Insight: Ebola, Swine Flu and now 'Uncle' mania is killing people.

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Bengaluru, April 7: Human perils are never ending and so are their whims and fancies. Now that we are out from the HINI danger zone, we still need something to hanker on. Otherwise, what is the thrill in life?

But that being a cause of killing someone is not good enough a reason. 38-year old Mahesh K, a Pragathi PU college official for instance did not bat an eyelid while shooting a second year student and her friend. Meanwhile, another incident that sparked off rage was that of two pilots fighting in the cockpit of the Air India flight because the junior pilot called the senior one 'Uncle'.

[Read: Bengaluru college shooting: Girls insulted me by calling 'Uncle', says killer Mahesh]

A derogation that lies in history

Following the 19th century novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', the word 'Uncle' has entered a list of ethnic slurs. Based on the character in the novel, the phrase 'Uncle Tom' is now referred to a person " who is slavish and excessively subservient to perceived authority figures, particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people; or any person perceived to be complicit in the oppression of their own group".

Assuming that the people concerned did not know of the actual slur, it is obvious that they were enraged for something else.

Age matters

In the Indian context, the words 'bhaiya', 'uncle', 'aunty' hold a lot of respect, designated only for the elderly. So, if it is said, it has to be said to the senior citizens, despite the fact that the age determination has seen a sea change these days. Even those beyond the age of 65 do not wish to be called with these names. The reason being, it makes them feel old and you respect the old.

Remember the Nirbhaya rapist who said that had the victim called her violators 'bhaiya', her life would have been spared (please note: But rape was inevitable).

[Read: Air India pilots fought as Captain addressed co-pilot as 'uncle']

This same thing led to the dismal state in the above-mentioned cases. The girl was in the love list of the official and he simply could not tolerate himself being called an 'uncle' by her.

The co-pilot too brought wrath on himself because of the unwanted 'respect' that he showed to the senior pilot.

So beware, young your words before paying 'respect'.

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