in Opinion

Road rage, Murder, Communalism, Immigrants or Plain Lawlessness?

The killing of Pankaj Narang in Delhi has shook many people at the same time. For some, the concern has been an upper caste Hindu killed by Muslims. For some, it is bothering because the killers are allegedly Bangladeshi immigrants. For me it is quite different and to understand why it is different, you need a little bit of history.

I was brought up in a Bihar which still dreads many a people, even by the thought of it (secular, though). It was a time when Lalu Yadav was at the helm of affairs and Yadavs all over the state had a virtual free hand to do any thing they fancied without even giving two hoots about law, order or any such worthless bookish concepts.

In such a Bihar, my house was in a colony of educated, service class families. A newly formed colony it was, carved out of the land once owned by Yadavas and separated from their village by half a square mile of farmland. In the due course of time, the farms diminished and parted ways to provide a connectivity to the village through our yet preserved colony.

One evening, one of the village boys was driving a tractor through the same road when he misjudged the width of the turn and hit one of the trees of my neighbour’s illustrious orchard. He rushed out to seek the guy and gave him an earful, which the guy completely deserved.

The story should’ve ended there, in all settings governed by civic sense, law and order. But it obviously didn’t. An hour later, that boy of 16-17 years had returned with an army of 15-20 teens from his village. They surrounded my neighbour’s house and had hockey sticks, iron rods and cricket bats to avenge the otherwise forgettable altercation.

Listening to the noise, my father rushed out. Behind him were an anxious wife and a scared kid, me. That night is etched in my memory, my father talked them out of the situation somehow and they returned without physically harming anybody but they still threw stones at my neighbour’s house and a few also hinted at hitting all of us.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]That night ended in peace for that scared kid but not every scared kid is that lucky.[/pullquote]

There were a number of reasons why I couldn’t live in Patna after my 10th examinations. Lawlessness was the most important.

Mainstream media has been calling the murder, a ‘road rage’. I wouldn’t even bother if it was indeed, a road rage killing. Road rages are in the heat of the moment. No one is thinking and something terrible happens. But this wasn’t some kind of a rage, it was a retaliation to a simple altercation. It was a murder, in front of the whole society, the victim’s family, the guy’s scared eight year old kid.

This was an absence of the fear of law and it is much more serious an incident that you can imagine. Another inaction in the name of minority, vote bank, juvenile or mob attack and you wouldn’t know, what monster it would turn into. Take it from a guy who has lived it.