A Stampede is an event wherein humans rush off one over another come what may crushing layers beneath. A mass attempt to save your own life at the cost of everything else in the world, a competition of life-saving held mostly in a small ring. Or to put other way, no animal ever died in a stampede. Prey at best, or natural calamity or man made. Or else, at worst, violence and injuries in the race of chasing females. But never a stampede. And technically, a means of cannibalism it must be. Killing your own brethren by yourselves for your own survival, whether out of distress or laziness or ignorance doesn’t matter.
Actually, even going by every ecological relationship seen, cannibalism if permitted by the constitution of few particular species as in the case of some snakes or big cats, they come as a matter of survival as the very last option. Observed rarely, once in thousands of generations, and that only in form of simple preying, in peace. One attack, One victim or One hunger at max.
But here are we talking of humans, who probably have wide range of categories of cannibalism. Some modes permitted, some fair and some commercial, some subject to judgement as to who did it and so on. Say, Nagasaki-Hiroshima bombings were fair. Was in a state of war, once in a generation as well. And similarly, on those lines, on smallest scales and almost fairly legal and permitted form, without armed means, or cannibalism allowed for the poors is Stampede. In stampedes, people crush layers down their legs, to emerge out alive and away from a spot. Should you fall, you’re gone, while the layers above have no time.
Happens in a quick whiff, often out of rumours or accident triggers at some bottleneck point. A state of commotion until stopped by a regulatory or external force or the last death, whichever comes earlier. Should you leave it to your mind, or memories to identify such an event, you’d generally associate with administration, or forced impoverishment of commoners on part of an administration wherever. However, if you put a little stress to rational mind, it would appear otherwise.
Let’s take some examples, examples from where humans were dead anyways, or struck by deep misery all round.
- Jalliawala Bagh, 1919: Few thousand Indians had gathered for a peaceful meeting and Baisakhi celebrations in a closed garden enclave around a pond with five narrow exits. The agenda was however freedom, and propagation of the sentiment. And People with Purpose. In a jiffy, as legends have it some hostile Indian broke the news to dumb Brits. A characterless Brit General or a security labour reporting to another labour higher up the ladder being reported to by an army of native indigenous Indian labours armed with guns sealed the five exits, and ordered a firing. Firing till ammunitions replenished. The firing went on for more than 10 minutes. Not one died by stampede, not one body mutilated. Few lucky ones survived who could crawl, those who couldn’t be hit. But not one crushed. The group had together embraced of death, for a collective purpose.
- Kumbh Melas, India, since Before Christ: Kumbh Melas are religious gathering at 4 sacred spots along pious rivers on a rotating basis. A fair returns to a city every 12 years and comes over as the world’s largest congregation of humans at a time. Water and deep rivers of the likes of Ganga, Godavari on one side and colonies of men on the other, rubbing against each other skin to skin. However there was no known stampede until India’s independence. The account opened only in 1954, as the first of independent India when Nehru required it to use as an electorate address. And since then there have been 4 occasions under random governments of India.
- Demonetisation 2016, whole of India: India used to be a country, still believing in hard cash slipped off without accounting or reconciliation. A tech savvy determined Prime Minister ordered for a change, wiping off the old currencies in circulation in a flash. While Indians as they live, hoarding cash for uncalled emergencies which they’ve often, required to exchange notes in a narrow window. That on counters of dumb Indian banks. And then on the other side the bunch of important Indians whose agendas find preference before anyone else who also bear for the next 5000 generations of theirs on their own poorly built shoulders. There was anarchy, there was suspicion, there was fear all round. There was scarcity all around, and rush for sights of currencies. Few 100 odd, weak bodies succumbed as well, but not one stampede. (The lesson: When everyone is equally screwed and on their own, nobody kills)
- Chatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus, Mumbai, 2008: Kasab & Co. mayhem. Needless to comment on a Pakistan brand massacre. But- No stampede. (May be for you stand, move, you’d be shot)
- Orlando, 2016: A lone perpetrator opening fire in a gayclub. 49 shot until the attacker downed. Not one crushed
- Sarojini Nagar Market, Delhi, 2005 (eye-witnessed): Delhi serially blasted leaving 62 dead, the deadliest being Sarojini Nagar Market which serves as flea market of Delhi, that before the days of Flipkart and Amazon. Not half a stampede again.
All of the above mentioned, as in standard templates of stampedes, were environments where human density would tend to exceed the number of feets occupy-able per unit area or area of human soles more than the surface area of tragic epicenters in question. There might have been deaths, deaths under distress, but of class. And what varied is the behaviour of humans at the spot. You’d agree, when stunned either by purpose or collective rationality, even death got softer in each of the cases.
Deep dive into stampedes, you’ll find, all that stands constant is the fact that they’re always a consequence of a population into rat race set on race of immediate survival with a stop watch on. And you’d have little to disagree that these stampedes are things of primitive societies, of primitive people, of myopic brains, of tiny souls. The participants are generally those who never have time, and living for themselves. Generally the same labours who’ve no time in life to take a pause, use brains, to sacrifice a little of space for other getting crushed.
You’d not disagree when in a commotion, the quickest corrective action would be to stand-still, a small pause in collective. A statue position in collective, followed by programmed retraction from a vulnerable spot. Say, in an event of finding something killing, stampedes form the other side of taking a collective decision whether to die or wait to die from the crossroads of whether to brave or to just follow the herds and get the hell out of the spot whichever way possible until physical might allows for. Or when everybody decides to go the other way, the savage way to think of your own. Or a trait of cultures defined as third world, those handicapped to think collective and programmed.
Today, in India, they’re blaming Governments, who are caught watching porn on railway Wi-Fis. Ironically, little did they know, while they were doing so in the calm of railway platforms, the same was true for their elected leaders in legislatures, and thus the same true also for the labours manning the offices under public domains.
Little do they know preventive actions remain subject to past or futures, and never of instantaneous.
Today add to the list that apart from no animal also died no Entrepreneur in a stampede. And that its a thing of naukars and 3rd worlds. And that, there’s nothing more to conclude.
Disclaimer: The author is a battle hardened entrepreneur with a deep sense contempt towards illiteracy and views are personal.
By the labours, from the labours, of the labours. Stampede- A Cannibalism of Peace.