Dr Shweta Verma
It was another saga of love, deception and murder that Delhi woke to recently. Nikki Yadav, 23, was strangled by her live-in partner Sahil Gehlot, 24, who stored her body in a fridge of his dhaba after killing her. Not just this, he went ahead to get married to another woman the next day after murdering Nikki.
Last year, in a similar incident, 27-year-old Shraddha Walkar was killed by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala in Delhi. Aaftab chopped her body into pieces, stored them in a fridge and later, scattered them around the city. He had no remorse as he went on to meet new partners after murdering Shraddha.
Both incidents, which have an uncanny resemblance, raise a question mark over the type of modern social system that is evolving and also point to the downslide of moral values.
While identifying the three types of personality, Freud very clearly made a distinction between ‘the id’, ‘ego’ and ‘superego’. According to him, we are born with the first one, the id, which simply works on the pleasure principle. It is synonymous with being impulsive. That is why on being hungry, a small child stays impatient till its stomach is full or does not rush to the toilet even when the urge to urinate or defecate arises. This all happens because he has yet not been exposed to the real world to understand the rules of socially-appropriate behaviours. However, the time soon comes for the kid to start socialising in schools and neighbourhood with peers, teachers and others. It is generally very exciting for the child to explore the outside world and socialise. This is the time when it learns to adapt to more realistic ways to gratify his/her selfish urges. And this is where the ‘ego’ develops, the sense of appropriate behaviour as per societal norms. However, the ‘superego’ has yet not developed. Conceptually, it forms the ethical component of our personality: the moral values, the internalised rules that we acquire from our family, society and culture as well. ‘Super ego’ leads to the development of conscience, which is the sense to judge what is right and what’s wrong conduct.
Nonetheless, this conscience seems to be missing, maybe in professional killers. However, it is very shocking to know that someone who is supposedly considered a partner immediately moves ahead to get married just after the murder. It is not only about the saga of live-in couples, but also about those kids who would kill another student in school to evade examination or someone killing one’s mother just because she is trying to stop her son from getting hooked to a mobile phone. Such incidents have been reported in the past few years, where the craze for a mobile phone or avoiding a school exam assumes more importance than someone’s life.
The young generation seems so uncontrollably giving in to the urges of id/impulses that a momentary pleasure weighs more than someone’s life. It is as if in the race of becoming advanced, modern and tech-savvy, we have lost the values and emotions that make us humans. These values and are nothing but what is described by Freud as inherited or acquired through family, and is called the ‘super ego’.
Surely, whosoever conceived the word ‘modern’ would have had a different notion of it, which could be an unbiased, unprejudiced or accepting society. There are certain questions to reflect upon: Are we responsible for this changed meaning of being ‘modern’? Are the values of being committed, honest or the bare minimum requirement to be a human gradually disappearing? Are we losing a connection with our children just because we are busy minting money for them? Or are we too busy watching a reel on a mobile phone that we do not even realise when was the last time we sat with our kids? Or are we being too harsh on our kids that we do not even realise their actual needs and demands of being connected? Is it that in this daily grind, we are losing connection with our children so much that they do not feel a need to be connected?
The need of the hour is to understand why our kids do not feel connected with us and how much our busy lives are responsible for keeping them away from the moral values important to be a human? It is high time that we soon realise the true meaning of being modern, or else we would soon collapse as a society.
(The writer is an Assistant Professor in Jaypee Institute of Information and Technology, Noida)