Dr. Gouranga Mitra

Ph.D in Psychology from University of  Calcutta and Post-doctoral research fellow of IIM Calcutta, Dr. Gouranga Mitra, a researcher, a mental health activist, currently, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at The Neotia University. Besides he is a Psychologist and attached as a consultant Psychologist with various premium institutes of Calcutta. He is one of the editors of Bengali Psychological magazine ‘Moner Kotha’.

Violence in West Bengal, or even in India is not a new phenomenon. The fight for grabbing others property, possessions and the kingdom has been a larger social phenomenon. Attack leads to counter-attack and thus retaliation and revenge has been the cause of social violence. Interpersonal and inter-group violence could also be due to personal insult or injury or psychological harm to a person or a family or groups of families. It is strange that Conrad Lorenz talked of inter-species aggression but sadly intra-species phenomenon is unique in human species only.

India is a civilization which has given birth to Buddha and Gandhi. Bengal also gave several legendary figures who opposed any violence. 

India has been ruled and subjugated by foreigners from Moghuls, British, Dutch, French, Portugese and many more. They were welcomed by the then local rules due to atithi dharma however they cheated and deceived. Also our society was not fully integrated. 

Revolutionaries did violence for a larger purpose to free the country, and especially Bengal, from the foreign rule. Society is one on the higher order goal of human freedom and dignity and therefore revolutionaries are revered and remembered due to sufferings of their family and the society in general. 

However, what do we say about killings or other types of human violence in Bengal specially.  A sense of personal loss, victimisation suffered by Bengalis due to partition of Bengal into creation of East Pakistan.  People ran back from Dhaka to Kolkata leaving their personal belongings and loved ones is unforgettable.

I know of persons who have suffered mental agony and perceived assault on their lives have developed psychological symptoms. Many have made their living having grown up but suffered ignominy of not being an Indian citizen as their children could not get passport for jobs abroad. They were absorbed in some jobs but suddenly get upset or disturbed. Their parents get disturded due to inability to arrange their weddings of their children. A very senior person in an IT firm suddenly stopped taking on hearing some aggression related word in a training course. Similarly, another very senior manager complained of severe migraine type pain in the late evening. On enquiry, he explained that this was only when he was alone being posted away from family. He then revealed the story of his father returning from East Pakistan holding him in his lap and his mother behind with some belongings. Both were pictured by a photographer of a Calcutta based newspaper as hanging from the train. One of his acquaintances had got him a copy of this picture from the newspaper archives. This gentleman had got the picture developed and used to keep with him wherever he was transferred. When alone, he would get this headache just remembering the story of his family.

In the last few decades, we witnessed a new form of violence. This is against our own Bengali brothers and sisters. This is the worst part of political violence to silent the opponent in the democracy. This has shamed humanity and Bengal’s culture and civilization. There was a long period of naxal violence but it was overcome. Finally we experienced this unique method of causing extreme political fright by hanging the human body from a nearby tree. Bengali psyche has been hurt and we hope this stop rather soon.

Further, there is an increase in violence against women, both rural and urban, educated and uneducated, and across all ages. Fulfillment of Personal lust, some aspects of modern life style, rush for wealth by all means, and pace of life in fast industrializing society, Bengal had not developed as expected and there is unemployment. Violence including killing or suicide has happened as son or daughter demanded a latest mobile phone and father could not give money. Much of such happenings may be due to instant emotional arousal. Probably Bengali society must look within and take strong steps for social support of family life, economic development and expand psychological approach to social change.

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