Our Monkey Sena

Mob mentality depicting decline in Indian moral values.

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I was on the road in my car lost in thought when I found myself behind a city bus. The ramshackle monstrosity lumbered in front of me. I honked the horn and waited for the heavy weight to give me space to pass. Much to my chagrin my clamour had little effect on the machine and it continued its noisy crawl right in the middle of the road.

I cursed under my breath, resigned myself to my fate and started moving right behind the run down vehicle. Having nothing better to do, I started to study the rear of the bus. The damn thing was almost falling apart. The missing paint at many places marked the many valiant battles the machine had fought on the city roads over the many years of its existence and the reckless bravery of its driver.

Then something caught my attention. All the lights and their glass covers had been painstakingly shattered by some enterprising soul. I wondered: was the damage a result of the numerous scrapes the bus had had in the unruly traffic of the city? No. No dent marks near them. Who could have derived glee from shattering the glass and lights? What possible pleasure could one derive from destroying public property?

As the questions filled in my mind I recollected a sight from the past. The sound of shattering glass and the euphoric shout of victory took me by surprise. I turned my head to find three kids who had just destroyed a street light with their catapult. A great satisfaction engulfed them as if they had performed some great duty for the nation. What a shot!!! As I watched in horror the monkeys turned their attention to sniping at unsuspecting birds. I yelled at them and they grinned and ran away.

I was sure the city bus had been visited by people of similar value systems. This brought me to the larger question: why do we derive sadistic pleasure from destruction, causing irritation to others by jumping queues, throwing filth around and other similar wild, unruly behavior? We project ourselves as a nation which is the custodian of sanskar. We scoff at the rest of the world for their poor sanskar. Where does this destructive sanskar come from? Have we ever removed our self-created halo around our heads and introspected on our great sanskar? We are considered unruly, corrupt, filthy, and wild by the rest of the world while we gloat over our greatness, glory, sanskar, value systems and mock the world for its ills. Is this not a very high level of hypocrisy? Is it living in denial? Or is it delusion?

How do we fix the sanskar of our young people? A large population of our country is engrossed in how to eke out two meals a day. What sanskar can they give to their kids? Kids grow up learning from each other. They derive pleasure from defying authority and rules. That is their shot at bravery. Being able to do things which they are not supposed to do. What a bang it gives!!! Teenage is the time of life when perhaps even the Almighty is unable to figure out how to wire the brain. It takes Him almost ten years in fixing the wiring by which time the kids become 30+ men.

Today we have a misguided, destructive "Monkey Sena" on our hands which is wrecking our beloved country. If we want India to be a country which is respected worldwide, we as a society have to develop ways to impart good sanskar to our teens as most of them cannot learn it from their homes or other surroundings. We have to ensure that our teens learn about respecting social norms, respecting their seniors, respecting nature, have compassion for others etc.

Friends, please brainstorm with me on how to meet this challenge. Perhaps we will have to catch them very young because once they are in their teens their minds become insulated from and reactive to any wisdom you might pour through their ears.

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