When Innocent children terrorized by the TEACHERS
It was one of the few days that I should not forget. True to say, I just cannot. My son was just three years and a half and his back was scratched by a slender oily cane and he was frightened and crying without a noise and he stood unattended. This I did watch from a distance of twenty yards, that is, from the other side of the boundary wall, where I used to wait for my son to receive daily after his school.
I entered the school campus silently with a puzzled mind and politely asked the headmistress concerned: Will you please let me know what mischief my child has committed for which he has been punished thus?’ Rapt came the answer: Take your son back to your home if you find yourself and your son not enough to suit to our institute.’
I was stunned. There were many a parents of either gender who had reached there to receive their children like me. I was doubly stunned as nobody seemed to be shaken at these unfortunate incidents. This unfriendly silence reminded me another incident of my early life.
I was then a student of standard fifth in my school and our Geography teacher was in the class. He was as handsome as a film star, fair and tall, and was equipped with the art of telling tales nicely. That was a detective story and there was pin-drop silence in the class and we were spellbound. Suddenly he stopped and smiled and his rosy lips became tough and he did point to one of the children and uttered harshly: I have forgot the tale. Do you know why? The face of that boy resembling that of a black monkey! Now the face of the boy became really darker, my thin and always-ill classmate tried to hide his face and did not know where he would hide. It appeared to him that he was thunder-struck for no fault of his own. Alas! In the morning only before going to his school he had played with his white kitten and told his mother, Look mom, look! This one is, as if, a tiger. The little boy was little indeed and that day he dared not question the teacher the reason for such a nasty remark.
Such tales, tales still true, are endless in our schools in India. A child, a very little one, does not want to go to his school one day and does not disclose how mercilessly he has been thrashed by the teacher in the class. A student of standard three does not like to take a bath after his return from the school as he/she is not willing to show his/her mother the marks of the slender and sharp cane on the back. Thanks to a strong slap of a teacher a baby looses a tooth of the upper jaw instantly and bleeds. The printing media sometimes provide us with such information.
One of my friends has a very peculiar memory. When he was in class six he had encountered a mathematics teacher who was also his class teacher. My friend had genuine affinity to mathematics from the beginning. His mathematics teacher, immediately after entering into the class, would call him to move to the teacher’s pulpit and ask him to stretch his left palm on which the teacher would hit five times with one of his sticks.
And then he would touch the attendance register. When my friend grew up he wanted to know that teacher why he had behaved with him in that way and he wanted to know this along with some of his friends, the teacher just denied the entire episode.
The story of another teacher, a geography teacher again, very talented and for that reason popular in the society, was famous for his sticks. They were numerous in number, and short and long, and thin and thick, and with the name of the teacher engraved over each of them. He had never left a class without utilizing one of them ever. One day in a very hapless situation a boy of class eight requested him with folded hands and requested him again and again, Sir! I am a patient. Appendix operated two weeks back. Spare this part. Please!’ The teacher blindly hit him on that particular region only.
A student of class ten had dermatological problem in the foot and a well-known skin-specialist advice him not to use shoes and the student’s parent had submitted a certificate of the physician to the headmaster and to the class-teacher in respect of this. But the student was one day treated with a cane for the sandal and not shoe in his feet by a teacher who, astonishingly, could not use any shoe for the same problem of his own. This teacher is now a retired person and a funny thing is that he had always had the habit of creating reasons to beat the students.
Once a girl of class eight could not answer a question asked by her teacher whose subject was Bengali language and literature. One of her classmates was ordered to slap on her cheek. Her classmate humbly submitted that she was not feeling it proper to carry out such an order. Now the teacher called this second girl near the pulpit and when she did oblige the teacher hit on her head by a metallic ring of his hand. At this the plastic-made clip to hold the long hair of the girl on her head was broken and it was dropped near the foot of the teacher and he had just kicked the piece to a distance by the toe of his shoe and the two girls began to sob.
If you put your ear on the wall of the schools in India you will hear thousands of such heart-breaking stories. Added to this are the bushings hurled at the students of different age-group by the teachers, goat or monkey, dog or donkey, mad or lunatic and also sometimes some not-printable substances depending on the cultural background of the concerned teachers.
The students who come from the economically backward family and environment are hurt by the reference of the neglected profession of their parents. One may say that the children do not mind for these. They do mind. They do not speak out. This section of the teaching community does not understand that these boys or girls hailed either from the family of the haves or of the have-nots do not want their self-respect to be slaughtered. They are like us who behave in the same manner in a different occasion. Let us think what we do when prices of the commodities spiral up and trouble us or what do we do when our respected representatives of the people are accused and arrested today for a crime related to a bribe or to a murder and are freed tomorrow without being punished or when we are taxed and over-taxed days after days. Most of us just do not raise our voice at all. Does this mean that we accept all these? We are forced to accept indeed.
Next, most of the parents share the considerations of Ayodhoumyo, a teacher mentioned in the ancient mythology of India. Yes, Ayodhoumyo. Aruni and Upomonyu were two of his disciples. Vedovyasa, the great bard of the Mahabharata, has enumerated in his epic how this teacher had tortured them. Actually India has a tradition of rule of force from the old days. It is as if a philosophical sanction stands behind this. It has been accepted in India that the teachers shall have every right to rule the students when they will find it necessary. This rule includes physical and mental torture. These elements of persecution in education have been considered as quite natural or at least nothing unnatural by most of the teachers and also by most of the parents. These teachers and the parents have allowed the teachers to utilize their eyes and lips and voice and hands and sticks in the hands and also the gestures, however harsh that may be, in order to turn the boys and girls to be attentive to the studies and to be disciplined and loyal because, for
Building up of the character of the children, one should not and must not raise any question on this issue. Despite being equipped with such knowledge if a boy or a girl cannot accept this norms and dares raise his/her disapproval he/she will only be responsible for the loss of his/her career finally. In such cases parents, too, who know what is what, do not utter a single word generally.
They do fear and they have three reasons to be frightened: 1) if the parents dare lodging a complaint against the concerned teacher to the headmaster or headmistress there is every possibility that their child will be destined to be persecuted much more than before. 2) It may be seen that the particular student has secured very less marks in the next examination. 3) If a teacher is criticized or even insulted for his faults the concerned student will have a wrong signal, wrong in the sense that he/she will no more respect the teachers and this will go against the health of the incumbent ultimately. The third one may be hard to conceptualize, but the first two have solid basis in reality.
Still In a country like India and in many other oriental countries teachers are said to be illustration of a life style that conveys message of plain living and high thinking. It is our experience, sad or not, that persons having such type of aspiration are fewer now-a-days. We have been in general changed to such stuff that we do not want to achieve anything or that we want to achieve something without rendering due labor for it or without a preparation to dedicate ourselves for the cause. We want to earn money to get rid of our personal poverty to some or to a great extent. It is neither unwise nor anything wrong if one wants to earn money. But our tendency is to earn it without any exchange. This extra money that we earn helps us improve our status in the society and to be owner of many substances that make our life more comfortable than before. Aiming at this the teachers engage themselves in the practices of private tuition. This involvement of the teaching community is not acceptable ethically. But now nobody does bother for the ethics of a community. It implies that they do not do what they should do in the classes daily and that they leak the questions to the students who rush to the coaching centers after or before school hours and who are to pay some considerable amount of money. Event takes the trouble of learning properly. The most serious question is really frightening, frightening because the students are frightened with the thought that they may receive ill treatment from the teachers in the class and also in the answer papers if they do not take tuition from those teachers.
Again, the teachers who share the view that the students are to be forced to rule or share this concept philosophically have something different to state.
They raise the question of relation, the relation between the teachers and the students as this was earlier or as this has still been in our society. It implies that the students who were or have still been scolded/ slapped/caned/ struck by the sticks were or are treated by the teachers as their children. The claim is that all these were and even now are done for the welfare and betterment of the children. The children did feel and do still feel the tender touch of affection and love from behalf of the teachers. Experiences of the day do no more support this view. Still, even if we accept this idea, it should not be ignored that any kind of physical or psychological persecution or some artificial expression of any such is enough to cause suppression on the children’s very green mind and that these are, hence, undesirable and unhealthy. We should think and we must think it seriously enough if this procedures or practices suppress the spirit and capacity of our children to think freely and if all these build up hindrances on their desire to challenge and venture because the lack or paucity of this spirit will definitely affect adversely on our progress towards the search for knowledge in days to come.
It is an accepted impression that our teachers, despite all limitations and despite all errors and omissions, have been highly respected by different sections of our society. But with the changes in all kinds of variables a new equilibrium has been noticed to be developing around us in which the respect towards the teaching community has reached or has set to be reaching to the lowest ebb. And that too in a time when our teachers are much above the poverty line and are no more blacklisted by persons who look for the guys for their daughters ready for marriage.
The sorry spectacle has become a reality because of the fact that we find, in this invaluable profession, very few persons, almost microscopic in number, who is really sincere and dedicated to their mission and who are really firm in search of knowledge and also students-friendly and at the same time armed with urge for advanced humanity. Teachers whom we find these days are employees and employees only and they could have set themselves in any other profession and render services in any other concerns and offer expected rate of productivity. In those concerns they could serve the owner and also serve themselves happily.
But in the schools they must serve the purposes of the children and of course with a dedication, especially for the reason that they are honorable teachers of a developing country. We cannot accept a teacher reaching late in the school or leaving the school earlier and we cannot accept a teacher facing the students without due preparation or without a very good homework and we should not accept a teacher who does not realize that it is his task not only to complete the syllabus or even not only to prepare the children for the examination but also an essentially to develop genuine interest among his students to know the subjects. He should keep in mind that he must be ready to answer or satisfy a student if he/she asks him a question. Otherwise, he must leave this profession. Some other teachers must immediately leave this profession. These teachers are heard to receive services from the children as if the children are their slaves or even slaves for sex. At this point one may want to know why in the educational centers people with an attitude not of a teacher are coming.
We have an answer. Yes, in the profession of teacher ship these persons are coming following the terms of the market…This country has been opened to the market economy and the market has been offered the chair to rule and make legislation to rule. This modern market has the ability to eat up the jobs and its strength to create fresh jobs is insufficient and this yields a huge and unacknowledged band of unemployed youth in towns and also in the villages. Employment still is available mainly in three sectors – 1) IT sectors; supply line is good thanks to the production of the half-engineers in the standard one-fourth engineering colleges of the country. 2) Defense and Security sector. 3) Schools. The degeneration in the standard of the teachers noticed in our time has one more important reason in some states in India, West Bengal to name one. In this state the rulers are pseudo-Marxists and anything else and they are attempting to prove to be good managers. They oppose pluralism. They want to control all spheres of people’s activities. The appointment/recruitment of the teachers is generally political. This political appointment has made a mess of all. The teachers thus appointed by political consideration and not by quality. They are really expert in inhuman activities and are by disposition lazy and worthless. They do not feel responsible for any of their acts as they are not accountable to anybody save the political party who has helped them have a job.
Earlier we have named one teacher, Ayodhoumyo. Students of Ayodhoumyo, Aruni and Upomanyu had suffered greatly. They had to rise early and to take the cows to the fields and to bring wood from the forests and many more services they had to render for the teacher and for the wife of the teacher. And all these they had to do to receive education. But Ayodhoumyo had one more student and he was Veda. At the end of years of tremendous hardship in the teacher’s home he became a teacher. He did not forget the days of his student life and the accounts of inhuman torture. Hence he decided that he would not persecute his students on the plea of measuring their earnestness to learn. Rather he loved them as his children and tried to remove their sufferings. He never accepted that his own teacher had done the right thing by torturing his students.
I wish our students will have teachers like Veda and my son would never say again that he does not want to go to school