Of Malevolence and Violence

The victim also constantly sees people “bullying” him in his “upsetting dreams and nightmares”, which are also instances of “intrusive memories”; the victim has “nagging back ache” and “pain” on the thighs which still bear “frozen lumps”, as he puts it. He wonders whether all these effects are temporary or will remain with him for good.

Willy-nilly, the vitriolic, malevolent incident of 3 October 2020 at Rayotang, Ukhrul, in which a UPSC aspirant was “beaten black and blue” (for no apparent justifiable offence of the victim) is a stark, dark reflection of recalcitrant, sadistic and uncivil nature of our society. No doubt, there was hue and cry from all sections and departments. No civilized society will ever condone such act of blatant, morbid and malicious violence. The creepy part of such incident is culprits’ non-realisation that their noxious violence could inflict long-lasting, or in some cases, permanent effects on the victim physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically!    

Today, the victim of the unfortunate incident, Soshim Keishing is going through bad days, which is clinically termed Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), exacting heavy tolls on his preparation for next year’s Civil Services Exams. According to medical reports, PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

His recent telephonic conversation with Ukhrul Times reveals symptoms of PTSD such as “recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event” which is categorized as “intrusive memories”. Another upsetting condition the victim presently goes through is “avoiding places, activities or people that remind him of the traumatic event or potential repetition of similar incident”. Once a confident boy who has proved his mettle at various platforms is now “uneasy” to stand up against something which he knows is wrong – just because people might react or think negatively of him. This is manifestation of “negative changes in thinking and mood”.

The victim also constantly sees people “bullying” him in his “upsetting dreams and nightmares”, which are also instances of “intrusive memories”. He is also cautious of visiting Ukhrul where he grew up as parents continually warn him.

Moreover, physically the victim has “nagging back ache” and “pain” on the thighs which still bear “frozen lumps”, as he puts it. He wonders whether all these effects are temporary or will remain with him for good. Though “recovered 90%”, things are “no more normal” for Soshim!

The 3 October incident is but just tip of an iceberg. There are many untold stories of folks, who are bearing the brunt of such violent incidents in almost all Tangkhul villages. Election-related violence, inter-village land or boundary disputes, clashes owing to clannish bad blood, ethnic and communal flare-ups, mob lynching . . . all these incidents, where folks take laws in their own hands, leave the victim(s) severely or at times mortally wounded! The victims of these incidents may or may not be guilty, but the crux is the nature of delivery of justice in our part of the world. Any person accused of an offence is hardly tried fairly in a civil court; rather instant mob justice or “thrashing” the accused seems to be the norm of justice system in tribal society, which is, in fact, primitive and unacceptable. Sad but true. Victims of such instances languish with either Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or arthralgia, which ironically serves as a weather forecast.

Where are we if this trend of violence continues? Where does the teaching of Jesus in reference to “adulterous woman” stand? Where have the values of education and precepts of Christianity vanished? By now, everyone is fed up of “violence begets violence” cliché.

As the incident smothered his “preparedness” for UPSC Prelims just a night prior, his “frustration” and exasperation, coupled with physical pain, is quite understandable. However, Soshim’s benign outlook and positive attitude is worth-emulating. If he has any message to convey to the “perpetrators”, it is nothing but forgiveness. As he prepares for Prelims next year, notwithstanding ill effects of the incident, Soshim is hopeful that success will come along, and his eventual success story will be a testimonial which transcends malice, hatred and violence.

UT wishes him health and success.

Ningchihan K Hungyo

With inputs from Dr Naveen Kotwal

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