‘Unearthing alternatives to corporal punishment’

October 13, 2017

Some thoughts to ponder on: Apparently, Corporal Punishment is a world-wide phenomenon. It’s being fought against, just like many other forms of discrimination are being fought against. There aren’t being many victories though. That’s sad. And real. Pink Floyd sang about it in 1979: We don’t need no education We don’t need no thought control No dark sarcasm in the classroom Teachers leave them kids alone Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone All in all it’s just another brick in the wall Down the years, all the kids who were punished have grown up to be adults and they know how bad it is. And yet they do not allow the painful memory of their childhood to inspire them to protect other innocent young lives. Case in point: “It seems that Saarthak Singh, one of my students in the department, and I have both received corporal punishment from the SAME math teacher at school. I am a quarter century older than Saarthak!”- Anish Goel, HOD, ……. University, Department of English on Facebook. (Identities hidden) Question is: Why? Why does society tolerate violence against those who are weak? A common thread binds corporal punishment with violence against women, against the LGBT community, against the poor and the underprivileged, against those less in number. Why does society glorify violence and how do we make society see differently from the way they have been used to seeing things since time immemorial: that is the question we have set out to answer. Society is violent because it instinctively knows it lives in utter danger. That it is essentially located on the surface of a rotating ball of condensed lava revolving around a giant ball of fire with constant possibility of a giant stone crushing it to nothingness in matter of seconds. Society is violent because one small group of people, or microscopic organisms can, and have, created unspeakable havoc and horror. Hence, the society seeks security. order. discipline. It allays its fears by unfurling all its authority and frustrations and helplessness on those it can crush: the women, the children and the deviants. Schools are by design supposed to maintain an environment of utmost discipline and order because they are by mandate there to churn out perfect employees. Do we speak about the extent of violence prevalent in workplace the world over? Why are bosses stereotyped the world over as ‘bad’? Schools are being honest in what they are doing with children and the way they are doing it. A teenagers basic instinct in teenage is to listen to the heart and not to the mind. Do we expect him/her to wage a war against the hormones? Yet, they have to crack the the IITs and the PMTs at this age. What does one do? So when we go to the teachers and the parents and ask them to never take recourse to violence, physical or verbal, while dealing with their kids: What is the alternative which we have on offer? I believe I am still swimming in shallow waters here. There is much more depth which I can sense but can’t capture. will keep pondering… and sharing… by Shabbir Haider <shabbir1haider@gmail.com>

Guest Contributor