Kerala, as a ‘developed state in a developing country’, has much to be proud of for the achievements in the social and human development index. But there are one set of statistics Kerala will not be proud to own up: God’s own country is the most crime-prone state in India. The capital of crime!
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the state has a crime rate of 424.1, more than double the national average crime rate of 187.6 (2012). Kerala also ranks highest on incidents of rioting and arson – thanks to the political parties and their leaders, who have no prick of conscience in letting their cadre kill and die for no rational objective. Incidents being reported in the media on a daily basis make it obvious for the common people to fear that women and children are not safe here. The state’s rate of crime against women and children hovers even higher than Delhi, which is often called the most unsafe place for women. Seeing all these, one would wonder what is the root cause for the ‘educated’ citizens of God’s Own Country to be so devilish in ways?!
It takes just a little observation to know that indiscipline is the root cause. The steady rise in crime rate even in a literate State like Kerala owes very much to the high level of indiscipline prevailing among children and youth. Sometimes we make the biggest mistake to think that crime and violence is Kerala’s biggest problem; it is not so, it is indiscipline.
What is the way out of it? Paving a strong value foundation in children through proper parenting cum value-based education and enforcement of law on offenders based on quick and strict judgement are the ways forward. Don’t be quick to blame it all on the strayed modern youth. There is a saying: family is like a water tank, children are the taps. The output through the taps will solely depend on the tank’s quality. No point in blaming dirty water coming out of the taps if the tank itself is dirty. Parents and teachers should introspect to see if conducive ambience for self development is provided at home and school. I believe character formation takes place by the age of 18, and after that correction is nearly impossible. During these years of growth the most influential people in the lives of children are parents and teachers, who have the responsibility to channelize their high energies into what is good.
Whatever good is in me – the values, ethics and discipline – I owe it all to the strict training given to me by my parents. Improving the modern-day parenting is critical in fostering a culture of discipline and respect for law and order among young people. During my school days we used to have moral/value education as part of the curriculum. I’ve learnt that nowadays at most schools this practice has been discontinued. I feel value education is an area that should be made mandatory in school curriculum. Children should be taught the value of freedom and its boundaries – your freedom ends where my nose begins!
Unfortunately for us, once the children grow out of the direct control of their parents, selfish political parties and their leaders lure them into criminal activities and they easily fall prey to political arm-twisting. They are least bothered about mentoring capable youngsters to be inspiring leaders one day.
Once a strong value foundation is laid by parents and teachers, it’s no guarantee that cent percent of youngsters will turn out to become law abiding citizens. To err is human, and on them enforcement of law is equally important. We see those Keralites who work abroad, especially in Gulf countries, are well disciplined, because they know well that they won’t be spared if they break traffic rules, molest women, etc. The same people dare to jump traffic or molest women here, because they know that the law here is toothless and they can get away easily. Delay in justice is equal to denial and an incentive for the offenders to repeat crimes. This should end.
As for parents, it’s high time to introspect and change themselves rather than blaming the kids for going astray. And, education shouldn’t be limited to subjects and earning high grades alone. Thrust on making honest individuals and patriotic citizens and humane human beings should be revived.