My four-year–old grandson is learning about ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ in his pre-school in the US. I am so thrilled. Maybe it was Iraq that woke up the educationalists to the consequences of impulsive action. Or maybe it was the credit card default or the mortgage scandal. The unfortunate fact is that it is being taught 40 years too late. But one always hopes for a better tomorrow. Whatever be the motive, it is definitely something that needs to be taught the world over.
The violence unleashed in our own backyard as a result of what happens in Vienna or Sri Lanka has gone out of control. The lumpen elements in this country burn trains, buses, destroy property and manhandle and even kill policemen with impunity. What happens in Mumbai is copied in Kolkata, Jalandhar and Chennai. It costs our country millions every year to deal with the damage. There is no end to this madness. But severe measures are rarely taken because of a misguided sense of the lumpen’s human rights.
What about the rest of the people who bear the brunt of this violence or the disrespect that the vandals accord to our laws? Are human rights not being impinged by random acts of violence daily? What about the human rights of policemen who have to take on multiple responsibilities from controlling traffic to fining people for littering, to VIP protection to road rage from uncouth citizens? In the US, if a policeman is killed or hurt, the cops will move heaven and earth to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
It is time that our government also takes stern action against anyone who acts against the State or destroys public property. Such offenders should be taken to a fast- track court and awarded one year of community service.
Only then will they learn about ‘cause’ and ‘effect’. Let them build roads for the Army or the Border Security Force or send them to boot camp, I say. Let no one get away with rioting and vandalising public property. This is not what Gandhiji taught us. He abhorred violence. It is time we act, and act forcefully.