News Hindi

Opinion: The lynch-mob mentality


Criminal acts, no matter the provocation, do not equal justice. While they may be enjoyed on screen and even provide catharsis, in real life such actions only bring more grief.

Rajeev Pai

It’s shameful and shocking that even a person like actress-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan gives in to mob frenzy and calls for lynching persons accused of rape, that too from her seat in Parliament.

While one can understand, though not condone, some of Mrs Bachchan’s vacuous film colleagues now adorning Parliament making such calls, one expected better from a sensitive artiste who has stood apart in her understated mien and steadfast adherence to an ideology.

Mrs Bachchan, if one is to believe Hindi film lore, did not even approve of some of the Angry Young Man roles played by her husband in his heyday, roles that needed him to take the law into his own hands on screen. For someone so educated and qualified in the arts to fail to see the difference between an accused and a guilty person, between revenge and justice, or between civilized and barbaric conduct, is appalling.

It is precisely to prevent people from resorting to violence that the law gives the state a monopoly on violence. To approve of mob lynchings is to openly invite and justify murder. Lawmakers like Mrs Bachchan ought to be more careful what they choose to sanction. In a country where people have been lynched on mere suspicion of wrongdoing, such calls can only make life more terrifying for the defenceless among us.

It is a sad commentary that MPs fail to see the irony of their own calls for a law against mob lynchings in some cases while advocating the same action in other cases. Criminal acts, no matter the provocation, do not equal justice. While they may be enjoyed on screen and even provide catharsis, in real life such actions only result in more grief.