Thursday, May 20, 2010


Myself and my wife had gone for the AR Rahman ( genius who can thrash Hans Zimmer on the keyboard , and Oscar award winner ) concert at Calicut last year.

I took an expensive row to avoid injury to my wife just in case there was a stampede-- with lot of bomb scares going around India around that time.

The concert was delayed , and the crowd in the huge gallery section started milling out of disappointment and dashed expectations. Just like how cattle behave just before a stampede.

The milling of an stadium audience is usually the signal that customary rules of courtesy toward performers are no longer applicable and that different forms of behaviour may be expected. There always lie within us certain antagonistic attitudes. Our ego is constructed out of this matrix of aggressiveness and superiority of our own group.

This section was mostly made of emotional college students. They were now about to release the inhibitions of attitudes that had been censored.

Since milling behavior study was one of my per hobbies , i was observing closely and taking videos using my N95.

The crowd on the gallery ( about 30000 people ) soon became a mob due to the frustration of delay. Soon i could notice the internal rapport or collective hypnosis, where an individual loses self control and responds only to the dictates of the crowd. THIS IS THE STATE WHERE THE INDIVIDUAL IS ABSORBED INTO THE CROWD AND CONTROLLED BY THE CROWD MIND.. The air of menace had emerged from the crowd, and the basest of human impulses were soon to be expressed-- “herd instincts” and “the group mind”

As the police looked on nervously -- suddenly without warning -- a Mexican wave started anti-clockwise.

We all were lucky that this expressive behavior was constructive.

The frenzy of the crowd became contagious, and the contagion fed upon itself like a typhoon, growing -- and soon they had the perfect mexican wave with all IN THE WAVE holding up their lighted up mobile phones in the twilight.

--and then suddenly--

-- surprise --

another perfect mexican wave started reverse , clockwise -- with more noise and frenzy.

The students being intelligent pulled this of with great panache--

i don't think i will ever get to see a more exhilarating sight. Two opposing human waves with sound and light becoming one and then separating swiftly-- again and again--

i was overcome with a sense of euphoria due to the crowd emotion and motion-

it was a sight for the gods --

--whereby a huge crowd fell under the influence of a collective mind and provided a wonderful atmosphere--and burnt their nervous energy out.

 The element of spontaneity, is always a crucial component of collective behavior.


1 comment:

  1. Sir in Kashmir mostly after eid or fridays during tension times the mob comes of the mosques n starts stone pelting. Few years back in kishtwar j&k the same thing happened after eid prayers. It's politically also created but I sometimes donot understand why after prayers such behaviour can be displayed by young people. I remember the line of ur post THIS IS THE STATE WHERE THE INDIVIDUAL IS ABSORBED INTO THE CROWD AND CONTROLLED BY THE CROWD MIND..