India’s city-dwellers get angrier as society changes

MUMBAI, December 26, 2010 (AFP) – With its religious retreats for meditation and yoga, India has long been sought out by Western visitors eager to escape the rat race and return home better prepared to face life’s challenges. Big cities like New Delhi and Mumbai, however, are becoming anything but havens of spiritual calm and inner peace for ordinary Indians, as the country’s economy grows and more people leave the rural heartlands in search of prosperity.

Anger has become a feature of daily life, with concerns raised about the harmful side-effects of modern, urban living on the nation’s health and well-being.

“There’s so much anger. It’s everywhere,” Yusuf Matcheswalla, a leading Mumbai psychiatrist, told AFP.

“There’s anger on the roads, anger in the schools, anger in the workplace, anger in the house, anger in parliament with the politicians… Everyone we meet is getting angry.”

Matcheswalla, who runs counselling centres in India’s financial capital, said he and colleagues have seen a steady rise in patients coming to them with anger-related issues.

It’s not hard to see why tempers might flare in an overcrowded city like Mumbai, where the demands of an estimated 18 million inhabitants stre