Tuesday, June 19, 2018
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Rising Crime
Change in outlook critical
By Dr Oishee Mukherjee
Crimes are on the rise in most countries of the Third World and India is no exception. This increase may be attributed to different factors, the most important being the existence of materialist tendencies in society. Materialism has made the individual more aware of his needs and the craving for these has increased. But, in recent times, this lust for more and more has sadly led to a phenomenal jump in crimes of various nature.

The so-called progress of society has become incompatible with such rise as criminal behaviour has become manifest, both among the highly educated as also among the illiterate. Sociologists and psychologists have found that the human individual has become more jealous, more self-centred, more revengeful and more violent in general. These are, no doubt, very unhealthy signs of a truly transformed society.

As is well known, crime reports are rampant in the country, most of which are revealed in the media - whether of murder, rape or trafficking of girls and women. The aggressive behaviour that is currently evident is a cause of concern. Experts believe that this trend would be difficult to control though such attempts have to be made with all seriousness.

One may mention here there is a trend of controlling everything - the rich want to control resources, while the politicians and bureaucrats want to control power and authority. The quest for power, authority and money has driven human beings to criminal behaviour as there is an instinct to get at that by hook or by crook, by honest or dishonest means. The reason for rampant dishonesty is also the reason for such trends in human behaviour.

The world is today being controlled by people with wealth and authority and, as such, the young generation is also attracted to this. More so because of the fact that a section of these, using unethical means and even indirect criminal strategies, is being able to increase wealth creation for them. Recall the recent Oxfam report which has pointed to the widening inequality between the rich and the poor. It found that 58 per cent of the country's wealth is cornered by just one per cent, higher than the global figure of 50 per cent, according to the study titled 'An Economy for the 99 per cent'. In a startling revelation, the study also found that a mere 57 billionaires in the country now have same ($216 billion) as that of the bottom 70 per cent population.

Values in life are eroding fact and violence and aggression has become the order of the day. What is more distressing is the fact that society has not yet been able to define the limitation of our wants, given the fact that there is talk the world over for sustainable development that is, conservation of resources for future generations. If politicians, the likes of which we are seeing today continue to be around, it is quite natural to assume what would be the future of our country and of our society.

The criminal behaviour is directly related to non-fulfilment of wants, mostly of people who can do away with this. Murder, rape and violence are manifestations of this behaviour and the craving and greed for more and more. On the other hand, poor people commit suicide when they are unable to sustain themselves and sometimes kill the whole family due to poverty and squalor. The incidence of crime among the poor is much less than those of the upper sections.

The increase in crime has to be tackled at any cost but that would require a fundamental change in our development policies, in our attitude to life and our behaviour towards the community. There cannot be such a huge disparity in living standards and also expectations that the oppressed and the exploited would not rise in revolt. As such, the Gandhian or the Buddhist attitude to life and living may have to be adopted if society has to be turned into one that is peaceful and satisfied.

It cannot be a practice that the rich would consume three-fourths of the resources and waste a huge amount, while the poor would lay in poverty and squalor, without even having two square meals a day. The satisfaction of the basic wants of all sections of society has to be ensured so that the community can live a hassle-free life. Only then would violence disappear and there would be peace and happiness in society.

Simultaneously, there is need for awareness generation about the impending threat in view of the widening disparity and increasing unemployment and, of course, the spurt in crimes in society. There has to be a drastic change in planning and development and more concern of politicians towards social welfare and community building. The youth should not be allowed to remain idle, specially those who attain education as involving them in productive work is the key to social development. No amount of policing will help contain crime within desired limits.

Therefore, planning has to be such that is Gandhian in nature, involving the people in community development. Gandhiji's talked of political and economic decentralisation and, as such the top-down approach has to give way to bottom-up approach. While the government has rightly embarked on a massive programme of skill development, simultaneously there has to be employment generation or entrepreneurship development of the youth - the new entrants to the labour force.

At the same time, there has to be awareness generation at all levels that our tradition and heritage has all along talked of non-violence to resolve issues relating to social injustice. The young generation has to be motivated to abhor crimes and work for social development of the community. In this connection, it needs to be mentioned that civil society has to be given a more important role in carrying out government programmes at the grass-root level rather than delegating them to government officials. But this has yet to become a reality though these organisations have better reach at the base levels and are also cost effective.

The much desired change in society has to come about at any cost to make it more healthy and happy. How and when the desired transformation will come about needs to be seen but unless there is a change in the outlook and thinking of the human individual, serious problems in socio-economic imbalance would occur in society. Thus, to bring down criminal activities, this change is desired at the earliest. The role of the government in this regard is no doubt crucial.


News Updated at : Wednesday, April 19, 2017
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