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Delhi has wild west, and east and south...

Comparing our city to the wild west perhaps would not be amiss. No one thinks anything about carrying a gun and worse still, using it, writes Soni Sangwan in Freehand.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2004 00:21 IST
FREEHAND | Soni Sangwan
FREEHAND | Soni Sangwan

Comparing our city to the wild west perhaps would not be amiss. No one thinks anything about carrying a gun and worse still, using it. A Ghaziabad builder is not scared of using his licensed rifle to shoot his son through the head.

A spurned lover in Gurgaon does not think twice before putting a bullet into the object of his desire. A minor altercation on the road leads an Optra driver to shoot at a person in an Indica. Issues over a scooter parked obstructively in a narrow lane in Tughlakabad are enough to provoke a businessman to call in reinforcements in the form of his brothers who have guns and are ready to shoot to kill.

It's a dangerous combination when a weapon finds its way into the hands of someone whose threshold of tolerance is low and there are triggering factors abound. Prof Aroona Broota, psychologist, sees this tendency of people wanting to carry weapons as a pathology of the mind. Carrying a weapon in itself is an invitation to commit crime. With tolerance levels dipping and aggression becoming a way of life, she sees our society moving towards decivilisation.

When people start pulling guns on each other in an urban setting we see it as a symptom of tolerance levels dipping. But what we do not see is that this is a way of life in the villages of western UP and Bihar. We think of ourselves as an urban society and a civilised lot. But in reality, we are losing values, relying only on material gains and heading towards becoming decivilised.

In this situation, any small incident can trigger an extreme reaction. Dr Jitendra Nagpal, psychiatrist, explains this as a result of low frustration tolerance. While earlier generations may have handled rejection in love by pining for the unobtainable lover, today's spurned Romeo would rather throw acid on the girl's face if not just kill her off as was done in Gurgaon.

Aggression seems to be turning into a coping mechanism. Any situation that goes contrary to one's expectations or wishes, is reacted to with anger. If someone scratches my car, I will shoot him. If my son objects to my drinking, I will kill him. If the girl does not respond to my proposal, I will kill her. Instead of visiting these situations with an attempt to find out how bad is the damage to my car or is my drinking really getting out of hand or what is it about me that makes the girl reject me, and trying to look for solutions or self improvement, aggression becomes the answer.

Its time someone stops the clock before tolerance levels drop completely and the decivilisation process becomes irreversible.

First Published: Feb 16, 2004 00:21 IST