Sunday, January 6, 2008

Guns in Gurgaon

A harbinger of increasing juvenile crimes

Most of us have come across the most shocking news in recent times, wherein two students of class VIII accosted and shot down one of their fellow students. It was shocking because it was a premeditated act and the confessional statements of both the students showed they were remorseless and defiant. In fact, this incident is an indicator of the times to come and what’s more it as well proves that such ghastly occurrence is not going to be sporadic, but will assume massive proportions, eventually. In fact, over the past few days we all have been reading and listening to various people from myriad walks of life, commenting on problems of parenting, growing resentment, non-tolerance among youth, etc, etc, as a reason to this unfortunate incident. In fact, even before blaming anyone, let us ask a set of very basic questions - Why is that such an incident has to happen in an ‘elite international’ school? Why did it have to happen in Gurgaon, of all places?

India, unfortunately is transitioning very fast, and this transition is stretching the fragile social fabric and putting everything off balance. A classic metaphor of this is Gurgaon. Even a decade and a half back, it used to be a sleepy suburb of Delhi, wherein most of its not so literate inhabitants with nominal income levels and mediocre aspirations were engaged in either farming or cattle grazing. This town experienced its first burst of industrialisation when Maruti was set up in the mid eighties. And along with it came up a series of OEM manufactures, who set up their ancillary units here. Then it was in the early nineties that GE, the American MNC bought a huge tract in Gurgaon of land to set up the India offshore centre. And then the off-shoring boom was the next to come. The rest was history. In the past ten years Gurgaon has observed unprecedented commercialisation and meteoric rise in real estate prices. With spiralling prices, came a flurry of developers and builders, changing the landscape of this sleepy town forever. The farmers either sold their land or they became landlords or they took up real estate brokerage and, in all cases, became millionaires overnight.

It has been a global experience that the transition from a perpetual state of mediocrity to sudden opulence, all occurring in the course of an unprecedented and pervasive commercialisation has always led to mindless hedonism. In case of Gurgaon too, this sudden opulence came without any commensurate efforts and work ethic. Had these parvenus had to sweat it out, things would have been different. They might have acquired socio-economic power. And this is the reason that while they put their wards in the most elite schools, the whole purpose of education stands defeated. As in our country it is observed that to get educated, there has to be a compelling reason (either socio-economic well being or carrying of family traditions). Unfortunately they have neither.

The gunning in Gurgaon is just one example the way real estate development is taking place across India and more and more erstwhile egalitarian societies are on the threshold of a societal crisis.


No comments:

Post a Comment