The Mob Man

When I first heard about the mob man, I was around 10. I wouldn’t have termed it as that at that phase in life. There were a vague amount of images of the mob man in form of newspaper articles. He is perpetually silent. There is almost no harm emanating from him. He will be there at the marketplace, staring into nothing, scratching his beard as he breaks his head over the inflated masur laid ahead of him. I am regarding the mob man as masculine, as like in majority of social occurrences/instances where this approach is usually adopted. It has borne out of habit to portray such similar instances with a man being accountable for it. Highlighting it obviously highlights the sense of reproach I harbor. But that is not the point. The mob man goes to work, haggles while buying a pair of chappals and prefers to sign on an insurance deal without having to go through all the terms and conditions.

The mob man is anyone and everyone, given the right exposure and temperament.The mob man dwells in anonymity, physical anonymity mostly. The sense of detachment from any kind of accountability is a potential ingredient for rejuvenation of the mob man. Lowering social inhibitions, lack of responsibility makes him a potent participant in any kind of mob activity. Sure enough, no one can trace anything back to him, he has no name. The emotional expression is almost primitive.He is the mob man. He is all over the news too, seasonally and off-seasonally.

The mob man can stand as a representation for a group of like-minded people as well where the probability of engaging in violence increases. There is diffusion of responsibility as well as identity in a mob. Just like in a concert, you would never indulge in anything (hooting and dancing with magnificent zest) that you would do as a part of a crowd when you are on your own.

In the light of the recent incident involving ruthless beating of a 16 year old boy to death over an auto fare of Rs. 10/-in Guwahati, what came out as one of the startling observations is the behavior of policemen. Their inability to intervene appropriately and rescue the boy shifts the confidence general public had on the armed force. But I would like to project a different outlook. Instead, let us look at the mob constituents. Are they common people? Are they the ones who are yearning for a better pay, disgruntled by their employers brash behavior? Frustrated with low pay, unfairness or corruption? Too many mouths to feed with too little?

Another question arises at this point: does social conduct or the social pressure on common man to act in certain way (thus masking the frustration rising inside) give rise to mob outrage? This looks likely.But is the real cause? Or it is the suppression of crimes in the country? The severity in the punishment, the Acts passed in favor of the victims? We could rely on the ancient wisdom of the knowledgeable and say ‘sounds practical’. But we can never be sure. Maybe it isn’t, maybe there is a hidden reason. It surely makes sense to look at it quizzically and ask questions, because there are an increasing number of leaders in the likes of Joseph Stalin all over the globe who are taking advantage of such primal horde mentality to establish their rule in the name of riots. A wise ‘they all meet their ends’is good as long as you have reached your senility. The supply of intelligence and technology along with social networking is abundant on an individual basis as well. A blend of these factors can raise this topic out of psychology books and bring it out into active forums. Why shouldn’t we embrace accountability after all?

The repeated use and emphasis on the word ‘accountability’ in this context can successfully help me to conclude. It is not good practice to end a topic with so many questions, but one can’t deny that there is a burning need for answers. But for now, more than anything, we should definitely apprehend the mob man.

We should talk about it.

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