Staff Reporter

`It is easier to mislead 500 persons than to provoke five people to do something wrong'

Bangalore: The recent death of veteran Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar saw a public outpouring of grief that created a lot of chaos.

Even though the emotional outburst may have been expected at the passing away of an immensely popular icon, no one probably anticipated such damage.

What happens when a mob goes berserk? Why do people behave the way they do?

According to Ali Khwaja, chairman of Banjara Academy, a voluntary organisation that offers counselling services, people in a mob have the advantage of anonymity and do not have any sense of responsibility. Therefore, they do things which they normally would not, he says.

"People in a mob get carried away easily and show unwarranted behaviour. They allow themselves to be easily used by vested interests for their benefit. Those who came to pay their respects to Rajkumar may have been well-meaning people who were emotionally charged. But they got carried away to do harm by a few who may have been planted to instil mass hysteria," Dr. Khwaja says.

"It is easier to mislead 500 persons than to provoke five people to do something wrong. This is what works when politicians address a public meeting," he adds.


On the violence and hysteria that followed Rajkumar's death, Dr. Khwaja says that those who have some influence on the late actor's fans or those who are among his admirers and known to the public could have given out a message of peace. For, no external coaxing or control will work at such hours, he adds.