Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
South Asia Monitor
Child Needs Compassion, Not Cane
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
South Asia Editor
When a 13-year-old schoolboy kills himself, there is something grossly wrong with the society and, more so, the education system it propagates.Rouvanjit Rawla, a student of class eight in one of India’s most prestigious schools, La Martiniere, in Kolkata, committed suicide after he was canned by the principal.

The tragic incident has brought into sharp focus the fast deteriorating student-teacher relationship in India. Cases of teacher brutality have been on an alarming rise in recent years. A 12-year-old boy lost part of his vision when his master threw a duster at him in New Delhi. A class 10 student committed suicide in Chennai after his teacher stripped and trashed him. In Udaipur, a class 12 boy died after being beaten by his master for having sat with his legs on the table. A 11-year-old student succumbed to sun stroke after being made to stand on the school ground in New Delhi’s scorching summer. Examples can be endless.

On the other end of the spectrum are the boys and even girls who harass and disgrace their teachers. A teacher of chemistry writing on a blackboard had a trying time in a class of 60 adolescent boys, who kept darting paper rockets at him. And when the master said he knew who the mischief-maker was, the boys asked him in a chorus whether the man had eyes at his back. There are also incidents of boys and girls from rich families who walk around with a terrible attitude: they think that teachers get their salaries from the fees the students pay. In a country, where the school staff is ill-paid, this economic disparity between the teacher and the taught often places the classroom relationship at an uneven and uncomfortable level. The well-to-do students, invariably pampered and spoilt by their parents, never let their teachers forget that they are obliged to the money that comes in as fees.

Gone are the days, it seems, when teachers were great friends of their students. Yes, but, of course, outside the class. In a southern Indian town of the 1930s, teachers and students played games together and chased each other on the banks of the river there. But come the next morning, the teacher-student respect and decorum remained intact in class. Even in the 1960s and the 1970s, students held their teachers in awe and seldom disobeyed or disregarded them.

However, with the dawn of the internet age and the phenomenal growth of the new rich, equations began to change. Boys and girls felt that they could pick up a whole lot of information from internet sites, callously ignoring the fact that it can also be grossly incorrect and misleading. Also, students in most elite schools growing up in the lap of luxury and with few wants began to think that the teacher was at best a nuisance, a poor man who could not afford to live in an upmarket locality or wear designer clothes or own fancy cars. Imagine, a 20-year-old student going to college in Chennai in a Rs 1000000 (USD 25000) car, which may well be equivalent to his professor’s total annual salary! Imagine a 10-year old coming to school with an expensive mobile phone, whose price may well be that of his teacher’s whole month wage!

Added to this, nuclear families with a child or two are unduly protective of their sons and daughters. They could do no wrong. If there was a problem at school, the teacher was to blame. The parents of a fifth grader complained to the principal when a teacher casually commented on the student’s strange hair style. Often parents ignore their children’s disobedience and arrogance. Walking habitually late to school and flaunting expensive gadgets are considered a child’s right, but parents who encourage these forget that school is a democratic space and the last place to expose one’s affluence. Egalitarianism must be the keyword on the school or college campus.

Yet, corporal punishment is not to be condoned. This is surely not the answer to get children on to the right track. Apart from the fact that physical and mental abuse is banned by Indian law, the stick tends to push the child into a state of rebelliousness. Anger and frustration build in a child that is ridiculed or beaten, and these can lead to low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies. Or, at times, murderous intentions. The mother, the grandmother and the sister of a young Ayurvedic physician I knew in Bihar were butchered to death by a few school students because his schoolteacher father had got them suspended for habitual notoriety.

Obviously, teachers have an enormous task on hand, and they appear ill-equipped to handle it. Modern boys and girls have many problems to cope with at home: working parents who have little time for their children, fractured families, broken homes and parental expectation that run unreasonably high. With social networking sites galore, youngsters chat, but no longer talk. Fathers and mothers are too tired at the end of the day to initiate a conversation with their children.

So, the teacher becomes a very important person in a child’s life. He or she is the friend, guide and counsellor. In some significant ways, the character of a boy or girl can well be shaped by the teacher. The man or woman who minds a class full of curious and impatient children has to have patience and vision. The teacher has to be emotionally strong, kind and understanding, tempering discipline with humanness, infusing values with feeling. The class is certainly not the place for biases, retribution and irritability. Teaching is certainly a profession today, but unless there is passion for it, classrooms will continue to be uneasy, frustrating and self-defeating.

Related Articles
    Tiger Man Mike Pandey
    Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
    El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
    New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
    India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks near ...
    The Dashing Pedro Almodovar to Chair Cannes ...
    Korean Cinema Comes to Chennai in India
    The Horror of Custodial Death
    Modi Is the Man We Need in India
    Mumbai’s Child King
    The Cocktail at Cannes
    Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Hollywood Note
    Mumbai Terrorized Again
    Venice Lines Up Impressive Jury
    Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Delightful Note
    No Indian Movie at the Festival
    Meaningless Film Censorship
    This Bloody Life!
    Mumbai and Pusan Film Fest Establish Ties
    On Road, in Rage
    India Picks Wrong Films for Oscars
    Robert De Niro to Head Cannes Film Fest Jury
    Someone Killed Jessica, But of Course!
    Middle Eastern Cinema Hits Hard
    Dubai Film Fest Opener
    Dubai Film Fest to Unravel Diverse Selection
    Indian Police Cut Corners to Tackle Crime
    Goa Festival Not God's Own
    "West Is West" Sets IFFI Sailing
    Fine Cinema at the Coming Dubai Film Festival
    "The King's Speech" to Set the Fest Rolling
    Abu Dhabi Film Festival a Fantastic Mix of ...
    "Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema" ...
    The Venetian Storm
    Frieda's Venice
    Jafar Panahi's Music Soothes Souls
    "Black Swan" Opens Venice Festival
    Festival to Bounce with Youthful Energy
    Shame and Scandal Plague Commonwealth Games
    A Beast Called Beauty
    Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema
    Bhopal Gas Tragedy: A Crime Called Bhopal
    Honour Killings Are India's Shame
    Cannes Film Festival And Poetry
    Cannes More Art Than Glamour This Time
    An Indian Pilgrimage to Cannes
    Maoist Rebellion in India
    Asians to Carry the Torch at Cannes
    Cannes Film Festival and Probables
    "Robin Hood" to Open Cannes Film Festival
    Persecution of Artists
    The Only Two Real Races This Year
    Curry Bashing in Australia
    US Director Tim Burton to Lead Cannes Jury
    India's Car Boom Creates Its Own Chaos
    Making Idiots Out of Men
    Indian Girls Find Paris Hilton’s Shoes Too Hot
    Mexican Film Wins Top Prize at Marrakech
    Ben Kingsley Hopes to Be an Envoy for Cinema
    Movie Director Hopes Obama Would Solve the ...
    Nandita Das on Marrakech Jury
    A Decaying Film Festival
    Marrakech Festival a Boon for Local Cinema
    Panorama Selection Questionable
    IFFI to Open on a Note of Visual Lyricism
    South Korea to Be Focus at the Film Fest
    Dalai Lama’s Tawang Visit Vexes Beijing
    Why Mumbai Film Fest Scores over Goa
    Mumbai’s Young Movie Critics Ready to Tear ...
    India Is Still Hungry for Food
    Honor Killing through Lens at Mumbai Festival
    11th Mumbai Film Festival to Open with Matt ...
    Film Festival to Showcase Some Gems
    Can India Host 2010 Commonwealth Games?
    A New Irritant in India-China Ties
    The Venetian Sorrow
    The Tiger War
    Israeli War Film Wins Venice’s Top Golden Lion
    Politicians Livid over Festival Movie
    "Bad Lieutenant" Creates Bad Blood between Two ...
    Clooney and Damon Star Attractions at Venice
    Muslim Bashing Must End
    Mumbai Film Festival Prizes to Be among the ...
    An Indian Juror in De Sica Land
    India's Gays Can Now Love without Fear
    Moore's "Capitalism," 70 Other Films to ...
    An Indian Summer at the Lagoon City
    Festival May Be Strong on European Fare
    A Tamil Film with a Difference
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: But ...
    India Is Racist Too
    Hollywood Bungles in Bollywood
    The Tragic Tale of the Indian Tiger
    Cannes Jury Honors Chilling Tales
    Lars Von Trier’s Sex and Horror
    Gems and the Cannes Film Festival
    Market and the Cannes Film Festival
    Keats Poetry, Campion’s Reading
    Lou Ye’s Controversial Disaster
    Clash of Titans on the Croisette
    Sexy Sirens and Political Propagandists
    Is Sharmila Tagore the Right Choice for Cannes ...
    The Stars in Cannes’ Dark Skies
    Cannes Courts Controversy
    Indian Elections: A Circus of Villains
    Festival Unveils Lineup of Masters
    Beyond Bollywood’s Melodramatic Mishmash
    India's Infrastructure at Breaking Point
    Guessing the Festival Goodies
    Kate Winslet the New Face of Brilliance
    Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ to Spit Fire at Fest
    Animated Film, Up, to Open Festival
    Smoking Screen
    Oscar-Rich Penelope Set to Master English
    Cannes Honours Clint Eastwood
    Renowned French Star to Chair Cannes Jury
    Fable of Mr Benjamin Button: Riveting Cinema
    The Mangalore Molest
    Aamir Khan Film Is a Bad Copy
    It May Well Be the End of Agony in Sri Lanka
    Woody Allen’s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
    International Film Festival of India
    Mumbai Terror
    Marrakech Int'l Film Festival Has Grown
    Marrakech Int'l Film Festival
    Marrakech International Film Festival
    Shambled Secularism
    Benegal’s Sajjanpur
    Venice Festival Blues
    Venice under the Hollywood Spell ?
    A Riveting Movie on Islam's Crisis
    Venice Festival a Haven for World Premieres
    Pakistani Films Come to India, at Last!
    Tamil Super Hero Rises Again
    The Comic Fantasy
    The Smoking Screen!
    Bollywood and Beyond at Stuttgart
    New Film May Spell Hope for Bollywood
    Indian Cinema Feeds Deceit
    An Indian Film on an American Power Plant
    India Not At Cannes
    Cannes Line-Up
    Writer Taslima Nasreen Forced Out of India
    India Inspires World Fashion
    Mills & Boon
    "Jodhaa Akbar" Creates Controversy in India
    Sania Mirza Subject to Ridicule in Native India
    Sarkozy and Bruni Love Causes Moral Outrage
    India and the Oscars
    Marrakech International Film Festival Reviewed
    Paranoid Park
    Cannes 2007: Killings
    The Spy Case
    The Good and the Not So Good
    Bollywood Superman
    First Kashmiri Film in 20 Years
    Chinese Influence Seems Unstoppable
    Cannes Film Festival 2006: Minimalism, Too
    Cannes Fest Prizes
    Cannes Film Festival 2006: Great Delights
    The Da Vinci Code
    Missing Tigers
    The Despair of Tibetans
    Trilateral Stratagem To Slow China's Growth
    Sri Lanka Crisis
    Hollywood Movies Doing Well In India
    Peace Pipe
    Mangal Pandey: The Rising
    Honda Clash
    Bush-Manmohan Singh Pact
    Satyajit Ray, Still India's Most Noted Movie ...
    Ban on Cigarettes in India
    "Match Point" Excoriated by Britons
    Crisis In India’s Hindu Nationalist Party
    Manmohan Singh’s One Year
    58th Cannes International Film Festival Begins
    Indo-Pakistan Cricket Diplomacy
    U.S. Visa Refusal
    The 7th Deauville Asian Film Festival Closes
    Seedy Film Journalism
    Indian Tigers Butchered in Broad Daylight
    No Oscar for Scorsese, Yet Again
    Nepal in Turmoil As King Sacks PM Deuba
    History Repeats in Struggle for Free Press
    India Could Have Prevented Tsunami Deaths
    Argue over Freedom on Internet
    "City of Gold" Dubai Stands like Oasis in ...
    Towards a Solution to the Kashmir Problem
    India & China Rising
    Bush Victory and India
    Indian Robinhood
    After 9/11, World Links Muslim with Violence
    India's Great Heritage Taj Mahal in Danger
    "Kashmir": A Never Ending Thorny Issue
    The Village -- A Silly Joke
    Jakarta Bombing Aimed at Aussie ...
    Millions of Indians Go to Bed Hungry
    Sri Lanka's Ethnic War Knows No End
    Over 600 Tibetan Monks, Nuns Should Be Freed
    India's Schoolgirl Killer Hanged in Controversy
    3 Kidnapped Indians Endure Agonizing Torture
    Musharraf's Sets Deadline on Kashmir
    Usefulness of Nepalese Monarchy in Question
    Temple of Learning Turns into Grave of Death
    AIDS Keeps Threatening the Poor in Asia, Africa
    Fearful of Dowry Parents Kill Newborn Girls
    Hot Discussion on Death Penalty in India
    India's Flag of Democracy Kept Unfurled
    Politics Dominates Cannes Int'l Film Festival
    Intolerance Grows before India General Election
    Fears of Strife Continue in Sri Lanka
    Torture, Rape Occur in Indian Classroom
    World Leaders Must Take Stand against Nukes
    India's Cities Prosper as Country Folk Starve
    India, Pakistan Form Friendly Ties
    Cell Phones Bring Joy, Sorrow World Over

Other Articles by Gautaman Bhaskaran
Tiger Man Mike Pandey
Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks ...

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a veteran film critic and writer who has covered Cannes and other major international festivals, like Venice, Berlin, Montreal, Melbourne, and Fukuoka over the past two decades. He has been to Cannes alone for 15 years. He has worked in two of India’s leading English newspapers, The Hindu and The Statesman, and is now completing an authorized biography of India’s auteur-director, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Penguin International will publish the book, whose research was funded by Ford Foundation.






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange