Mob Fury

Whenever there are road accidents or public demonstrations, the first casualty is government property. Video footage of smashed windscreens and charred remains of public buses are flashed on your television screens even as the reporters question the efficacy of the government in curbing the menace on roads. What nobody questions is the blatant destruction of property amounting to crores. Sure, all of it is owned by the government, and in a sense no one owns it directly. So does that give us the right to do go around vandalizing public property?A blue line mows down a kid, smash the bus. Government does not grant quota to a particular section of Indians, set fire to buses. A call centre cab driver overruns a pedestrian, thrash him till he’s dead. That’s the kind of mob reaction I am talking of, where the verdict by the people is a knee jerk reaction without stopping to analyze the situation.An interesting aspect of road accidents is that no matter whose fault it is, the person driving the bigger vehicle is deemed as the culprit. In this regard, I recall an incident when my colleagues were travelling by the office cab, an Innova. It was early morning and the speed of the cab was around 50-60 kms/hr, a bit on the higher side considering that cabs are supposed to drive at 40 kms/hr in Delhi. However40 km/hr does seem a little slow especially when there is no traffic. Suddenly a smaller car ( I forget the details), rammed into the Innova from the opposite direction and that too on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, there was no casualty apart from the superficial damages to the cars. A few minutes later, a mob materialized out of nowhere and started thrashing the cab driver. What happened eventually is another story. However, the reason I’ve mentioned this incident is that no matter whose fault it is, the mob delivers its verdict according to whom it perceives as stronger and hence the transgressor. What is most interesting is that the mob is never ever brought to book. As they say, there is safety in numbers and Indian mobs take this truism to an altogether new level!