By Dr. Afshan Ahmed.
Violence involves intentionality with the committing of the act itself, irrespective of the outcome it produces.
Ever since the Earth is formed violence has played a role in our everyday lives but today the increasing violence in our society has taken pathological forms. Strangely, man has today become his own enemy by unleashing the animal in him. If mankind has to survive, violence will have to be minimized and the brute in man is to be chained.
Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in depression, injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation. It involves intentionality with the committing of the act itself, irrespective of the outcome it produces.
Regrettably, violence in its various forms such as physical, sexual or emotional, is bursting in our society. It is present almost everywhere- be it the homes, offices, schools, colleges, universities, public places or the streets, people are being tortured, beaten, harassed and killed. It is happening both in the urban and rural areas, towns, cities and in metropolitan areas as well. It is becoming a legacy being passed on form one generation to another.
There are news of torture and murders of family members including children and even parents. One wonders as to what ails the society. These cruel and senseless murders are generally attributed to property disputes, poverty and plain robbery. Whatsoever may be the reason the violent society of ours needs a real social uplift form the mosque pulpits, schools and homes which seems to be lacking. We are followers of the great humanitarian religion of Islam which enjoins peace and security even in daily salutations but the sobering impact is nowhere to seen. As small traffic accident may lead to violent confrontation. A man cannot walk on the street without looking over his shoulder because of fear of assault. The roads are spilled with human blood. Firearms, bombs, swords, are frequently flourished and used.
Our society is under the great impact of violence, there is insecurity of life and uncertain future of individuals, society and nation have lost their strength; peace of mind and joy of life is lost, love and harmony between any two individuals (even between mother and her child) is replaced by suspicion and hatred …etc.
There is a strong relationship between levels of violence and modifiable factors such as concentrated poverty, income and gender inequality, the harmful use of alcohol, and the absence of safe relationships. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain control over another member of society, the desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the flare to be in a commanding position.
One of the biggest triggers to violence by an individual is ego. While ego is normal for human beings, its impact on an individual’s behavior varies from person to person. Any word or action by those around the individual can hurt the individual’s ego and results in violent reaction. Very often, a husband gets violent when a regular argument reaches a point where the wife hurts his ego and results in injuring the wife, broken relation, mental torture or even killing her. The same is true is cases of violence against children at home. While the resulting action is there is an increased violence in children. At the workplace and educational institutes favoritism extended work house, conflict of interest and injustice behaviors results in violent reaction. Such violent reactions are happening in our society every time and everywhere.
In many cases the deprivation of basic things needed to survive in the society is usually the reason behind the act of violence. In a greedy society, where there is the desire to continually acquire more, violence becomes a natural tool. Dacoity, violent robbery, murder, attempt to murder and torture are outcomes of a society not satisfied with itself and the craving to acquire more.
Violence in everyday life has been increased by a tendency towards violence in media, movies, especially with 3D, realistic graphics and sound effects have story lines, which draw kids in and get them overly involved in the violence occurring on the screen. Children who play violent video games for extended periods of time or on a regular basis are less likely to be polite or sensitive to other people’s needs and are more likely to show violent behavior of thoughts. Every day on the news there is another story of an adolescent or even adult being involved in any violent act caused or inflamed by the use of drugs.
The sad fact is that it may never be possible to prevent violent behavior in humans as it is the part of human behavior. What is needed is a broadly based, comprehensive prevention strategy that is based on a policy of zero tolerance for violence.
If we want to continue transition into a healthy and prosperous new age society, we need to revisit the basic concepts of tolerance, acceptance, patience, introspection and deliverance. Accepting another’s opinion or action, contrary to one’s own, is the foundation for nonviolent behavior. Tolerance at an individual encourages healthy thought, while tolerance when practiced collectively results in a pro-active society rather than one that is at conflict with itself. An attitude adjustment for our society as a whole is needed. Who knows, perhaps this attitude adjustment against violence could even end in peace, or perhaps I am just being a little too hopeful…!!!
Writer is Pharmacist by education and writes on social issues.