With the dust beginning to settle following the London Riots, it is possible to start comprehending the true extent of the damage caused by the marauding gangs. We have all seen the iconic pictures of buildings and vehicle set alight, and we have all been distressed by the tragic stories of loss.
But now is the time to begin to repair, what politicians are calling, our “sick” and “broken” society.
Here is a simple breakdown of the riots by numbers:
· 10 building fires
· 24 vehicle fires
· 58 shops looted
· 160 incidents reported
· 5 deaths
According to the Association of British Insurers, the London riots caused £200 million worth of damage, with 20,800 emergency phone calls made on Monday 8th August (a 400% increase from the norm).
Urban uprisings are nothing new. Yet, it is difficult to remember an instance where the rioters have been so shockingly cavalier, and have rebelled for some “free stuff”. It is clear that the disillusioned British youth wreaked havoc on the streets of our cities to take advantage of an opportunity to nab a pair of Nike trousers from JD Sports.
During the early months of 1965, riots swept across the southern parts of India. Having only claimed its independence from Great Britain in 1947, these urban revolts jeopardized India’s status as a fledgling nation.
The unrest began on January 26th, when the government declared Hindi to be the official language of India. Although a separate bill stated that English may continue as an alternative language for 10 years, Southern Indians feared that this would condemn them to linguist, cultural, and economic subjugation from the North.
What may have started as a peaceful student protest, eventually gathered momentum until an angry mob of 10,000 people were running riot across Southern India.
The Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, consistently gave verbal assurances that the government would not impose Hindi upon anyone. Yet his reluctance to put these assurances into law further fuelled angry protesters. The rioters eventually attacked trains, burnt post offices, and cut telephone lines.
The ruling Congress Party were forced to change their position on the matter, and by 1967 they amended the Official Languages Act to guarantee the indefinite use of both Hindi and English.