Pals defend 'moody' Prince

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By NALIN VERMA WITH INPUTS FROM G.S. MUDUR in Patna
  • Published 29.10.08
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Patna, Oct. 29: Rahul Raj once stormed off a cricket field after the umpire gave him out. But he was back after his friends — who later “sensed” they had made a “wrong appeal” — went up and said sorry.

“He was moody and temperamental and had zero tolerance” for anything he found “wrong and unjust”, “but he was not violent”, recalled friends of the Patna youth shot dead by Mumbai police in the double-decker he had hijacked on Monday.

Rahul’s friends say he had been agitated over the attacks on north Indians in Mumbai where he wanted to settle down and pursue a career in modelling.

He also used to say he wanted to meet Raj Thackeray and ask him why his partymen were beating up students from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. “But he never talked about killing Raj or anyone else.”

Bumbum, Rahul’s buddy since they were in Class V, said someone must have “provoked Prince”, as the young man was known to his friends.

“But it’s hard to believe that Prince was about to kill anyone for we never saw him getting physical even when he was in his worst mood,” said another close friend.

Psychologists believe Rahul’s action could have been an acute reaction from a mind in turmoil. “This could be symbolic of a general unrest and progressive frustration in some of our youth,” said Jitender Nagpal, a senior consultant psychiatrist at Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, New Delhi.

“It could have been a momentary acute reaction, but we need to understand that this young man may have been trying to voice an opinion — perhaps in response to inappropriate political movements he’d observed around him.”

Rajat Mitra, a psychologist in New Delhi, said this was “someone who appears to have snapped”.

Rahul

“Typically, such individuals have significant difficulty to tolerate frustration…. There may have been a sense of gross injustice in his mind and he may have felt that he had the responsibility to make this injustice right.”

In Patna, friends remembered the slain 25-year-old as someone with a strong sense of competition.

“I will do something better than you,” he had once jokingly told his sister, Puja, after she qualified in the SBI probationary officers’ exams.

“You should concentrate on your studies if you want to become better than me,” Puja had retorted.

But Rahul, who lost his mother when still a baby but found a “caring” step-mom after his father married his sister-in-law, didn’t want to limit himself to doing well in studies.

Offered a job of instructor in the Indian Institute of Health Education, Beur, he refused.

“I will move to Mumbai to pursue my career in modelling,” he had told the institute’s director.

Last year, Rahul, along with two friends, Amit and Bikram, enrolled for “Mr Bihar”, a modelling contest. However, it was Bikram who ended as a runner-up while Rahul trailed marginally despite a “decent show”.