I don’t like deaths and especially the unnatural ones. I don’t like accidents or murders and much worse, I hate suicides and executions. The only reason I oppose the death penalty is because I cannot stand the gore of someone being put to death; whatever it is I don’t like it when the army kills terrorists in Kashmir or in Batla house and lays out the bloody bodies up for display. But much to my surprise, I seem to rejoice the death of Karan Pandey just as Ram’s army rejoiced the death of Ravana. Karan Pandey is an enemy of the civilization which hones me and this boy, to my mind was the enemy of all that I stand for. His death brings a sense of Divine Justice; his death conveys to me how much I wish to eliminate the whole ilk that this teenage boy seems to represent.
Karan Pandey is the teenage boy who died in the police firing while performing a bike stunt atop a pillion. The policeman fired at the tyres of the bike just at a time when this boy did a wheel stunt in which he bent down almost touching the ground only to rise up again. Unfortunately for Karan, he fell to the bullet that caught up, seered through him and left him as a corpse. Thus ended Karan’s life. As a brief obituary, Karan was raised by a single mother, a very middle class mother who slogged at work and toiled at home, managing roles of both being a breadwinner and a homemaker, taking on responsibilities and worries of raising a child. Yet this child did not cooperate with her; he kept bad company of bikers, was out at wee hours past midnight, and exhausted his energies in bike stunts. We also know that he was out of school, was trying to work through his education through correspondence; and when we add to this his nocturnal activities we know that he was desperate, rash and disobedient. His mother, tired from a full day at work and exhausted in the kitchen and wrapping up the clothes, the sheets, the linen, the towels, books and papers, payments and plans of the day, was unable to have a good night’s rest because of her son’s truancy.
Stunt biking is expensive; it costs as much as Rs 20,000 per month for its upkeep. Stunt bikers need special fuel which comes at Rs 700 per litre, the brakes cost Rs 30,000 and must frequently be changed and relined. This means that stunt bikers need money which is unaffordable for most middle class homes and yet these bikers come from the lower middle classes. It may be easily concluded that these boys put enormous pressures on their families to part with the money. Fathers take to corruption, sisters to prostitution; mothers take on the chores from the maid servants, often crowding occupations like massage, beauty parlours and also insurance agencies. Boys of this category exploit and destroy the very fabric of their families. The demand from these boys disturb the contentment that the middle class was so blessed with and along with this comes the avalanche of the Durkhemian anomie where the values, norms and the morality of the society are executed at the altar of the Mammon. And all this they do because they are born as boys !! Few of us have ever noticed that it is the boys in the category of Karan Pandey that is at the root of a rapidly declining society of India in the 21st century. Hence he is the enemy of our civilization.
Karan had many things going for him; he was a boy child, he was upper caste and a Hindu and he lived in South Delhi. Ask the girl child, ask the Dalit, ask the minority and ask the children from small towns what enormous Karan’s privileges were. And yet he threw them all; only a deep contempt for the mother, a desire to punish the mother can push him to such limits which gave way easily and ended his journey at the Malviya Nagar crematorium. Karan was brought up only to demand what other boys got; he had no clue of what he had which many more boys like him did not have. Karan, like the Mahabharatic Karna was indeed cursed; for he lived a life of dissatisfaction, never been able to recognize the gifts that the Universe arranged for him. Among the Bengalis we never name boys as Karan, I have little idea why in North India this is such a favourite name.
The whole idea of stunt biking is to disturb the public space, disrupt the discipline of the public roads. Stunt bikers attack policemen, pelt stones and it is this psychology of offending the public space, the public norms and the public discipline that girls are also raped. The rape of Nirbhaya was a defiance of the police, of law and order, or citizen sensibilities and of civic sense. Stunt biking, rape, arson, riot, terrorism, hacking of Internet sites are crimes of the same hue; they are ways in which unspent energies of the youth are expressed. This energy could have been spent in becoming a Bose or a Marconi, another Amitabh Bachchan, a Sukanto Bhattacharya, a Milkha Singh, a Tiger Woods, a Bill Gates. The fact that the youth become terrorists, rapists, rioters, arsoners, stunt bikers, auto lifters show that they choose to walk the path of destruction and death making our contemporary culture a dying culture. These young men have an excessive will which instead of using in creative pursuits squander away in cheap thrills and going for the kill. Once upon a time, the game of buzkashi developed in Afghanistan; a keen sighted sociologist would have easily understood that Talibanism would just be the next step; the economy of youth energy is similar in both the cases. Karan Pandey was thus the carrier of a demonic energy which unchecked is leading to a total breakdown of law and order and eventually of the society. It is he who disturbs the concentration of the middle class youth; it is his image that corrupts minds away from focussed application in higher pursuits.
The story of civilization has often been the story of mental concentration; civilizations have risen on the merit of mental concentration of its people, they have declined on their being unmindful. Karan’s activities are not those of focus; they are of distracting oneself from those activities which need more focus more concentration. He is also completely bereft of spirituality because he has not learnt to value his gifts, namely born in a class that has far more beneath him than the numbers ahead of him. Besides he is unkind and cruel to his mother, perhaps blaming her always for being single, holding her in contempt because she has to earn a living, harassing her because she is weak from overwork and all this because he is a boy. Karan is the scourge of the Indian middle class, its most corrupting influence, and the cancer cell of our civilization. Sometimes I believe in Divine Justice, Karan’s death is one instance of the same.