It was nothing but shocking the news published on 3rd May in the media under the title, Bois Lock Room. It is an Instagram group where boys from the top schools of National Capital Region posted photographs of fellow girl-students with offensive sexual comments and discussed plans to gang-rape them. It is reported that the police have apprehended a 15 year old boy who had allegedly shared photographs on the group. It is also reported that the students of this group belong to rich families. There could be many other groups involved in this kind of crime and this could be only the top of the iceberg.
When the whole world and the nation are fighting against Covid 19 there is no let up in the violence against girl children and women. In recent weeks, a ten year-old girl was gang-raped and left dead in field in Bihar’s Vaishali; a seven year old girl was raped and blinded in Damoh of Madhya Pradesh and a young woman was raped and beaten up by seven men in Betul in Madhya Pradesh.
There could be various reasons for the rising juvenile crimes against women and girls. The failure of parents to guide and accompany their children, especially sons, could be the most important reason. Praveen swami in an article on May 6 in the Firstpost had written, “The real problem isn’t on the Instagram, but it is in our homes”.
Another important reason is a serious deficiency in the education of the youth, neglect of focus on character formation. The sole purpose of education has become equipping oneself to get a high paying job. Parents as well as educational institutions have almost neglected character formation of students by instilling in them human and ethical values. The whole focus is on acquiring knowledge and skills. The value education class in the school timetable is often for names sake. It is said that values are not taught, but they are caught. If the students are not catching the values, there is something wrong with the process of the education imparted to the students.
Neglect of holistic education as described by Swami Vivekananda could be the reason for the increasing crimes among the students. Swami Vivekananda said, “We need an education that builds character, increases strength of mind, expands intellect and equips a person to stand on his/her own feet”. Building character means imbibing ethical and human values and expansion of mind stands for the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and make correct choices in life. If the students imbibe core values and learn to distinguish between right and wrong they will not indulge in serious crimes as committed by the members of Bois Lock Room Instagram group.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote in the Young India on October 22, 1925, that a fare friend had sent him the list of the seven Deadly Social Sins and he published them. One of the seven deadly social sins is ‘Knowledge without Character’. The other social sins are Politics without principles, Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Commerce without morality and Science without humanity. Gandhji did not explain what is meant by Knowledge without Character.
Shrimati Anuradha Shankar IPS while speaking on the occasion of the 6th National Peace Convention at Christ University Bangalore explained briefly what is meant by ‘Knowledge without character’. According to her, knowledge is not information; information that is verified, analysed and justified is knowledge.
She further explained that in the absence of character knowledge could be misused and abused. Using nuclear energy for making nuclear bombs to kill innocent people is abuse of knowledge. In fact nuclear energy was invented for using it for peaceful purposes as an alternative source of energy. Conducting drug trials on the poor people by the educated doctors and scientists is abuse of knowledge. When knowledge is used to threaten and scare people, it is a misuse of knowledge. Knowledge may help human beings to analyse problem, but to find solution they need character.
The boys who are the members of Bois Lock Room Instgram group have the knowledge of technology; but they abused it to exploit and harm their own class mates because the education they received from the elite schools did not prepare them how to use technology for the well being of humanity. In this context it is pertinent to remember what Martin Luther King Jr. said, “This is a world with guided missiles and misguided men”.
The period of Covid 19’s spread saw many heroic men and women who risked their lives for saving the life of others. The media have published their heroic acts. At the same time, the insensitivity of many people was also exposed during this time. The killing of two sadhus and their driver at Palghar in Maharashtra was given communal colour and was used to spread hatred against a particular community through the social media. Social media platforms were profusely used to malign a particular community, accusing them as solely responsible for spreading the corona virus in India. These are blatant misuse of knowledge and technology because the people who use them have no character. The education system that trained them failed to build their character.
On the other hand training programmes that inculcate values in the students can build them with character and they will use their knowledge for constructive purpose. For example, Ankita Das had been to Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) Indore for one week Enlightened Leadership Training seven years ago. She had been an active member of USM as a student and she has been keeping in touch with USM through letters ever after the completion of her education. Currently she is a journalist working with a reputed media organization.
When she came to know that USM is facing financial crisis due to the cancelation of all training programmes, the only source of its income, due to nationwide lockdown, she decided to use her knowledge to support USM. She spoke to few of her USM friends and planned to create an online funding campaign. First she contributed Rs. 2000/- and requested her friends to contribute their share. Then she wrote the following message to Fr. Varghese Alengaden, the founder of USM.
“It is because of USM and the values that USM has injected in people like us that we are able to morally, emotionally and financially deal with this crisis time. Our mind is functioning differently and only attracting positive energy.
Father, you and everyone from USM Family has made young people like us believe in ourselves and become who we are today. I hope together as a community we stand strong and tall to fight this time. We can and we will Father. Your mission was to create us; our responsibility is to care for our creators. It is just a matter of time and we all will pass this test. In any and every capacity, I want to assure you my service in these times and forever. I will write back to you with some constructive actions”.
This is an excellent example for imparting knowledge with character. Thousands of educational institutions catering to millions of students in India have the precious opportunity to build thousands of Ankitas. Those who are involved in most of corruption cases and financial scandals are not illiterate or uneducated people, but highly educated persons. Many heinous crimes are also committed by this section of the society.
Recently the Reserve Bank of India wrote off a huge amount of 686.07 billion rupees due from 50 top wilful defaulters, including absconding Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Gems and Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, till September 2019.The details were revealed by the RBI in an RTI reply to activist Saket Gokhale. In its response, the apex bank released the names of the top 50 defaulting firms and the amount owed by each company. The owners of these firms are highly educated and knowledgeable persons, but they have no character.
A statement by Dr. Haim Ginott, noted child psychologist and author of “Between Parent and Child,” highlight the danger of knowledge and education without character. “ I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by the learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters or skilled psychopaths. Reading, writing and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human”.
The boys who are the members of Instagram group, Bois Lock Room, have the knowledge of science and mathematics and they know how to make use of the latest information communication technology; but they failed to become human beings. Their parents and teachers also seem to have failed to train them how to become human.
(email@example.com)(Published on 11th May 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 20)