Recently I conducted a Team Building off-site workshop. Over 100 participants at an average age of 26 years attended this meet. One of the activities we normally carry out in such workshops is to make several sub-teams and then ask them to create an identity for each such team by devising a team name, create a slogan that binds the team together etc. This part of the activity is meant to establish initial bonding with the team members. The next activity that follows is aimed at tapping and triggering creative energy within teams. In this activity, the teams are asked to prepare a short skit that portrays the team values, beliefs and justifies the name and the slogan chosen by the team.
This time round, we had made four sub-teams. Interestingly, two out of the four teams came up with skits that had moderate to high amount of aggression, binging on covert to overt elements of violence.
Take a look at this.
One team presented a skit on the lines of one historical event in the life of a Maratha King (Shivaji), who took the life of a Delhi appointed Mughal emissary Afzalkhan, who had come to meet Shivaji with an intention of killing him by deceit. The team used the plot of this story to portray their slogan that talked about victory.
The second team portrayed a battle scene between two neighboring countries (India and Pakistan). Here they depicted how the more aggressive and agile soldiers were able to pump bullets in enemy camp and not give them any room for a possible retaliation. Here, the theme was beating the competition and emerge victorious.
The remaining two teams also had themes around winning but they chose very different storylines. One formed a human pyramid – a kind of sport popular in western India called Dahi Handi, to signify moving higher and higher level of success. And the other one exhibited company products and their role in making customers win at the marketplace. They accomplished this act by creating human forms and actions to signify uniqueness and specialty of the company products.
So, what is the point I am trying to make here?
In excess of 50 % of young folk participating in this event had to resort to extreme forms of depiction of violence to signify victory. It is also pertinent to note that they thought their victory had to be somebody else’s defeat.
And then I am reminded of what we read day in day out about how children are brought up these days, especially the male children. Remember, this particular team was also 95 % men!
Go to any toy shop and what are on offer are guns, bombs and all war and arson inducing toys!
I am not sure whether the youthfulness of this group made them go for more violence centric imagery or by now it has become our societal DNA, where machoism is considered as a necessary pre-condition for achieving worldly successes. And if it indeed is, then we are talking about a much deeper problem and I think it’s high time we corrected it as a society.