Mahagun Mob Violence: Not a one off event but time for introspection!


Ashish Kedia

Home is where you often feel safest but what if one day you wake up to find a large unruly violent mob at your doorstep? A mob that has no face or identity but it is just hungry for some revenge. A mob that also comprises of those, whom you might identify as domestic helps of your neighbours or yourself.

What happens when the same people, whom you see every day inside your homes, communicating with your family and kids, are creating havoc right outside your door? Will you ever feel safe again?

The sketch of this situation that comes to mind is horrible. And when it happened in reality, it was more horrible than anyone could have fathomed.

The Menace of Mob

The incident that exactly occurred at Mahagun Moderne society few days back isn’t just a law and order failure but also raises strong questions about our changing societal demography. The rapid urbanization clubbed with nuclear family culture has given rise to a large segment of society where both adults of the family are either employed or busy. Employing domestic helps is no more a luxury but a need of time. But there haven’t been many instances of modern times where this lawfully, willingly employed segment had revolted at such massive scale.

Does it have to do with increasing mob culture of the country? May be!

Has it become fashionable and mainstream to take law in hand after forming a crowd? We hope not.

Needless to say, the situation is worrisome. There are scathing questions being raised about the identity of many people involved in this attack of Wednesday. However a ground check reveals that barring a passport most of these individuals had all other possible identity cards that make them a legal Indian citizen. From a Pan and Aadhar card to having a gas connection, they are as much of an Indian as their employers.

So if there is an iota of truth in identity theory, it has come to light very late. What propelled this delay is something we will try to analyse later in this story.

The Psychic Theory

In this modern age of less response and more reaction, it has become extremely easier to create a mob. A simple facebook post, an edited video, an unsolicited rumour or a watsapp message, every one of these today has the power and tenacity of creating a violent situation.

Fit of rage isn’t anymore an individual phenomenon but has become communicable by association.

Coming back to Mahagun society episode, let’s try tracing what ignited the whole hullabaloo.

The maid exactly stole money or not will be clear only when the police investigations reaches a conclusive end. However preliminary enquiries clubbed with CCTV footage, photographs and medical report clear it beyond doubt that there was no physical assault of the maid. Wrongful confinement theory has also been thrown out of window after an elderly resident of the society had confessed giving shelter to the maid for night.

It was probably a relative of the maid who spread some rumours in the nearby clusters and gave a call for rising against the same. The fact that he was able to mobilise such large number of individuals at such short time, only indicates that economic divide has created a discontent bomb that just requires a trigger to explode.

It is sick to realize that we live in an era where logical reasoning has taken a backseat. Human thought process has become so rapid that it feels easier to take action on a theory rather than verifying its facts.

The Media Mantle

The initial reportage of this incident by many was synonymous to prevalent accident outlook of the country: Blame the bigger vehicle. Here it was initially presumed by many segments of mainstream media that it was oppression by employers against which the employee segment rose. Behind veil of doing neutral journalism the incident was being portrayed as a rich vs poor fight.

It is hard to understand since when does calling a spade a spade makes one biased? If one wants to create a humanitarian angle it can be done with every single thing. Every rapist, murderer, pedophile, thieve or robber must have some part of their live or personality that can portray a completely different story about the person. So are we heading towards that way? I dread with even the thought of this. And even those leading the baton of this kind of impactful journalism don’t realize the kind of precedent it can create for future.

Another root cause of that day’s issue is our misplaced sense of societal diplomacy that somehow stops us from questioning the brutal truths.

The problem is that there is a forced aura of sophistication being quietly laid upon all of us. If you question the legitimacy of someone’s nationality, you will be painted as a discriminatory spoiled privileged individual. So what does one do? If you can’t call a thieve likewise, if you can’t call an illegal immigrant as same, what good is our sense of freedom. I don’t advocate pronouncing a verdict on anyone but since when raising a question becomes a substantive definition of your own character. Let law takes its course but isn’t it our job to lay suspicion wherever necessary.

So why exactly some quarter of people so hell bent to stop opinion of others. Freedom of expression will always be a two way street. It is ok to be curious and vigilant. And it is also ok to not to always blame the bigger vehicle after an accident. Sense, truth and logic must always supersede neutrality. We hope it does.


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