OPINION

It Shouldn't Hurt To Be A Child

July 30, 2010
RESTLESS MIND

It is not possible that you grew up without getting spanked or punished ever in your childhood. But in those days, we had ways to laugh it off and maybe sometimes we thought we deserved it somehow, so we took it lightly.

Now, with the innocence of children getting lost so early in their lives, with the exposure of media, social network bullying, with excessive stress of studies, games, extra activities, and mounting parental expectation, a child is no more the same free spirit. He not only carries the burden of his heavy bag; he also bears on his shoulders the responsibility to be a good student, a good sportsperson, a guitarist, a skating or chess enthusiast. He deals not just with (and some times succumbs to) peer pressure, he also bears the brunt of a hassled, irritated and stress laden teacher.

Corporal punishment in educational institutions in India was banned by the Supreme Court in the year 2000. But how does that matter? Schools are still professing physical and/or mental punishments to students.

Physical punishment such as hitting with a scale on the palms, or with a pencil stuck between fingers and a scale hit over the hand, or caning or twisting ears or slapping or standing with hands up or a chair position or even worse the arms crossed through legs holding ears, making a child stand in the sun for hours, etc.

Mental punishment like getting slapped by the opposite sex, scolding abusing and humiliating, labeling a child for misbehaviour and parading him around the school or making a child stand at the back of the class, or sit on the floor of the class are very severe but still exist. If you went to a public school or your child studies in a public school, then you might think its done in Govt schools. Partly, yes, socioeconomic status determines exposure to this malady.

Every other day, the newspapers are full of incidents where a child got fractured by teacher’s beatings, or committed suicide either due to insult and embarrassment meted out to him in school. As if Rouvanjit Rowla’s death was not enough, still children are being disciplined by way of physical punishments. It is unfortunate. Being a mother, it breaks my heart each time I read a news like that. It scares me.

While searching on the Internet about the article, I came across two more such cases from south of India. They were horrifying:

  • A 6 year old girl was talking in the class. And the next moment, a lungi clad male teacher barges in the class, picks up the girl, takes her to science lab and sexually assaults her, in the presence of a lady teacher, for being indisciplined in the class. Moreover, when she cries out in pain, cloth is stuffed in her mouth and she is threatened not to tell anyone.
  • A 16 year old boy committed suicide after he was thrashed in the class by his teacher for missing his school on his birthday.

Now, the question is what do we do as parents? Yes, true, we all are educated, we can fight for our children. But what if, your child gets too scared to talk? Its really important to keep the communication channel open with our kids, always. Also, if the child is scared or nervous about going to school, his fears should not be laughed away.

In fact what I feel is that when we can hit back in self defense as a grown up, why can’t a child hit back, if he feels enough is enough. As it is, nobody, not even one’s parents have any right to hit a child, then why a teacher? (By the way, the draft Prevention of Offences Against Child Bill, if passed, will ban domestic corporal punishment to a child also. I so very welcome this move!)


Who is a teacher or a principal of a staff member to take away a child’s dignity? If a teacher hits a child and thereby violating the child’s Right to Life, then a child also has the right to hit back to save himself for any further harm, and then no disciplinary action should be there against him. Because, it’s the teacher who started it all. Why do we have to believe “jo bade karte hain, woh hamare bhale ke liye hota hai” (whatever elders do is for our betterment).

Its much better than another child dying first mentally, emotionally and then physically that he learns to give back to such demonic, cruel and heartless teachers.

Restless Mind is an Indian Woman, a sensitive person, a mother, a professional and an aware citizen. She expresses her thoughts, her opinions and her musings about the things which ruffle her mind, hence a RESTLESS MIND! Blog : http://myworldmyperception.blogspot.com
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It Shouldn't Hurt To Be A Child

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