By Razi Iqbal
Edited by Nandita Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
Today I wish to share a true story. Walking through the Kamla Nagar market last week, I saw a very usual scene: two-three men arguing about something, while twenty make a circle around them as if there is a play going on. We all have seen so many similar incidents in the past that they don’t bother us anymore. However, this one was different. It personally got me thinking whether mutual respect exists amongst individuals in our society. This one will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The argument was between a roadside florist, not more than thirty years in age, and an elderly individual well over sixty. The topic was, as it generally is in this part of the country, over parking space. Seeing the age difference, one would expect the shouting and swearing to be at its minimum, but expectation is generally something not to be trusted. The humble looking elder was struggling to stand against the youngster, who was shouting and abusing continuously at the top of his voice as the ‘audience’ looked on. The old man was trying to pacify the youngster and let go of the matter, but to no avail. The youngster also had two three men on his side acting as his yes men as if paid by him to do the same. In addition, the old man was subjected to frequent pushing by his counterpart, who seemed in no mood to end the facade. It all got me thinking.
We have been born and brought up in a society where respect for our elders is taken for granted. We have all been raised by a code of conduct where increasing our pitch, let alone shouting, is a sign of impertinence. Where has the sense of morality gone which used to govern us? How on earth can such a scene be created in public with twenty men acting as passive lookers and no one intervening in between? Why did my friend and I keep ‘thinking’ and do nothing?. Was this how that youngster talks to his father at home? The situation was painful to look at, and my thoughts afterwards were worse.
I still haven’t got to the the worst part. On walking ahead after thinking that I could not make much of a difference, I saw two policemen relaxing on their motorbike and enjoying the scene, as if they had come to watch a movie. While attempting not to raise my voice, I somehow managed to ask them to intervene and handle the situation. Trust me, I haven’t seen more languid a stroll than that of those policemen. I couldn’t do much except eke out abuses for them in thin air (only thinking in retrospect that perhaps making a video of theirs would have been a better option.) Is this what they are paid for? Is looking and enjoying a senior citizen of this country being molested a part of their job description?
I wonder if that youngster has a heart. I don’t think the youngster has ever come across any definition of ‘humility’ in his life. I do think that reaching that low a level of behaviour takes some “lack of heart.” I am no one to judge if this is indeed where my whole generation is headed, but I do know that what I saw last week is something I’m not going to easily forget. The question on ethics and humility remains unanswered.Razi is a second year economics student at Shri Ram college of commerce, Delhi university. A cricket fanatic and an avid reader, Razi believes that ‘the big bang theory’ and his passion for biking provide him the necessary fuel in his life. His interests in economics lie in psychology based subjects like game theory and behavioral economics. His focus in life right now is on the subject ‘how to best enjoy college life’. You can email him [email protected] .