The murder by a man of his wife and three daughters in Ranipokhri area has naturally shocked everybody by its pointless brutality. There was a time when this would have been attributed to the forces of ‘evil’, but there is greater understanding of such occurrences in the present day. This is by no means an isolated incident as such ‘triggered’ events are reported quite regularly, when a seemingly normal situation suddenly collapses into tragedy.
There will come a time when almost all ‘criminal’ acts will be attributed to the perpetrators’ psychological condition. A clinical look at the above-mentioned murderer’s life gives a glimpse into how the situation was developing to the point where a simple altercation could cause such mayhem. Early reporting on the incident reveals that the man was unemployed, provided a house to live in and an allowance by a non-resident brother. Despite his economic status, he was not only married but also had four daughters. While getting married could be understandable, and maybe even having a child, but why four daughters? Obviously, he was seeking a male offspring in the traditional belief that it would continue his legacy, miserable as it was. He could not but have been aware of the unsustainability of such a lifestyle, even if sub-consciously, and obviously was living an illusion. This was shattered by his wife’s choice of words when she berated him for not properly changing a gas cylinder in the kitchen. And the consequence was an explosion of violence.
Someone gets killed for handing somebody a torn note; wrong parking or overtaking results in murder. Even those who carry out premeditated killings for ‘noble’ causes such as punishing blasphemy, or taking forward the people’s war, are just seeking some justification for their otherwise miserable lives! As humanity evolved from a daily struggle to survive and began to desire ‘higher purpose’, philosophers and saints have provided a civilisational base to life. However, when the social and cultural structures cannot provide the required balance in the face of new challenges, the darkness returns. The anonymity of urban existence, the inability to cope with the entirely transactional relationships that have come into being, the frustrations of continued failure and imposed concepts of success, all make everything meaningless at some point. If, at that moment, there is an unexpected triggering event, rage takes over.
The solution lies in creating a more compassionate society, greater rationality in making life choices. There should be suitable role models that show the way through the complexities of modern existence – not in the distance but more immediate to one’s life. Otherwise, such pain and suffering will continue to be inflicted on the lonely and insecure, condemned to fight their battles alone.