Criminalisation of our society: An analysis

Published on September 23, 2006

By Mangboi Haokip

September 23, 2006: Bertrand Russel once said: “A society grows only if human beings develop themselves as humans.” True to the core, the basic foundation of any social development can only take place if the social fabric is neat and criminalisation has no place in the basic social set up. A nation can grow only if the people are more organised, have a better understanding of their role in the community development and to lend a helping hand in the formation of the government and its legislature. The younger generation has a big responsibility in the nation-building process and should think of the future in totality. Undoubtedly over the past few years, criminalisation of our society has become a gruesome reality, having far-reaching possibilities.

The fact is testified not only by a plethora of kickbacks and scams, which within this decade, have further tainted our already not-so-bright political scenario, but also by the increasing role of money and muscle power and increasing participation of criminals in electoral battles, by the sharp escalation in the number of kidnappings, murdering, violence and by the ever spreading tentacles of corruption through the entire fabric of society. It wouldn’t be an over-statement to say that the growing criminalisation of our society is instrumental in making our socio-political structure reach an advance stage of rot. People’s faith is gradually getting eroded from the system and there are innumerable, extremely complex reasons behind unabated growth of criminalisation in our society. We must concentrate on the major determining factors behind this alarming development.

The first and foremost reason behind this precarious trend is ‘corruption without fear’ at all levels. Corruption has moved to all segments and people holding high and esteemed offices are more vulnerable to corrupt practices. Corruption has over the years not only ruined the fragile economy of a nation but has robbed the common people by and large of their integrity and moral character by setting an extremely unhealthy precedence of ‘robbing the nation and getting away scot free’. It has also encouraged many impressionable minds among the masses to take plunge into corruption and become rich overnight. The affairs have reach such a sorry state that now it is an uphill task to get a job done in government offices or get any file moved without greasing the palm of the concerned clerk. Now from getting  a license to getting a signature of high-up bureaucrats; corruption has become omnipresent in our society. Like all things, corruption has percolated from top to bottom and has played  a significant role in the criminalisation of our society in the process.

Second, the rising unemployment and poverty is another important factor. But instead of initiating any preventive measures to curb these menace, taking this as opportunity, our politicians and vested interest groups have always used a chunk of the vast army of unemployed and frustrated youth as muscle power in their electoral battles and also in their day-to-day petty politics. This has led not only to the increasing criminalisation of politics but also of the society in the process. Moreover, unemployment and poverty accompanied by increasing economic disparity through small pockets of unbridled opulence are inducing more and more misguided youths and adolescents to indulge in the path of  crime with the aim of reaping riches within a short span of time.

The satellite revolution, during the last few years, has also contributed to the criminal upsurge in society. Many of these never ending serials and revolting talk shows in numerous foreign and Indian channels in their quest for catering to the lowest common denominator and thereby achieving cheap but mass popularity, glorify fraudulent life-styles and criminal tendencies in many serials that were/are being aired and so-called prestigious domestic and foreign channels, the main protagonists are shown as an underworld don, enjoying an opulent life-style.

Impressionable minds of the teenagers instead of having great ideals and values instilled in their psyche, are exposed to the blatant glorification of crime and unabashed propagation of the philosophy of ”material success at any cost” that are projected by the regular dose of ‘trash’ dished out by a multitude of channels. This is encouraging many people [specially adolescents, who receive TV instead of parental guidance during the most vulnerable phase of their lives] to emulate the success stories of their favourite opera characters in real life and lead a life replete with trickery, shady deals, violence, adultery, etc. It is shocking about many young boys in their teens committing heinous acts of murder, in cold blood, but this is a sad reflection of our fast disintegrating social fabric.

Another phenomenal rise has been the young’s generation fascination for modernised culture. In today’s glamorous world, the young teams are more drawn to the fast motor bikes, designer clothes and eating out at expensive restaurants. As a result, our present day teeny-bopp is becoming what is called the ”hip-hopping generation’’. The family structure of our society is also to be blamed to a certain extent. The eroding of joint family system has created lots of family rifts as nuclear families often go without a head to control. As  a result, couples make their own decisions and often break-off their marital ties. This social rift disturbs the true composition of our society.

The crafty use of caste and religion by some of the politicians and religious leaders has also been very much responsible for the criminalisation of our society. Unless our statesmen, intelligentsia and the common people at large make a solemn resolution to eradicate criminalisation from every strata of our society, and take collective action to implement them on a war footing in the form of political and social will, there is no way out from this abyss into which our society is receding deeper and deeper with each passing day. If we don’t check this growing menace, it would spread beyond all manageable proportions very soon and then eventually this gangrene would lead to the irrevocable decay of our body politic.