STATE VS. A CHILD

Wondering at the psyche of the seven-year old boy who put a sutli bomb (Diwali firecracker) inside the mouth of a three-year old girl in Uttar Pradesh, this Diwali and the victim struggling for her life with more than fifty stitches only in her mouth, I am compelled to classify the boy as one with severely abnormal psychology, where absurdity has lost its meaning.

Many people commented that fixing responsibility with the government, though it is no doubt a heinous crime, is not right; after all, it’s the parents who ought to take responsibility since it is their upbringing of the child which has resulted in such a psyche, culminating in such a monstrous imagination in him. Even I agreed; for each and every individual action, the State can’t be held responsible; policing has its limits; people with formal authority to prosecute can’t be deployed in every nook and corner of the country to ensure people urinate, spit, throw garbage in the right place, and so on.

However, just a random thought from a very different angle, that is, about State property and the question, after all whose property it is, led to another spiral. Virtually, I find State property meant for Public use is like nobody’s responsibility. It’s like “everybody’s child is nobody’s child” where each individual thinks that “somebody else will do it and hence no need to bother”. Therefore, it is justified to make oneself convincingly believe that I need not stop somebody from spitting or urinating wherever he feels like, somebody from throwing overflowing garbage bags from running bikes at any desolate place at random and with complete indifference to the chaotic spread of the garbage caused by the momentum of the throw, somebody from making small canals or drilling holes on concrete roads for the wedding at home or for letting pass the urine pool caused by the dozen of cows at his road side house though the cut/hole remains an irreparable damage till next budget by the Municipality, somebody from driving in the wrong side of the road for nearly half a kilometer and causing complete chaos to the people driving in the right side, especially the new learners or the shaky ones, instead of making a detour of a few meters and catch the right side of the road, and quite a few more.

Extending the above a little also makes me wonder if I should stop the neighbor from beating his wife black and blue at dead of the night, the neighbor from beating her child mercilessly for the child refusing to go to the school or continue lying in my bed and ignoring the commotion saying to myself, “It is their family matter, how I can interfere.”

Similar to the above, I can ask if State has a role to play while parents are bringing up their children. I would like to answer in affirmative, especially pertaining to those parents who are neither aware of nor harbor any quality of parenting, rather than washing off its hands saying that it is a family matter and that family is a social institution by itself.

By – Jugal Patel

Note : The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, readers  views and comments are welcome.

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