Are we “The Great Indian Parent Association” doing the right thing as per our children? Now with news stories coming out everyday about the horrific pattern of abuse I wonder.
I come from a time when all children were voiceless, right less and parents were Gods. So were teachers. We were routinely spanked, had our mouths washed with soap if we used curse words, and even locked up in bathrooms. The moment an adult decided that my brother and I were too cheeky for our good, we were thrashed, yelled at and, if we were lucky, locked in the bathroom. What the parents did not know was that there was a stash of comics and novels kept in the skylight just for such occasions … but then I digress.
The point I am trying to make here is that, from time immemorial, adults react to kids developing a spine by imposing authority, sometimes in a most brutal way. It is a power thing. The adult has it, and the kid cant earn, is dependent on the adult in myriads of ways – for food, shelter, education, clothes, so the poor tyke is weak. Its so easy to bully the weak isnt it?
If we are honest, we will admit have been bullied, our self esteem broken in so many ways. If I compare us with non-Indian, heck non-Asian kids, I find us weak, having no self esteem. Swami Agnivesh says that he drank his own pee to stop bed wetting. The mind boggles. And Twitter, as usual goes on overdrive with Agnivesh jokes.
But if you think about it carefully, what made him punish himself like that? May be he thought that he had to take away his dignity to feel as though he was dong penance for an error….
Not that bed wetting is a deliberate act which requires a punishment.
Some months earlier, the newspapers screamed themselves hoarse about a parent who forced his daughter to beg, because she did poorly in school. Its the same pattern, hurt a child’s self esteem, take away the right to be human and free. Impose your bloody and harsh parental authority.
I was a girl when a friend of mine eloped. Her father was livid. His statement still makes me shudder “Maine jaan di hai, le bhi sakta hoon.” Translation “I have given her life, I can take it too.”
From there its a tiny step to become a person who kills his daughter for honour – whose honour I do not know. I for one would not like to call it something so polite. Its murder and it should be called murder.
And then when we have such skewed notions of parenting and honour, we become teachers and parents. Parents brought up in such ethos go ahead and give teachers the carte blanche for disciplining the kids. We have spiritual (?) leaders like Agnivesh (who come from the same system) and ask what is wrong in dispensing such barbaric justice and using such horrific measures for discipline.
The warden who gave the disgusting punishment is not wrong
The father who made the girl beg is not wrong
Neither is the joker Swami Agnivesh.
There is something wrong with us collectively. We are a nation of cowardly bullies. We find it easy to impose our brutal authority on those weaker than us. When we see someone stronger and more powerful, we cower and back away.
It is cyclic. We were broken by our elders, and in turn we dish out exactly what we got.
We have to learn better. It is only then that these headlines wont scream out from newspapers. But who is going to teach us?