Unchecked anger amongst youth
Growing anger among today’s youth is putting down roots for a dangerous future.
Youth is the pollen that blows through the sky and does not ask why." This line by Vincent Benet holds true in letter and in spirit for the Indian demography. India has more than half of its population under the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age 35. The average age of an Indian is below 29 years. But, this young and vibrant democracy is undergoing a peculiar problem which might take on the shape of a monster in the near future. The signs of its tumultuous nature have already started appearing. This is the problem of uncontrolled and growing anger evident amongst the youth of our country. This anger is unchannelled, refractory, and often turbulent.
India has been known for its rich culture. From Gautam Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi, we have been the land of peace and non-violence. Today though, teenagers are the worst sufferers and in their impulse, they often resort to actions which are beyond correction. Educators, practitioners and counsellors encounter cases of children often referred to as incorrigible. The news of a teenage girl stabbing a first standard child in a Lucknow school shook us to the core. Last year witnessed numerous such cases including the most infamous case that unfolded in an acclaimed Gurugram school. These incidents should not be studied as standalone cases but as the reflection of a silent churning occurring in our society. Anger is a natural emotion but uncontrolled anger is a threat to humanity. Anger breeds when things do not go as per our desire. During the initial stages, it is the desire for minuscule objects later identifying with money, power, prestige, ego and relationships. Unrestrictive anger breeds intolerance and its inception is trickling down, day by day, reaching the youngest of the lot.
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is an impulse-control disorder characterised by sudden episodes of unwarranted anger. The disorder is characterised by hostility, impulsivness, and recurrent aggressive outbursts. People with IED essentially "explode" into a rage despite a lack of apparent provocation or reason. The recent episode of a government officer going berserk and massacring six innocent people in Palwal also falls in this category. He was a university topper and had a proven track record. The point to ponder over here is the origin of his problem and not merely the consequences. Psychiatrists view that these actions are the result of chronic stage of emotions taking the shape of a disease. It is the result of neglect of the initial symptoms of betrayal and defiance.
Youngsters of today's India are sitting on a volcano of anger which has already started showing signs of eruption. A sudden burst of anger on issues like a release of a movie, mismatch of political thoughts, choices of sexual orientation, caste concerns, showcasing patriotism, animal welfare, troubled relationships among others, both in the real and virtual world are an alarm for our society. Most people shirk away from accepting the circumstances that they are undergoing. This constant denial breeds in them emotions that are highly dangerous. Mahatma Gandhi rightly said that anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.
Anger cannot be eliminated from human lives as it is a natural emotion; but, it can definitely be controlled and channelised. Prolonged anger leads to scheming for vengeance and criminal activities. The sudden splurge of anger is a result of the lack of acceptance among youngsters. It is high time we take this seriously before the Frankenstein monster takes its sway. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who first gets burned. We should teach our kids anger management and prevent this volcano of anger from erupting unannounced. The board and universities should act on this call of the hour and introduce anger management for all kids. Management of anger is of utmost importance since childhood. Children should be taught through anecdotes. One such instance is about the anger management of Mahatma Gandhi. In South Africa, when he was thrown out of the train by the British, it is not that Gandhi didn't get angry; he was rather exasperated, but he channelised his boil through non-violence and the rest is history.
Renowned counsellor psychologist Vikas Attry who deals with school children finds that the rate of defiance is at its extreme high even in the remote areas. He further adds that there are very less tools available with the practitioners. One such tool to counter anger is spiritual learning. Our contemporary education system is moving away from devotional learning. It is becoming too materialistic. Teaching kids the divine essence of spiritual texts can act as a strong motivating force that can build upon the essence of anger management. Buddha postulates that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Our children should be taught to remain contented. Acceptance is liberation. Gita says, 'bandhur atmatmanas tasya yenatmaivatmana jitah, anatmanas tu satrutve vartetatmaiva satru-vat', which means 'For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of a friend; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy'.
(The author is an Educationist. The views expressed are strictly personal)