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Why it is important to manage anger

Jagdeep S More |

“Youth is the pollen that blows through the sky and does not ask why”. This line by Vincent Benet holds true in letter and spirit for India’s demographics. India has more than half of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age of 35. The average age of an Indian is below 29 years.

But this young and vibrant democracy is undergoing a peculiar problem which might take the shape of a monster in the future. The signs of its tumultuous nature have already started appearing. This is the problem of uncontrolled growing anger amongst the youth of our country. This anger is non-channelised, refractory and often turbulent.

India has been known for its rich culture since ages. From Gautam Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi, we had been the land of peace and non-violence. Today teenagers are the worst sufferers and impulsively often resort to actions which cannot be corrected.

Educators, practitioners and counsellors get cases of children often referred as incorrigible. The news of a teenage girl stabbing a first standard child in a Lucknow school shakes us to our roots. Last year witnessed numerous such cases including the most infamous case of a Gurugram school. These incidents should not be studied as standalone cases but as the reflection of the silent churning of our society.

Anger is a natural emotion but uncontrolled anger is a threat to humanity. Anger breeds when things don’t go as per our desire. At initial stages it’s the desire for miniscule objects later identifying with money, power, prestige, ego and relationships. Unrestrictive anger breeds intolerance and its inception is trickling down day by day reaching the youngest of the lot.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is an impulse-control disorder characterised by sudden episodes of unwarranted anger. The disorder is typified by hostility, impulsivity and recurrent aggressive outbursts. People with IED essentially “explode” into a rage despite a lack of apparent provocation or reason. The recent episode of a government officer going berserk and massacring six innocent people in Palwal falls under this category. He was a university topper and had proven track record.

The point to ponder here is the origin of his problem and not the consequences. Psychiatrists view that these actions are the result of chronic stage of emotions taking the shape of a disease. It is the result of neglect of initial symptoms of betrayal and defiance.

Youngsters of today’s India are sitting on a volcano of rampant anger which has already started showing signs of eruption. Sudden burst of anger on issues like a release of a movie, mismatch of political thoughts, choices of sexual orientations, caste issues, showcasing of patriotism, animal welfare, troubled relationships etc. both in the real and virtual world are an alarm for our society. Most people shirk away from accepting what they are going through. This constant denial breeds in them emotions that are highly dangerous. Mahatma Gandhi rightly said anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

Anger cannot be eliminated from human lives as it is a natural emotion, but it can definitely be controlled and channelized. Prolonged anger leads to scheming for vengeance and criminal activities. The sudden splurge of anger is a result of lack of acceptance among youngsters. It is the high time we should take this seriously before the monster takes its grip. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

We should teach our kids anger management and prevent this anger volcano from bursting out. The board and universities should act on this call of the hour and introduce anger management for all kids. Management of anger is of utmost importance since childhood. Children should be taught through anecdotes.

One such is about the anger management of Mahatma Gandhi. In South Africa, when he was thrown out of the train by the Britishers, it is not as if Gandhi didn’t get angry. He was exasperated, but he channelised his boil through non-violence and the rest is history.

Renowned counsellor-psychologist Vikas Attry who deals with school children finds rate of defiance at its extreme high even in the remote areas. He adds that there are very few tools available with the practitioners. One such tool to counter anger is spiritual learning. Contemporary education system is going away from devotional learning. It is becoming too much materialistic.

Teaching kids the divine essence of spiritual texts can act as a strong motivating force towards anger management. Buddha postulates that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The children should be taught to remain contented. Acceptance is liberation. The Gita says, ‘bandhur atmatmanas tasya yenatmaivatmana jitah, anatmanas tu satrutve vartetatmaiva satru-vat’, which means ‘For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy’.

The writer is a Delhi-based educationist..