A mob is defined as a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence. Mob mentality is when the participants lose their individual values and principles and adopt the group’s principles. This effectively destroys the person’s inhibitions, and they start doing things they’d never do under a normal setting.
This especially is a dangerous development because being in a mob gives people a sense of anonymity. A person can act all well meaning and nice to save their image in the eyes of others but as soon as you give them an anonymous forum the real “person” comes out. This is evident by the fact that across various forums, blogs and websites online, the most venomous comments are the ones posted anonymously. So how does this relate to the enormous danger posed by a mob?
The most salient feature of mob violence is that the law enforcement cannot fully incriminate any one individual. For example, let us say we have an angry mob led by Mr X and it wants to kill Mr Y. Mr X being the leader of the group calls for the culling of Mr Y and then takes off to somewhere else while the mob performs its deed, proverbially burying Mr Y in the pile of people. This gives Mr X an opportunity to create an alibi for himself, absolving him. In a court of law, he can say that his words to a “public gathering” might have been misconstrued and that he personally didn’t physically harm Mr Y, making him less culpable. As for the people arrested from the mob, even they can say, “I only kicked him once”, “I only punched him twice”, incriminating them of merely minor assault. In sum, while there was a murder committed, no one got charged as a murderer, scary, isn’t it?
Now that we have established how dangerous a mob can be, let us discuss upon what creates a mob in the first place. Commonly, mobs are comprised of people with similar ideologies, or similar grievances, often against a large establishment such as the government. There can be religious mobs, political mobs, or mobs gathered together for a common social agenda. Religious riots often take an ugly turn very quickly, and sometimes the response of the authorities is slow and limited owing to the fact that the group inciting the riots serves as a vote bank for politicians. Another point to consider is that the people who might have a similar philosophical ideology to the mob but didn’t actually participate in it are also being badmouthed for sympathizing with the mob. A recent example of this is the West Bengal riots of July 2017 where the Muslims of the Northern 24 Paraganas district irked by a facebook post mobbed up and started attacking and destroying possessions and properties of their Hindu neighbors. A lot of innocent people suffered just because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This whole incident could have easily been avoided, but it spread like a forest fire just because of mob mentality.
In conclusion, there really can never be an end to mobs. Humans have a greedy nature, there always is a feeling to get more. This feeling always leads to a race to get ahead in life and not everyone succeeds. Hence, a class divide, a social divide always exists, adding to that various issues of race, religion and nationalism. Perhaps this mentality will end when we live in a Utopian world where everyone is equal, or in other words, when pigs fly.