The rape and death of an 8-year old girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir in India shook the national consciousness. There was mudslinging between communities, political parties, and other groups. The undercurrent of polarization that is quietly flowing through the underbelly of India once again upwelled to the surface, peeling off the facade of the perceived communal tolerance in India. There were agitations, counter-agitations, peace marches across the breadth of India. However, these solidarity movements will subside slowly, like similar other issues that rocked the public conscience in recent decades.

Normalization of violence

There is a creeping sense of normalization of violence among us - where the number of deaths becomes just statistics - each atrocity is looked in relative to other atrocities, comparing brutalities, contrasting the evilness.

We have devised a mental mechanism of "Brutality-meter" to gauge the brutality of #violence and then responding to them according to this "meter."

Kathua rape and murder of an 8-year old girl qualify to be at the top of "brutality-meter." Following this incident, widespread protest and solidarity movement commenced across India, which kick-started the unresponsive criminal justice system into action.

Madhu, a tribal youth of unsound mind, was lynched by a mob for stealing food. This issue has ranked at a relatively lower hierarchy in the "meter" since violence against tribals is common. Correspondingly, only a milder response had generated following this incident.

Quantity wise, a chemical attack in Syria, which caused the death of many, should have lead to a widespread protest and condemnation.

But Syria is far away from India and deaths by bombs are natural in that place. So further low rank in the "meter" and proportionally low response from people. Nevertheless, the picture of Aylan Khurshid, 3-year old boy who drowned to death while escaping in a boat from Syria, hit the first rank in the "meter" thus pushing the countries across the globe to take humanitarian actions for refugees. But the impact faded away, and many countries in Europe erupted fences across borders to stem the refugee flow. This means that no one can hold the top rank for ransom for more than a time limit. Other issues are waiting in the queue.

Since refugee crisis are normalized across the world, Rohingya refugee crisis is outside the radar of the "meter." Sorry Rohingyas, better luck next time with the "brutality-meter."

Environment pollution and biodiversity degradation may occupy the lowest rank in the meter. Even the U.S has opted out of Paris Treaty, refusing to acknowledge the existence of climatic change. Hard luck for sinking islands and fragmenting habitats.

Amidst these, we can precisely gauge what the response must be for violence against animals will be. They form the primary testing field for genetic engineering, thus altering their very essence of existence. However, when the hardcore brutalities are vying for a place in the "meter," these kinds of nuanced brutalities and ethical violations have no chance in the competition.

'Hierarchization' of violence

The "brutality-meter" has many structural problems. One among them is the "spatial-effect." Thus there is a disparity in response to violence and space where it had occurred. When Syria was being bombarded with air-strikes, simultaneously there was an incident which shook the world into a shock-wave - the Paris bomb attack. The response and solidarity for this event were at such a level that we may think the "meter" had erred in ranking the two incidents. But the structural bias of the "meter" is the real culprit here. In case of India, a "middle-class effect" on the "meter" is profound. Thus rape and murder of a middle-class girl, Nirbaya, aroused such a response that nullified the frequent and almost everydayness of rape and murder of poor Dalit girls, even making these incidents invisible to the "meter."

This "hierarchization" of violence and measured response to these issues are the manifestations of normalization of violence. Recurring occurrences of violence and hatred which flows through the newspapers as a daily soap opera have immunized the readers from the actual sufferings. The everydayness of hatred and violence has crept into the skin of people and mixed with their blood so much so that, now these issues have become part of their daily life as common and as free-flowing as the blood that flows through their veins. Amidst this, there is a high probability of "low-key issues" to miss out from the radar of the "meter." Thus the death of 30 people in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, who were employed in manual scavenging, was a casualty in this everydayness of violence as no one noticed those 30 people.

History of violence and tranquillity

This quintessential "chalta hai" attitude of Indians, shared by a majority of mortals in the world, is reflected in this normalization of brutalities. Some may counter that violence and men have gone hand-in-hand since time immemorial, the two world wars ring testimony to that. Moreover, we are those species who have institutionalized violence in the form of sports like boxing, wrestling, etc. So it can be argued that the very content of humans are filled with violence. But peace and tranquillity was and is the history of humans, as much as violence is, manifested in great souls like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and many others. Our heart did ache for the suffering millions before this normalization of violence in our veins took hold of. Who can forget Mohammed Ali, who refused to be inducted into the army against Vietnam War? In fact, he is the perfect example of one who practiced institutional violence in the form of boxing, still immune to the everydayness of violence.

Sure, there are protests in streets, in social media and other platforms against these frequent atrocities. However these protests are also part and parcel of the everydayness of violence - a symbiotic relationship between violence-protest have been developed, in which neither have any existence without each other. Often these protests have many hidden political-cultural agendas other than pure peace-loving agenda.

We may think that globalization - the whole world becoming a global village - have reduced the violence, proof of which is the absence of world war 3. But globalization has not ended violence. Furthermore, now news of each incident of violence is shared across the world which has surely re-energized compassion around the globe, with solidarity coming from across the globe for various acts of violence, like Amnesty International and other institutions working for world peace. Nevertheless, this reach has also contributed to the everydayness and everywhereness of violence resulting in furthering the normalization of violence and the sheer indifference of each one of us to the brutality afflicted to our fellow beings.

Since renaissance-reformation age in the west, we are following a progressive theory of history in which each generation of human beings is progressing as history moves on. As per Hegelian dialectics, the thesis of peace and anti-thesis of violence should be converged to form a synthesis, which will be the betterment of both the thesis and anti-thesis. But it seems like anti-thesis is engulfing thesis in the case of violence. Thus a backward progression of history may be commencing in the present age of everydayness of brutality.

Reclaim the lost humanity

The Humaneness of our souls should be re-discovered to bring back history to the track of its progressive succession. Imagine the childhood of ours, when every brutality struck a chord in our hearts - when we felt the same agony that is felt by those victims of violence - when many of us dreamt of being a doctor, who will not give injections lest we may hurt the patients. Bring back that innocence of our past childhood to remain human in the present day - rip off the shield of the everydayness of violence that has engulfed us - break the "brutality-meter" at the altar of humanity. We need to walk back the path of life from adulthood to childhood so that the History can march forward in its path of progressiveness.