exponential growth in the number of cases of mob violence in India. Ranging from cow smuggling to child lifting, the issues on which the mob gets “angry” is also evolving underlining its growing “intolerance” and the “fake sense of preserving justice through immediate punishment”
Recently, around 20 cases were reported in three days where the mob turned violent due to rumors of child-lifting in Uttar Pradesh alone. In Delhi, a pregnant woman was brutally thrashed by a mob on the rumors of child lifting. Since the victim was hearing and speech impaired, she couldn’t even ask for help.
In another case, two brothers were brutally beaten by a mob on the suspicion of child lifting. The due were taking their nephew to a doctor in Sambhal when they were attacked by a mob. Both were dragged to the nearest field and thrashed ruthlessly. The police rushed to the spot and took the injured to the hospital where one of them was declared brought dead.
In other incident, an elderly woman was beaten by the mob after they suspected her to be a child-lifter. In reality, the woman has gone for shopping with her grandson. The video of the assault is going viral on social media. The other cases are as brutal and inhumane as these.
In short, the bheed becomes the bhagwan of justice in a few moments and can kill an innocent person on the basis of rumours and suspicion.
Loktantra or Bheedtantra
“Democracy is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Whenever one first learns about democracy; they read the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln. However, they forget one very important point made in the statement – government. Democracy is in no doubt about the rule of common people but it also emphasizes on the need to have the elected representatives, a system that runs the society according to the rules and laws.
Looking at the way, mob takes the decision nowadays, seems like they are forgetting the crucial point. They just focused about their group-thinking.
Unlike loktantra where rules and laws are abided by the majority, bheedtantra works in spur of the moment. In a hurry to re-establish their so-called traditions or punish the culprit, they ignore logic and critical evaluation of a situation. This leads to destructive decisions like lynching.
The case gets serious and worse when such chaos is created using social media. In many of the lyching cases of India, the attack was pre-planned on social media. WhatsApp forwards inform the groups about a suspected crime like child-lifting or cow smuggling. The so-called justice restorers go on mission to find the culprit and teach them a good lesson.
What is horrifying is those facts and logic, all go down the drain in such cases. Without evaluating the truth, mob brutally lynches the “supposed culprit” irrespective of their age or gender. However, religion does matter in these cases.
Does the Justice Really Prevail?
On August 5, Rajasthan government passed Lynching Bill, 2019 to ensure justice to the victims. On 14th August, six out of the nine accused in 2017 Pehlu Khan lynching case were acquitted. That too when there was a viral video of the incident that everyone had watched.
It seems like it wasn’t just the mob but also the law protectors who become mute spectators when it comes to lynching. It’s a crime that is not done in a dark corner but in daylight, in presence of people who not only become a part of this brutal crime but also record it on their smartphones and circulate it without any fear. This clearly shows that they have no fear or respect for the law. But why?
Till, now no real justice has been served to those who were involved in the lynchings. In fact, many of the accused have been honored by the BJP government.
Union Minister Jayant Sinha also garlanded 8 men who were convicted in the killing of coal trader Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh.
The key accused of the infamous 2015 lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq along with other 16 accused were invited by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at his rallies.
Later, an accused Ravi Sisodiya was turned into a martyr when he died into the judicial custody. Ravi’s body was draped in Indian national flag like a soldier and paraded as a rally of Hindus against Muslims.
Now in such a scenario, getting justice for the victims seems quite shoddy and blurry. No doubt that states like Rajasthan and West Bengal are coming up with anti-lynching bills, but till now there are no government statistics of hate crime in India.
Is There A Conclusion?
Writing a conclusion or summing up a growing menace like mob lynching is like dodging a bullet. You can’t be successful and there’s no point in being successful in this. These lynching cases are not far away, but in our own country.
It is an ironical stage of this country – a country which gained independence on the pillars of Satya and Ahimsa. While satya is never found out under the garb of fake rumours, ahmisa is sitting quite in a corner fearing the aggressive nationalists and justice-restorers.
I think there’s only one way: to ask ourselves the basic question that again came from William Golding, Lord of the Flies:
“What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?”