More war games being sold in Kolkata post-26/11

January 11th, 2009 - 12:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 11 (IANS) Sale of war games and toys has increased here with growing interest about violence and terrorism among kids since the terrorist attack in Mumbai Nov 26 last year.”Sale of war-related video games and toy guns, swords and choppers has increased by 44 percent here after the Mumbai terror attack. Almost every kid who comes to our shops asks for toy guns, rifles or pistols or war video games,” Sushil Mohan, an employee at Wonderland Toys in south Kolkata, told IANS.

Even roadside toy shops have replaced soft toys with toy weapons.

“What else can I do? There is a growing demand among kids for war toys. Hence we are stocking these items instead of the usual soft toys and dolls,” said Kunal Saha, who owns a roadside toy shop in north Kolkata.

“My two kids watched the entire 26/11 episode on television along with us. Now their favourite game is ‘terrorist-commando’, where they chase and fight with each other, using these new war toys,” said Smita Sarkar, a homemaker.

She does not think it will make her children more violence-prone.

“I don’t think there is any need to take the matter so seriously. They are just kids. Let them play the game they like. After a few days they will move to another game,” Sarkar said.

However, another parent Romit Adhikary is worried about the growing preference of his son for war games.

“My six-year-old son Krishnendu has literally become addicted to war and violence and it’s all my fault. I made him sit beside me and watch the Mumbai massacre and how the National Security Guard (NSG) fought with the terrorists. At that time I thought it will be a great treat for him and even bought him a toy AK47. But now he takes me as a terrorist and plays a commando himself, chasing me with his gun,” Adhikary said.

The worried father recently took Krishnendu to a child psychiatrist for counselling.

“I prefer guns and swords to dolls nowadays. When I grow up, I will join the army and fight bad men like those who attacked Mumbai,” said eight-year-old Tikli Guha.

Nine-year-old Arka Das echoed Guha and said he already has a stock of four toy rifles, two toy pistols and 11 war video games.

Around 170 people were killed in the Nov 26-29 terror attack on Mumbai. NSG commandos fought a 60-hour battle before killing nine terrorists and capturing one.

Psychiatrist Shraboni Chowdhury told IANS: “A child’s mind is hyperactive. It registers anything and everything that comes its way. And when any incident is repeated several times, it leaves a prominent mark that may remain in the brain for years, if not a lifetime. And what is more dangerous, the actions reflect the child’s psychological preferences.

“Just visit one of the toy shops in the city and see how the sale of video games that include car accidents, fights, firings, etc., has increased, leave aside toy guns, fake swords and choppers.”

Chowdhury said generally kids of the age group of three to 10 are the most affected.

“It’s better not to take the matter lightly because such games and toys increase the violent streaks in kids that may affect their lives negatively in the long run,” she said.

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