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Mobocracy dangerous for democracy

  By Vijay Darda | 23-07-2018

Who is nursing and encouraging the crazy crowd that lies in waiting to pounce upon and kill anyone?

It is difficult to comprehend as to what has happened to our country? Mobocracy is taking over. Any issue is enough to trigger an attack, and the crowd goes berserk. The victim is beaten to death. The term ‘mob lynching’ has acquired a new currency in English. The word is said to have originated in the 18th century and is attributed to two bothers named Charles Lynch and Bob Lynch. It is said that in the 18th century US, black people used to be killed by mobs in some parts of America. These two brothers are accused of whipping the crowd into frenzy to attack the blacks. Caring two hoots for the law of the land then, they had made their own what came to be known as Lynching law.

History tells us that in many parts of the world extra judicial killing by the crowd was the norm; its evidence is found in India too. Countless innocent women branded witches used to be hunted and brutally killed by the mob in this country. But civilisation spread with the passage of time. The light of education dispelled the darkness of ignorance. The rule of law was established and the number of such incidents came down. I am not referring to the riots in this case because the mentality behind the riots is different. In Nagaland, you will find many such houses where human skulls are strung and hung prominently, and the head of the house proudly tells the visitor that his ancestors cut the heads of so many enemies. There prevailed the jungle law according to which he who had the stick got the buffalo. But nowadays the rule of law prevails, but why are the incidents of mob lynching happening with such alarming frequency. Is there no control over the crowd?

In fact, the way the mobs are lynching innocents presently, is completely different from what happened in the old times. Statistics show that between 2015 and 2018, 66 people have been lynched by mobs. Someone accused of keeping beef at home was brutally done to death or some other was lynched by being falsely accused of cow-smuggling. Someone was suspected as child lifter, gheraoed and done to death by the faceless crowd. There was a strange incident in the Pakud block of Bihar. A young man arrived there for some work. When he saw some children, he started sharing chocolates with them. The villagers considered him a child thief and soon a mob gathered and lynched him. In Dhulia district of Maharashtra, five innocents were mistaken for child lifters and brutally murdered. Two brothers who had come from overseas were also lynched by the mob.

This crowd is so frenzied that it is difficult to escape. In Jharkhand, a team of self-styled cow vigilantes followed the car of Alimuddin Ansari for 15 kilometres. When Alimuddin stopped the car, a group of cow-vigilantes shouted that beef was being transported in the car. This crowd did not even wait to see what was there in the car. The car was set on fire and Alimuddin thrashed so severely that subsequently he died! In this case, the name of a BJP leader came to light. Fast track court awarded life sentence to many accused but when they were released on bail by the High Court, Union minister Jayant Sinha was there to felicitate and garland the accused. What message does this gesture give out? Those accused of mob lynching are standing with garlands round their neck beside Jayant Sinha. Yashwant Sinha, father of Jayant Sinha himself, was hurt by the act. He tweeted, “First I was a worthless father of a worthy son, but now the roles have reversed. I do not support my son’s antics.”

I am surprised the BJP has maintained stoic silence on the antics of Jayant Sinha. No action has been taken against him so far. Ideological differences are okay but such differences act as poison for the nation. It will divide the nation. The question that pops up in my mind is: Are these killings being perpetrated by my countrymen? This country belongs to Buddha, Mahavir, Gandhi, saints and sufis. What has happened to this country? This is the age when we need to touch the sky, become stronger, make villages and towns prosperous, make the youth power a world heritage and take education to every household. In such an age, hatred is being spread in the name of cow vigilantism. The problem of cow slaughter was started by the British imperialists as a part of their strategy to divide and rule. The British have quit but left behind their thinking. The formula of divide and rule is still continuing. Whoever is playing this game is the enemy of the country. It is beyond comprehension where these people want to lead the country to! All should understand that the people being killed are Indians only. If we have to take this country on the path of progress, it is time to stop the game of divide and rule in the name of caste, religion and sect. I recollect the lines of Gopaldas Neeraj:

Ab to majhab koi aisa bhi chalaya jaye,

Jisme insan ko insan banaya jaye!

Believe me, if mobocracy gathers steam, it will become a grave threat to the country’s democracy. Unfortunately, the present dispensation is not making any effort to curb this danger. The Supreme Court has understood the severity of the situation and said in firm words that this mobocracy can not be tolerated. The Central government should pass legislation. Union home minister Rajnath Singh stated that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure law and order. Let states handle such cases. I know that it is the responsibility of the states but when the problem has become nationwide, the Central government must intervene. The Union home minister can not abdicate his responsibility by shifting the entire responsibility on the states. The minister in the government takes oath in the name of Constitution that they will not indulge in any kind of discrimination.

It is the responsibility of the Central government to make rigid laws to control this mobocracy because if the mobocracy takes over, we will be pushed back to the dark age when might was right. Politicians also have to ensure that they should not encourage the people who are part of this mobocracy. Organisations such as Islamic State and Taliban were born from mobocracy. We should be cautious on this count.

We should not merely hum this prayer of Gandhiji everyday but practice it in our life:

Ishwar Allah tero naam,

Sabko sanmati de bhagwan!

Before I conclude…

Some people win hearts with their dedication to work. Two jawans of Punjab traffic police, Gurudhian Singh and Gurdev Singh, are two such men. Although the Jirakpur flyover was inundated in knee-deep water, they stood their ground and continued to control the traffic. Actress Gul Panag saw them and clicked them performing their duty with dedication. She uploaded their photos on Twitter handle. The photos came to the notice of senior police officers and now the two jawans have been rewarded. I appreciate such dutiful jawans.


Is this what our democracy means where the mob goes on rampage and does its will while the government remains a mute spectator? Is this our very own country where a Union minister clicks his photograph with those accused of mob lynching and the government takes no action against him? The incidents of frenzied mob taking on the country are on the rise. Somewhere a frenzied crowd kills a person in the name of cow vigilantism and at some other place a person is falsely accused of lifting a child. To save democracy, we need to curb the mentality that encourages mobocracy.


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Mobocracy dangerous for democracy


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