Dilliwalon ko gussa kyon aata hai?

The world is becoming (has already become?) an intolerant place. Other than being individualistic to the point of excluding and avoiding other people — including near and dear ones — the intolerance is turning into manic rage, enough to kill another person who rub them the wrong way often on piffling grounds. I had written about this in an earlier post but with the increasing incidents of similar cases, I thought another post was in order. Also, our very own Dilli seems to have left the rest of the country behind in this department.

The data compiled by Delhi Police is alarming. In the last year alone, they have statistics to prove that at least 100 cases of murder in the city were provoked by trivial incidents and the score for the last 5 years is nearly 400. Truly, Delhi is fast gaining the dubious distinction of being the crime capital too. Sample these:

  • A young man was shot dead when he accidentally knocked down a plate of chicken tikka.
  • Another man was killed because he refused to give a cigarette to a friend.
  • One was killed for misplacing his roommate’s keys.
  • A liquor shop assistant was shot dead when he told a customer that a particular brand of drinks was not available.

It makes one feel sick. More importantly, is it so easy to get a gun or other lethal weapons in this city?

The instances given above don’t include the victims of road rage, the latest one being the crushing to death of Wilson Jolly in Khan Market.

Lack of tolerance is definitely at the root of all this. Sympathy, empathy and restraint are alien emotions to an increasing number of people today. A beggar at the traffic signal evokes impatience and irritation for disturbing our reverie/phone conversation or browsing, rather than sympathy. Or, it could be our mother or grandmother who is nagging us to do something or the child that refuses to obey us – anything in fact that frustrates us in some way makes us lose our temper.

Road rage is something we all face at least once a day if we are regular drivers. It is not about getting killed or even being bashed up. It can be caused by someone who incessantly honks while dangerously tailing you, overtakes or even heckles – verbal assault is as traumatic as other forms of road rage. While the sane amongst us would quietly let the maniac and his actions pass, those who are high-strung would react, resulting in violence.

There is a quote in Tamil saying, Aathirakkaranukku buddhi mattu, meaning ‘an angry person is a fool without reasoning power.’ We call it ‘blind fury’ because we can’t see what we are doing in the moment of uncontrolled anger. I have seen otherwise sane men and women break objects; throw things at people; bang their heads against walls and hurt and even kill themselves or others.

Some of the excuses given for rage-related violence are the stresses of urban living, poor roads and bad traffic management. If that were so, why is Delhi leading in killings related to minor provocations, since the road conditions are far better than say, Bangalore or Chennai and even Mumbai? And as for stresses go, don’t all the big metros have their share of it? Can one honestly say that the Mumbaikar has less stress than the Delhiite? So why does the Dilliwala have such a short fuse? Is the Delhiite so spoiled that he can’t stand a fellow citizen and must clobber/kill him if the latter even slightly annoys him in some way? It would appear that everyone and sundry  owns a gun in this city.

According to Chennai police, most cases of road rage in the city go unreported since the matter is sorted out between the two parties without them turning violent. Still, classes have come up where commuters and drivers are being taught the art of defending themselves against road rage, much like classes in self defence for women to protect themselves against eve-teasers and molesters.

For those who try to justify anger as being inherited, it might come as a surprise that it is not true. Anger is an emotion and so cannot be inherited. However, personality traits that trigger anger responses might be inherited. It is actually more a learned behaviour; as when children who observe their parents always arguing and indulging in shouting matches grow up into argumentative adults themselves.

Not long ago, anger was associated with bad behaviour while restraint and control were considered to be polite. But today anger has become synonymous with power, strength and superiority. What’s more, the angry person feels self-righteous about the emotion. Anyone who is accommodating and considerate is either considered weak or the behaviour dubbed as sham. Putting oneself before everyone else is a virtue and highly recommended. Don’t we proudly claim, ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. I will do what I want.’ The result is unbridled rage on the road and elsewhere when someone gets in the way of our being ‘true to ourselves’.

It is high time that we learnt the time-tested virtue of self-restraint and tolerance. For other than harming one’s fellows because of aggressive behaviour, we are also harming ourselves by losing control over our emotions. Raised blood pressure, chances of strokes, ulcers and manic depression are only a few of the disorders that we invite upon ourselves by giving in to our tempers. So how do we control anger? Counting up to ten (and then pulling the trigger)? Drinking a glass of water (before bashing up the next person who annoys us)? Acting calm like the Buddha Himself (while that maniac is tailing our car)?

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

The way things are going violent anger should be classified as a social offence punishable by law. Maybe too, anger management should become part of school/college curriculum and subjects of workshops held at workplaces. Delhi Police is reportedly mulling over the idea of sending aggressive perpetrators of road rage for anger management courses. But what about the killers? Don’t they manage to get away too lightly?

I have a suggestion: it should be made part of the process of getting the driving license. Just like passing the basic road test for driving, the applicant should be given training in dealing with provocations while driving and these should be conducted by qualified professionals. Oh, I know the suggestion is far fetched and virtually impossible to implement in our corruption ridden and over populous country, but maybe – just maybe – it might work.

Do you have better suggestions? Do share them if you do.

43 comments

  1. This is not just the case with metros, you will come across these aggressive behavior even in small towns (I belong to one) and I don’t think this has something to do with being someone big/powerful either. Although these situations would not mostly lead to murders in small towns. Great topic addressed here. Even we see ourselves in a fit of rage every once in a while on trivial matters. And bringing up this topic would just set a reminder in our minds when we are on the verge of bursting out with anger the next time.

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    1. There is something about the metros that brings out both the best and worst in people. But crime is definitely going up and for very trivial reasons people are getting murdered. It is as if to say that my eo is bigger than your life. I have seen people break things and hit others in everyday life to vent their frustrations and the line dividing that anger with the rage that kills is very thin indeed. As far as small towns go, I would say that murders are not uncommon there either, but it is usually over property or other issues, not about being refused a cigarette or getting one’s plate of food knocked down.

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  2. This is not the problem of Delhi alone but of humans in general,more often than not violence is an outlet to day to day frustration and a spark is enough to ignite it.I feel no amount self defense training is going to actually make a difference,what we need to learn is to keep in check that temper of ours,because when we are angry we tend do things which we might regret for a long time to come.Stay Calm stay safe.

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    1. No Wj, not just the problem of Delhiites alone, but the figures do point at a steep difference with the other metros which are clambering on to the rage bandwagon. the self defence is for those who are at the receiving end, because who is going to teach the angry morons any self restraint? So let’s at least save ourselves, right?

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  3. You have said it. Everybody is a somebody in Delhi, or so they think. The power goes to the head which is already zooming due to extreme weather and new found money. Culture? Whats that! We are like this only..loud, brash and angry…

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    1. Yeah, money and power are a deadly combo. But more than everything, it is the selfishness in people that is making for intolerant attitudes and triggers off the rage at being baulked.

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  4. Who gets angry…we don’t get angry..you dare to malign us….we are a peace loving people….just for saying all you said about the people of Delhi….I am going to shoot you, drive the car over you many times and …blah blah….how dare you, you….!@#$%^&*()….grrrrr…..grrrr…

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    1. Ha ha. Spoken like a true ‘angry young man’ indeed! And I have become a statistic 😀

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    2. love this..Very apt.

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  5. And it is unstoppable. Just read this news “a slight scratch to his car drove the pilot to towering rage, making him drive his car over the offending driver four times in the upscale Khan Market in south Delhi…”

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    1. Oh yes, I have mentioned that too in my post 🙂 It is all about the right to be angry I think. There seems to be no limit to the atrocious list of ‘rights’ that we citizens demand from the society.

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  6. Wonderful post… true talk, enjoyed it!

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    1. Thanks Short Poems. You have a wonderful blog. Just visited it. 🙂

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  7. A few dilliwale are like that please don’t generalize it.Poor dilliwalas ! these days crime is profoundly affecting delhites ,if a few are violating laws and killing people in a fit of rage then those who are suffering are also dilliwalas.I feel strict laws for those should be made to constraint their thoughts.
    Great subject to discuss and can’t be overlooked.

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    1. Hey Pratibha, I have nothing against any Indian anywhere. I was merely quoting stats and drawing parallels between other metros. Like you say the sufferers are also Dilliwale, which is why we have to find ways and means to punish the criminals very strictly without allowing them to get away lightly or completely.

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  8. The situation prevalent all over is affecting everyone,no doubt about that

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    1. Good things don’t spread fast, but such trends catch on really fast and spread like the canker.

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  9. I think crime in Delhi is more to do with the absence of any one dominant culture like that in Kolkata , Mumbai or Chennai. Thats why criminals and eve teasers etc find it easy to assimilate in the crowd. The police is also lax and that doesnt help the cause at all. Although now, media activism is bringing some good yields.

    I do differ on generalizing ‘Dilliwallah’ as angry / disrespectful / eve teaser etc. In same manner, every Mumbaikar hates “non-Manoos”, every Kolkatan hates Marwaris and every Tamilian supports LTTE.

    As for “bade baap ki aulaads” 😛 .. common, thats the same with them everywhere in India.

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    1. I have said in the post that the trend is becoming rife everywhere but that Delhi leads in the crime graph and not that Delhi alone is like that. Do read it again please. Btw, Mumbai has been an amalgam of all peoples for a very long time now but Delhi has become a demographic hotpot only since a few decades. I tend to agree with Magiceye that this being the seat of power gives people a heady sense of recklessness.

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      1. I didnt say amalgam.. its the absence of any one dominant culture here. Mumbai also has people from different walks of life but majority of the popltn belongs to a larger Marathi culture. This very absence coupled with the attitude of police, gives a sense of security to criminals .

        I agree with the ‘seat of power’ thing though. Thats y i said that media activism nwdays is forcing police to shed the lax attitude .. which should yield good results hopefully.

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        1. What you say is very true. But Mumbai leads in the big crimes which are organised and more terrifying. Faith in the police is highly eroded due to their attitude and their being lax with petty criminals is definitely boosting the latter’s brazenness. I take any media activism with a large pinch of salt since their credibility is open to question as well.

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  10. How about insisting FM’s to play soothing music during rush hours?Or should anger management start at home?

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    1. It should most certainly start at home. I have said in the post that anger is learned behaviour and children often imbibe what they see their elders at home do. But playing soothing music on FM is a good idea — provided the brats listen to it. More often than not, they play stuff like munni and sheela which adds to the adrenalin rush, I guess 🙂

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  11. very concerning point brought up.
    but i see no respite.

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    1. Yes, because basic natures and learned behaviour don’t change overnight. The other alternative is severe punishment which can be a deterrent.

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  12. Really a lesson of patience should be made mandatory while issuing vehicle license.Rage or anger is social evil-an outcome of modern society where every one taught to compete in life rather than co-operate.This added pressure since childhood manifests as rage.

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    1. I think it is all due to the culture of ‘me, mine, myself’ that makes for egoistic people who can’t brook any opposition or interference in their selfish lives.

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  13. I wonder why is everyone after we poor ‘dilliwalas’ these days ? 😦
    although there is no denying the fact that intolerance levels have surely hiked but that is applicable to everyone no?
    and according to me , media more often than not plays a negative role in publicizing these acts a bit too much and eventually turning it too be a center stage for news channels and magazines.
    such incidents should be denounced completely and harsher punishments should be awarded..that could save the scene a bit maybe.

    PS – I’m glad i once again found ur blog (remember the grandmom and me post?) I now blog at blogspot, hope to see you there sometimes maam 🙂

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    1. No one is ‘after’ Dilliwale. Btw, i am a Dilliwali too, but there is no denying the fact that the capital is leading in crimes of every kind. These are crimes that should be highlighted instead of the ones on minor rapes and other such crimes that ultimately only harm the children because of all the publicity. The media has to learn restraint too, as even that is a form of violence!

      I will surely visit your new blog, Sarah and I do remember the grandmom post. My granddaughter left a couple of weeks ago and I am amusing myself with her videos now 😦

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  14. Today machoness comes from outside things ,not mental or even physical strength.We play out all our competitive and warring instincts on the roads.Maybe there is no outlet for all that Testosterone bubbling inside.
    Give them some solid exercise or make them ride horses where to be fast you better be tough !

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    1. That is perfect advice for the restless and aggressive youth today, Varsha. Tire them out physically so that they don’t harm anyone or themselves 😀

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  15. It’s the harsh climate, harsher people, complete lack of consideration for others and a missing civic sense. Plus there is a Daddy cool protecting his rich brats. It is the unhealthy nexus of money and power that makes these beasts think they are invincible.

    I completely second your suggestion for making “violent anger” a punishable offense.

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    1. You said it. The Daddy cool factor gives their brats and the other uncivilized people all the courage to go out their and ‘get ’em’. Name dropping, string pulling, you name it and it is all done to get away scot-free with every kind of misdemeanor.

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  16. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vineet Rajan. Vineet Rajan said: Dilliwalon ko gussa kyon aata hai? http://goo.gl/Q35nq #dilli #india […]

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  17. We can’t take No for an answer
    We have inflated egos
    The dare factor always shows the worst side of us

    In Delhi, where anger is on almost everyone’s the tip of the tongue and we can give abuses in one breath without a pause. The power of Parathas shows in the punches we are ready to blow.

    Uff.. So much for the bada dil and all such jazz… our philosophies, need to be re-imbibed

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    1. Actually i should have made the title to read, Dilliwalon ko ‘zyada’ gussa…? From Ayyangar’s reply and other instances we keep reading in the papers, murders for trifling things is definitely on the rise everywhere. But of course, the power of the paratha can’t be discounted and the jumbo-sized ego…well it tells its own story.

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  18. A well timed post. It surprises me how ppl can go so out of control in anger… that on small issues. Inflated egos?

    btw, I wrote a post almost bringing home the same point that the subtle behaviour is gone… ppl want to be aggresive to be heard.. and soft spokenness is taken as weakness. if u find time, pl read ‘Demise of Subtelity’ on my blog.

    Regards

    RESTLESS

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    1. Just came back from your blog. Isn’t uncanny how similar the thought process of both posts is? But isn’t it a vicious circle — being vociferous to be heard and the other person becoming even more thick-skinned to be slightly more annoying the next time? I don’t know. All i know is that good manners are fast disappearing from the face of the earth into the black hole, as you put it 🙂

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      1. Hey Zephyr! haha well said! yes it surprises me… the timing that is!!

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  19. Just yesterday there was a news that a ‘Bhajan singer’ in Lucknow was killed by irritated audience for not singing some vulgar ‘bhojpuri’ songs. I totally agree that self-restraint and tolerance are the mantra for our conduct in daily life but it is not inherited.As a learned & educated people, one has to cultivate the habit to be calm, self restraint and be rational.Unfortunately, we in general are most lacking in adopting the right kind of attitude.

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    1. Violent reactions are apparently ‘catching’ from the reports of such cases countrywide. We need to become a little less self-centered if we are going to bring about any change in things. Selfishness and ego are the causes for most violence around us.

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  20. the perception that people in power get away with murder fuels the frustration and power is equated with rudeness. more so in delhi because that is the seat of power. the leading example is jessica’s murder just because she refused to give a drink. many such examples can be quoted but the emphasis should be on solutions. the only solution is swift justice.

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    1. Swift justice and harsh punishment. Both should go hand in hand to effect any change in the state of affairs. Sometimes I wonder if the Jessica Lal case did not trigger off this whole bizarre consequence of shooting those who cross you in some way. You are right about Delhi being the seat of power. I have heard people say that when someone is guilty of some act of aggression and are about to be nabbed, they make a call to some mama, chacha or tau in the corridors of power in Delhi and manage to get away scot-free.

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