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Fleeting moments

December 25, 2019

Angry nation

Opinion

December 25, 2019

The storming of the PIC by lawyers has remained a hot topic since the despicable incident occurred. It has been debated on TV screens and has occupied space in newspaper columns. Instead of blaming the lawyers or doctors for it, let’s ask ourselves why we have become an angry nation. Why do people ignore the law and resort to blatant show of force?

Doctors and lawyers are supposedly the educated classes of society. To press for their demands, doctors go on strikes and stop attending to patients; lawyers for the same reason often take law into their own hands and resort to hooliganism. Locking up judges in courtrooms and beating up policemen on duty outside the courts has been a common scene since the lawyers’ movement. Lawyers’ groups brazenly violate the very law that they’re expected to uphold.

Both professional classes betray what Plato said: “The intelligent men may have same violent and unsocial impulses as the ignorant men, but surely they will control them better and slip less often into imitation of the beast.” If going on a rampage in a hospital or roughing up a judge in his courtroom is not beastly, what is it?

Scuffles between two parties outside the courts is an event that doesn’t raise eyebrows anymore. Sometimes it’s a case involving honour when a girl married someone against the will of her family. Families of both bride and groom gather outside the court for a hearing and suddenly tempers fly high and an exchange of fisticuffs ensues. The newly-weds too get their share of thrashing. What a way to begin matrimonial life.

The crime of killing for honour by itself is so disgusting. Such crimes occur more frequently in culturally conservative regions in the country. Instead of settling disputes by either reconciling or parting ways peacefully, people take the law into their own hands and go on a killing spree. Women are the worst sufferers.

When observing public behaviour on the whole, it seems society suffers from a deep sense of frustration and anger. When an event as trivial as a motorcyclist bruising a car results in the car’s driver kicking the motorcyclist in the face and whipping out a pistol, there’s something psychologically wrong with society. Such an event should not be treated in isolation; it represents the character of society in general. We are sinking into a culture of anger, intolerance and physical violence.

Instead of showing patience for dissenting views, we tend to mock and ridicule them. Even during discussions on TV, when a representative of one political party argues a point, his counterpart from the other party puts on a sneering smile. As if the former had been talking humbug. Mind you, the participants on TV shows are usually a select lot. Regrettably, some politicians in the last few years have behaved irresponsibly when addressing their political opponents.

Political differences are part of democracy but when such differences turn acrimonious and develop into personal animosity and vendettas, it deserves looking into it seriously. When top leaders use unparliamentary language against their political opponents and set a trend of intolerance, their followers emulate them as a duty.

With time, our public places have become too noisy. Go for a walk in the public park located in an affluent area such as Model Town, you observe people talking loudly on their cell phones discussing business and personal affairs. It’s embarrassing to see some apparently educated and well-dressed men use street language on the walking track, especially where women walk side by side. Courtesy has disappeared.

What exactly has made our society intolerant and angry? Arguably, our education system is to blame for it. It has failed to produce and nurture thinking minds for them to possess refinements of morality. It’s essentially liberal education that teaches one how to control anger, be tolerant, and resolve disagreements amicably.

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore.

Email: [email protected]