This article belongs to With a Grain of Piquant Salt column.
Rage is a funny thing in humans, it makes you forget the boundaries of civilised behaviour. You cannot define rage or even what constitutes civilised behaviour. But you know when you see rage and you know when boundaries are breached. We have seen enraged boys on our screens and newspapers, but many times, the public expression of rage is staged and thus they become the rent boys. Finally and unfortunately, while one's rage might be justified by one's own frame of reference, when it violates the world's frame of reference of civilised behaviour, then it backfires and you end up being a lady boy. Allow me to explain.
I was struck by the sheer prevalence of rage in the world. The first incident which I came across was the identification of the Islamic Rage Boy by some bloggers in the USA. These bloggers noticed that one person in Indian Kashmir kept showing up in various demonstrations in Kashmir on a variety of causes, against India, against Salman Rushdie, against USA, against the war in Iraq etc. etc. They named him the Islamic Rage Boy. His bearded visage, the wide open bellowing and shrieking mouth, big staring eyes, and clenched fist became an icon in the blogosphere. Even many mainstream media outlets got hold of the story and pictures. For a variety of reasons, it clicked and has entered into the lexicon.
Finally some Indian media people tracked him down and found that this person does indeed participate in all these demonstrations, frequently travelling very long distances on foot and by bus to participate in demonstrations, which are tinged with a Islamic fervour. The other interesting factoid that I picked up is how angry many bloggers are. Keeping with the Islamic theme, you can have a look at the Angry Arab Blogger, Angry Sunni Sister (just google for "angry Muslim" or "angry arab" and see what you get), and these aren't really "fly by night" blogs, these are well publicised blogs, with lots of hits and lots of participation.
Read the entries and you will actually see that what they are doing online in their blog is the electronic equivalent of what the Kashmiri Islamic Rage Boy is doing in real life. Almost every post is a moan, cry, shout, complaint or whine. While reviewing these blogs, I sometimes feel like suggesting a stiff drink or a spot of R&R. All that rage is surely not good for either their stomach linings or their keyboards which must be getting bashed.
What are these people upset about? They are upset about USA, the Jews, the French, the Brits, the Iranians, the Shia, the Illuminati, the Pope, the white folks, their leaders, their army, their water, their history, their culture, the robbed opportunities, their hotel rooms, whew. Generally, if they manage to have one humorous post in a hundred, it's a red letter day! But generally speaking rage is a very strong component.
Moving on, I also see similar rage from a certain type of Hindu bloggers and mailing-list participants. These people rage against Muslims, they rage against the secularists, the communists, some academics, the liberal media, the painters such as Maqbool Fida Hussain…. Oh! They also rage against Hindus as well, calling them cowards, ashamed of their heritage, wimps and so on and so forth. It is pretty much typical of these lists.
If you want to see the perfect example of a very large mailing list where you have Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, anti-US and pro-USA, communists and Maoists, capitalists and free-masons, all in a gigantic rage filled fur ball, see here. But people would have seen this kind of electronic behaviour since a long time. Does anybody remember the USENET? And the flame wars and rage wars on the soc.culture lists? Very excited electrons rushing around all over the place.
But going back to real life, we have seen Hindu rage boys in action when the Babri Masjid was demolished, the red gold fringed bandana, brandishing the trishul (a trident spear), veins standing out while shrieking imprecations and battle cries, crowbars being used to demolish the mosque. And the sadly common rioters and riots in India, which we have seen for almost all of the last century, during the Moplah rebellion, the Direct Action Day, the tragedy of Partition, and then the post independence riots ending with the Godhra incident and the Gujarat state sponsored shameful riots. These riots are generally almost always a political move by some leaders, which turns these rage boys also into rent boys.
Whether you are talking about the Muslim, Hindu or Sikh boys, it's always the same, rage filled boys. If you seem to think that this was a peculiarly Indian rage boy syndrome, then think again, my dear readers. Let me point to the Bradford Riots between the British Muslims and British Whites, the Brixton riots by the British black community, the Banlieue riots in France recently, the riots in Los Angeles in the USA after the Rodney King issue, etc. You see the same type of rage filled people, young angry boys, screaming, out for blood, eyes staring and rolling, usually in a big group or mob. And in sadly many cases, a group think gestalt has taken over with an unholy mix of politics, deprivation, real or imagined wrongs, and then barbarism just takes over.
Mind you, it is not like the secular parties are fine and dandy. Again going back to India, you have seen the granddaddy, father and mother of Indian secularism, namely the Indian Congress Party, indulging in rampant sectarianism. The Congress rage boys massacred innocent Sikhs by the thousands in 1984 in an act of revenge for the assassination of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. And nobody has been jailed for this piece of indecent dastardly event. You can see the communist cadres doing the same, time after time.
You see the communist cadre rage boys come out, bellowing slogans against the port visit of the US Navy, against Foreign Direct Investment, against liberalisation, etc. etc. etc. I think India could well start off a new national industrial sector, "rent a mob - outsourcing and off-shoring". Pick your event or ideology and we can arrange for a mob to burn effigies, flags, cars, buses, etc., shout slogans with wide open and foaming mouths, throw stones at a relevant place, building, billboard, etc. Why not? Remember the Moplah rebellion and riots which I mentioned above? That wasn't because of any Indian situation, but it happened because of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Similarly, India can arrange for great television, internet events and print visuals of Indian rage boys or Indian rent boys on your choice of request.
You want a protest against the Pope? George Bush? Planning Permission for a housing estate in Canada? Widening of the Panama Canal? Opening up a nuclear reactor in Hokkaido in Japan? Mining operations on Mars? Sure, no worries. Take a seat and relax and go through the menu of options. We also offer very attractive financing deals, and yes, we will offer a service level agreement, independent audit tests, and if you hire 200 rage boys, we will throw in a second demonstration free. This rage business is very strange to me. Perhaps I am too old to feel rage. I cannot understand why this kind of rage happens. And don't tell me that this is just out of protest. You and I both know the difference between protests and peaceful demonstrations.
This rage is one micron, one teeny weenie step, away from outright violence and we have unfortunately seen this so many times. This rage is the fertiliser, the compost on which violence, terrorism and uncivilised behaviour breeds. Smart politicians and leaders utilise this. Left to itself, rage like this is self consuming and dies out, but the tragedy is that some leaders and politicians continue using it for their nefarious and indecent ends. Leaving the rage boys, who are turned into rent boys and end up regrettably as ladyboys. All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!