Sunday, February 12, 2012

Darkness

Something in the news that caught my attention recently left my mind numb. A ninth grade student in a Chennai school, stabbed his Hindi teacher to death, perhaps provoked and outraged by the fact that she had complained to his parents about his dwindling academic performance. Complaints about a student's grades and study pattern are ubiquitous in any school- and it goes without saying that it is a teacher's duty to keep track of the same. Students do get irked when they are constantly reminded about such issues, but I simply cannot imagine what could have provoked this teenager to resort to such extreme violence and kill his own teacher! This, in our country that has long prided itself in being an advocate of the guru shishya parampara. This, in our country where the guru or the teacher is looked upon as a person who removes darkness and brings light to the student's life. The very word 'guru' is derived from two Sanskrit syllables- 'gu' meaning shadow and 'ru' meaning he, who disperses them. The Upanishads tell us that a guru is thus called, because he alone has the power to disperse darkness.

So, what could have caused such a thing to happen in our country, and specifically in a city like Chennai, which many people consider to be one of India's cultural capitals? (Indeed, when I was at high school, contemplating choices for college applications, Appa seemed most enthusiastic about colleges in Chennai- simply because it has still managed to preserve its cultural identity despite blending into a cosmopolitan 21st-century city.) Could it be attributed to the current films, news and games that our generation is exposed to, always rife with violence? Is it a sign of a 'Quick Fix' society- a society that is constantly on the lookout for fast, convenient solutions to their problems, regardless of the consequences of those solutions. Does it show that we, as a race, have become more selfish and careless, easily provoked, quickly enraged, by the slightest of things? Have we traded our values for the rapid development everyone likes to talk about? Have we lost our minds to this kind of mindless violence? Have we sacrificed our ethics, our sacred principles, at the altar of materialistic success? What kind of a society have we created? Is this (along with other examples that no longer shock us) a sign that Kali Yuga has finally arrived?

This is probably the first such incident of its kind in India, and hopefully will not trigger similar events across the nation. But dare we forget it? It has raised alarm bells, and the peal of those bells cannot be quietened by the passage of time. I do not have concrete answers, but I know for a fact, that we need to wake up and figure out what's going wrong. Change our education system? Remind students about traditions and values? Demonstrate to them the need to stick to morals and ethics while pursuing success? I really don't know. All that I can think of right now is a prayer that I've been reciting almost every evening, at twilight, in front of an oil lamp, lit at the altar. It goes like this:

Asato maa sad gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrityor maa amritam gamaya.
Om shantih shantih shantih.

The Sanskrit verse asks the Maker to lead us from untruth to that which is true, darkness to the world of light, and death to immortality. This world, going by the examples we see around us, is probably at its darkest stage. May we wake from our deep slumber, and rise to a world of light!

6 comments:

  1. It’s indeed a sad incident in the history of mankind. What propels a young student to indulge in this atrocious behavior? That needs to be analyzed. Rebellious and unhealthy behavior or attitudes in teenagers are actually indicators of deep seated depression.
    I remember reading an article on teenage violence where it was quoted that “violence is a symptom of the issue, not the issue”. Of course media, to a certain extent plays a role in corrupting these young minds. The article also quoted that “the deterioration of parental control and double income among the urban middle class has created a low frustration threshold among teenagers”. “The real issue is not about teenage violence, but about the social structure within which teenagers are fast losing the capacity to cope with stress and frustration”. This is so evident in many suicide cases reported in some of the premier technical institutes in the recent past. So, who is to be blamed? The individual, the society or the family??? That’s a million dollar question!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Violence is a symptom of the issue, not the issue'- Profound, that statement is, Amma!
      So apparently, this is only the tip of the iceberg. :/

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for dropping by my blog! :) Glad you found it so.
      Hope to see you here often, hahaa!

      Delete
  3. This was quite a disturbing piece of news really. I myself am confused if it is the teacher or the student to blame. Sure, we all dislike teachers who constantly nag and criticize, but going as far as killing someone? Something must seriously be wrong with the psyche of the kid. I read somewhere that he was influenced by the movie Agneepath, where the hero takes revenge for his father's death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, sumi, disturbing indeed. OMG. drawing inspiration from bollywood?! Where are we headed? I have cousins around his age (to me they still are small kids), and I shudder to think of someone so young, committing an act as heinous as this. :(

      Delete

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Darkness

Something in the news that caught my attention recently left my mind numb. A ninth grade student in a Chennai school, stabbed his Hindi teacher to death, perhaps provoked and outraged by the fact that she had complained to his parents about his dwindling academic performance. Complaints about a student's grades and study pattern are ubiquitous in any school- and it goes without saying that it is a teacher's duty to keep track of the same. Students do get irked when they are constantly reminded about such issues, but I simply cannot imagine what could have provoked this teenager to resort to such extreme violence and kill his own teacher! This, in our country that has long prided itself in being an advocate of the guru shishya parampara. This, in our country where the guru or the teacher is looked upon as a person who removes darkness and brings light to the student's life. The very word 'guru' is derived from two Sanskrit syllables- 'gu' meaning shadow and 'ru' meaning he, who disperses them. The Upanishads tell us that a guru is thus called, because he alone has the power to disperse darkness.

So, what could have caused such a thing to happen in our country, and specifically in a city like Chennai, which many people consider to be one of India's cultural capitals? (Indeed, when I was at high school, contemplating choices for college applications, Appa seemed most enthusiastic about colleges in Chennai- simply because it has still managed to preserve its cultural identity despite blending into a cosmopolitan 21st-century city.) Could it be attributed to the current films, news and games that our generation is exposed to, always rife with violence? Is it a sign of a 'Quick Fix' society- a society that is constantly on the lookout for fast, convenient solutions to their problems, regardless of the consequences of those solutions. Does it show that we, as a race, have become more selfish and careless, easily provoked, quickly enraged, by the slightest of things? Have we traded our values for the rapid development everyone likes to talk about? Have we lost our minds to this kind of mindless violence? Have we sacrificed our ethics, our sacred principles, at the altar of materialistic success? What kind of a society have we created? Is this (along with other examples that no longer shock us) a sign that Kali Yuga has finally arrived?

This is probably the first such incident of its kind in India, and hopefully will not trigger similar events across the nation. But dare we forget it? It has raised alarm bells, and the peal of those bells cannot be quietened by the passage of time. I do not have concrete answers, but I know for a fact, that we need to wake up and figure out what's going wrong. Change our education system? Remind students about traditions and values? Demonstrate to them the need to stick to morals and ethics while pursuing success? I really don't know. All that I can think of right now is a prayer that I've been reciting almost every evening, at twilight, in front of an oil lamp, lit at the altar. It goes like this:

Asato maa sad gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrityor maa amritam gamaya.
Om shantih shantih shantih.

The Sanskrit verse asks the Maker to lead us from untruth to that which is true, darkness to the world of light, and death to immortality. This world, going by the examples we see around us, is probably at its darkest stage. May we wake from our deep slumber, and rise to a world of light!

6 comments:

  1. It’s indeed a sad incident in the history of mankind. What propels a young student to indulge in this atrocious behavior? That needs to be analyzed. Rebellious and unhealthy behavior or attitudes in teenagers are actually indicators of deep seated depression.
    I remember reading an article on teenage violence where it was quoted that “violence is a symptom of the issue, not the issue”. Of course media, to a certain extent plays a role in corrupting these young minds. The article also quoted that “the deterioration of parental control and double income among the urban middle class has created a low frustration threshold among teenagers”. “The real issue is not about teenage violence, but about the social structure within which teenagers are fast losing the capacity to cope with stress and frustration”. This is so evident in many suicide cases reported in some of the premier technical institutes in the recent past. So, who is to be blamed? The individual, the society or the family??? That’s a million dollar question!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Violence is a symptom of the issue, not the issue'- Profound, that statement is, Amma!
      So apparently, this is only the tip of the iceberg. :/

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for dropping by my blog! :) Glad you found it so.
      Hope to see you here often, hahaa!

      Delete
  3. This was quite a disturbing piece of news really. I myself am confused if it is the teacher or the student to blame. Sure, we all dislike teachers who constantly nag and criticize, but going as far as killing someone? Something must seriously be wrong with the psyche of the kid. I read somewhere that he was influenced by the movie Agneepath, where the hero takes revenge for his father's death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, sumi, disturbing indeed. OMG. drawing inspiration from bollywood?! Where are we headed? I have cousins around his age (to me they still are small kids), and I shudder to think of someone so young, committing an act as heinous as this. :(

      Delete