Every day, after the Evening News bulletin is over, almost all television news channels in Kerala go in for what can be described as a crime overdrive, or ‘Evil News,‘ a half-hour program on the diverse crimes and evil deeds that have taken place that day: wanton killings, robberies, thefts, rapes and other assault on women, unimaginably horrendous child molestations, girl burnings and what not.
Each channel has a pet name for the program, FIR, Crime File, Crime Branch etc, but what all of them show is only how depravity of man is growing by leaps and bounds to undermine the safety and security of the society that we normally take for granted.
Perhaps such a scenario was unthinkable a decade or two ago. In cities, towns and villages alike, life was more or less peaceful , calm and poised, the tranquility and even pace of life disturbed only occasionally by violence of some sort. Like murder, rape or robbery.
Not anymore. Now it is a daily dose of Evil and there is no difference between urban and rural milieus. There is enough and more of murder and mayhem everywhere to fill in the half-hour segment daily in every news channel. And whatever be the crime and wherever it is taking place, it is brought closer home to you in all its gory details or disturbing finery by the ever- watchful eyes of the television camera or the furtive eyes of the passerby’s mobile phone.
I do not know if such an unseemly spectacle of Evil in the evening hours is peculiar to Kerala. The national news channels do not appear to have a similar special program of graphic crime graph across the nation. The regional channels of other states I tried to watch also do not seem to have anything of the sort. If that is truly the case what is it that makes Kerala a fertile ground for the rapid, rabid and rampant growth of Evil?
But then what is Evil and how to define it? All the definitions given by Oxford or Cambridge dictionaries, or even the scriptures, might not be sufficient to envelop the viciousness, the ruthlessness and the sheer malevolence of the acts committed day in and day out by veritable psychopaths, quite ordinary looking and indistinguishable in a crowd, roaming about everywhere.
The evil that we see now is far removed from the evil referred to by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar. In his celebrated funeral oration, a game changer rhetoric, Mark Antony had said: The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. What Antony was mentioning could only be about evil committed in attenuating circumstances by a do-gooder monarch. That was why he bemoaned that Caesar’s evil deeds would be remembered forever while his good deeds would be buried with him.
But the evil that men do now is totally different. As the channels show us, it is pure, distilled evil, the like of which, perhaps, could only be visualized by the Biblical ‘Evil Incarnate.’
What other explanation can one give to the reports on the gruesome rapes of infants by grown up men or the dousing of girls with petrol and torching them in public for slighted love? Or the ritual killing of parents and siblings in a macabre fashion by a son under the spell of drugs! The list can go on and on.
Many of the happenings reported on television really make one lose faith in God. If there is a God up above overseeing the activities of the people on the earth down below, did he not hear the muffled wails of the tender infant sexually outraged by an insensitive, psychopathic grown up? Why did he not send lightning or thunder to smite him dead then and there? If there is a God and he has done nothing of the sort, it only means that he is either indifferent or ineffective.
Next to God, there is the system of governance that has to take care of the safety and security of the society. But here again is a problem: a perennial system failure or at least loopholes in the system that make it susceptible to failure in times of need. Following this is an erosion values in all spheres. The Kerala society, once hailed as forward looking with its high credentials in the health and education sectors, has lost much of its glitter in recent times. What is burgeoning now is only on the negative side. Alcohol consumption has almost reached saturation levels. Drug smuggling into the state and drug abuse by youth, especially school and college students, are on the increase as never before. Once noted for communal harmony, Kerala society is on the threshold of grave communal dissensions. Fanaticism is systematically being whipped up by interested elements in all religions. It is perhaps only a matter of time for it to reach a conflagration level. Political parties have only sectarian programs with hidden or open agendas, no vision. So is the case with those at the helm of social and religious organizations. How many of them see Kerala as a homeland worth preserving, protecting and promoting at any cost?
In such a situation no wonder the drug pushers, religious fundamentalists, thieves, robbers, cheats, financial fraudsters and the corrupt are all having a field day. ‘Quotation gangs,’ ready to carry out killings on payment, have unfortunately become part of Kerala society and culture.
In all the above the predominant factor, without doubt, is Evil. There is Evil everywhere and unless that is tackled and toppled there is unlikely to be a peaceful future for Kerala. How to do it is everybody’s concern. The concern of the people at large; the police, the administrators, political parties, social organizations, religious institutions, the youth, the students etc. Indifference or failure on their part would only mean that for the coming generation Kerala would turn out to be a less lovable and less livable place on earth.