Crime and Punishment



The suicide of Calcutta student Rauvanjit Rawla, allegedly following punishment by his school principal, has created uproar across the country. The debate it set off on the virtues or rather the lack it, of caning and punishing students as a means to discipline them is still on.

‘Spare the rod and spoil the child,’ was the wisdom that my grandmother, as many others, passed on. Things haven’t changed much there when I last checked, during a visit to Kerala early this year. Teachers at the village schools that I went to still cane students; and many parents make special requests to teachers that they do so.

Urban social environment is different and education experts say punishing children amount to ‘dehumansing’ them. Teachers who cane students are treated as criminals by the media. That may well be a valid assessment that suits a more evolved understanding of society and children’s psychology.

What is disturbing, however, is the utter indifference we have towards much more serious issues concerning education, particularly in the rural and small town environment, where most Indian children grow up.

In most schools in hinterland India, caning is hardly the issue. I am sure people there would laugh if they get to know that it is primetime obsession in metros. The main problem there is teachers just do not come. Teachers draw their salaries and children learn whatever they can on their own. A Dalit political leader in Bihar once recalled his school days as follows: “One day, the students were asked to clean the school ground and I was picked on to clean up human excreta. When I refused, the upper caste teacher taunted that I would anyway do that even after studies.”

Such discrimination is not limited to schools or Bihar only. In Jaipur this week, a university professor declared at a seminar that Dalits are not allowed to ride horses as per scriptures. An agitated Dalit student rode a horse to the university next day in protest.

Numerous such prejudices– unreported and accepted as normal – of caste and gender discrimination are holding back the much-needed thrust that we need in education. Those, to my mind, are more crucial while we discuss our educational system.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
  • sherri

    I was bullied and humiliated very badly day after day by my geography teacher(called Madhumita Debnath) in school all because I had pointed a mistake of hers.She never had the magnanimity to accept her mistake and get on, instead she chose to insult and call me names in front of the whole class as a revenge.She knew I was a defenceless child then.I am filled with disgust to think about that woman and her atrocious attitude.I have a very successful career at the moment despite all her absurd predictions.I wish I could turn the clock back and ask for justice.Sadly back then(1986-87), teachers were never taken to task for playing God with the lives of students.It will take me the whole life time to forgive her.

    [Reply]

  • Sanjay Misra

    About slapping and canning in schools, I think it should not be made an issue. Parents are aware of the environment where these kids would have to live and compete for their livelyhood. Thus discipline and strength to bear such emotional issues should be in their stride. Punishment in schools should be consistant – if you have done something wrong, you get the due punishment. Punishment acts as deterrent and it helps polishing millions of lives. We should not cry foul on the basis of few Calcutta like instances.

    [Reply]

  • Ashish

    @Varghese,
    Totally agree with your ranking of the real issues in education.
    Just a minor point; even if the caning and such acts rank lower in importance, they are important and need to be tackled.
    We have several issues like syllabus, delivery of the content and evaluation .. education in classrooms should help the children develop a love for the subjects and also make them aware of their strengths and the their future direction. As a parent of two growing daughters, I am only too aware of the deficiencies in all the above areas.
    Ultimately schools are but a reflection of the wider society; if casteism is rife everywhere else, can you expect the schools to be an oasis? We have the laws; but the political will to enforce laws is lacking. And, I am sorry to say, this is not the issue with any one political party or state.

    [Reply]

  • http://mindpowerdesigns.com stop smoking hypnotists

    I had fun understanding this post. I want to see more on this subject.. Thanks for writing this nice article.. In Any Case, I’m going to sign to your rss and I wish you write great articles again soon.

    [Reply]

  • Santokh Singh Sahi

    The contents of the article and the conflicting comments, based on personal experiences are all true. Next to parents are the teachers in the life of a student. Both make or mar the carrear of a student. I agree with, ’spare the rod, spoil the child’, but not to use the rod as means of punishment
    to cover up teacher’s own weaknesses or prejudices, which of course are still prevailant. I want to
    conclude by saying, ‘incase god and teacher appear together before me, I will salute my teacher first and then god, because it is the teacher who taught me about god.’ All professions are good, but teaching is best, as a profession.

    [Reply]

  • J The Just

    Yes Brother, I completely agree with you, My Company sends employees to US for Business Purpose and the visa of every muslim employee was rejected. They have killed THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN and still say muslims are dangerous.

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    They have only responded to set examples that Muslims can’t mess with USA. if you do more of such pathetic acts which you are doing, other Muslim counties will follow the same future.

    [Reply]

    Amerigramma Reply:

    Muslims killed at least 1000 times more muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Muslims just don’t seem to know how to stop the hating and killing of each other and anyone else they constantly get angry with. They are extremely unpredictable. There are countless cases of Muslims that were awarded visas that ended up ploting against the U.S., G.B. Spain and other European countries. It is also because the “moderates” don’t speak out against all of the violence very much. In Islam is it sanctioned that it is ok to lie to “infedels”. So how do any of you expect to ever be trusted? Many people from many countries, faiths and backgrounds are denied visas, not just Muslims. We just can’t afford to let every single person in all at once that want to come. We just can’t afford to let people in without checking out their backgrounds. Even the Muslims here want to feel safe here. We are just trying to keep everyone here safe. BTW, Islamic countries are way more discriminatory than western countries. We all know that.

    [Reply]

    Kavitha Reply:

    Islamic countries are way more discriminatory than western countries. for that matter any country that has diplomatic ties with US or french will have these reservations.

    Just so that you are educated. CIA, French, KGB and other agencies have so much money and they visit all the countries (Muslim countries as of today), which is economically backward and weapon wise not so strong and politically not united. to plot everything that is done. Forget Muslims no one can ever kill any one without a reason like money or wealth. even a small time criminal feels bad for what he does, if you do not know visit any of our own places you would know. Ask either of these to fight China or Japan with these Aids they offer. they will be thrown out in no time including the most powerful CIA. its more powerful than all governments of all developed countries put together. because there is no face and tons loads of unaccounted currencies/money. and trust me its not the taxpayers many. it is something else. none of our business yet.

    So Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia, and i can go on with the list its not a fight for anything but for Oil giants (Corporates), Making Bases, experimenting weapons built by their scientists. making their soldiers train and more importantly, huge money is made by the diplomats and bureaucratic agencies in both sides. you and i are only a objects that can be used for all of the above.

    It is we who make these people stronger and make them believe that we will believe everything that is said in the news and done by them as justice. god knows when will we wake up for a reality check.

    it does not take great deal of studies to understand motives of any one who instigates or does things like this. did you ever realize why are these fools fighting amongst themselves,. for once don’t think with religion and try otherwise. human brain is trained to look for it it needs than for what it is. so i leave that to you.

    [Reply]

  • Abu Ahmed

    In the Quran, God says that He is with those who remain patient (under any circumstances). No where in the Quran did He say that He is with those who perform ritual prayers or religious rites. Patience in poverty, sickness, adversity, anger, pain and pleasure is the key to maintain one’s calm which would lead to happiness. Being patient under any circumstance does not mean remaining inactive, unresponsive or a passive surrender of course; patience is a restraining and calming measure to maintain our cool and be calm under any situation.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.comrade Sam Comrade

    It is the attitude of the people in the region to be blamed not fully on Nissan.Other side Nissan made a big mistake in outsouring their sales to a mumbai based Hover Automotive.Compared to Suzuki ..Nissan products are much stronger in the strength of the structure. If Indian govt make a stringent crash requirement most of the Suzuki cars and all Tata cars will not pass.

    [Reply]

  • Nilofer

    Life in America is very hard. Traffic from maryland to DC, oh my!!I its crazy.

    [Reply]

  • Sammy

    Islam doesn’t preach peace at all. It’s a religion which promotes violence. Why do you blow the planes away and plant bombs everywhere if Allah is gonna punish them himself. Why does he need your help?

    [Reply]

    Kavitha Reply:

    since you and i are not from it.. we dont know @ sammy, we are hungry for gossip and hatred of some kind and we are fed very well by the west and media around the world. hahahaha you are very well informed of events and religion … great

    [Reply]

  • Dr.Raj

    better be safe than be sorry.

    [Reply]

  • Dr.Raj

    yeah the same book also says to “go forth and destroy the unbelievers” . The book if you look at it is a book of contracdictions for a simple reader, but for some one who has gone through the history, one can say that he was no better than a simple war lord who fed his stomach by looting caravans, killing travelers and selling their women and kids to slavery.

    [Reply]

    Kavitha Reply:

    Dr. Raj, do you really think that a religion ever has mattered in the content of discussion. religion is the most sacred of an individual, it his belief, it is he (the individual) who will decide the good and the bad of it. it is not a matter of public acceptance.

    if this book does , so does others, after i read what you have written it only says that you have no knowledge over other books including the basics as doctorate wherein it is taught to you that patients place their trust on you because they are convinced of what you have explained them. it is not taught to them.

    please stop making the religion a victim wherein any educated (literate), mentally NOT challenged would know that all of that happens any where is political, bureaucratic conflict and their personal interest and lust for power. nothing more.

    Do you know, like in any event there are event managers and vendors. similarly there are vendors and managers in crisis. its nothing personal but pure business. am sure its hard for you to believe. but whenever you come across a riot, a protest, a crisis, an outrage, an attack, a cold war, or even a regular war in the country. its perfectly planned and systematically agreed by both sides and there are many other parties looking out for performance of these two. sometimes there is only one who wants to do this and display the power to gain monitory benefits or powerful agreements. and as usual religion is a scape goat.

    Today it is religion, tomorrow something else. and is such a petty that. in today world where human kind has done so much advancement. every one is given their due credit for doing so is literally insecure. and blames every one but for himself.

    Am so ashamed that humanity has no meaning in our country wherein doctors who are to be saving life indiscriminately are of this nature. not sure what the future holds.

    [Reply]

  • camilla

    It is cold war. All countries suffer from Muslim violence. We have the reasons to stop Muslim immigration. I don’t know why they still trade with Muslims on International level. Muslims you hate us, we are white pigs, don’t talk with us then, don’t socialise with us, don’t ask visas to our countries.

    [Reply]

  • Kavitha

    @ Sam, have you ever come across real situation. please let me know. don’t talk about Babri Masjid and Ram Lalla temple because this was a political gain every one knows. i live here too and trust me i have done enough research on what i speak. i have no love for any religion but as they all say if mosques, temples and churches where to make faith stronger and god was be around. then do you really think so many religions would have existed. not today but from the very first human, it was clear that nothing in this world can ever be justified by GOD. it is you and i who will show people what we can do. all said and done, who builds these religious places and why….

    Have you ever found out. please do that… just boost their ego and gain people support they do this. just going there for keeping our faith is our choice no one ever asked you to. there is no country safe for any religion that is not majority stake holder of its wealth and power there. look at Jews, they run the house in America, as much Americans hate it, they can do nothing about it. Jews protected their faith holding power to the ransom which was their right any ways and was denied to them, so no fun in discussing.

    [Reply]

  • Kavitha

    @9f840465c98d8aa62df8f2989168210c:disqus,If things were to happen exactly what you said, then do you think we should be discussing what we are doing now. we all need to show the conduct of who we are. today we are discussing this because none of you guys have shown unity none of Muslim countries have come to defend their own. Do You have money , power, or and agency like CIA. if not build them. don’t leave every thing on god., as per Islam your life is a test. not only for patience but also to develop yourself economically, politically, socially. today everyone likes America or any western country.. it is because they were able to come together whenever in need. which you all failed to do.

    Anyways that’s none of my business. but let me tell you not only for america but even in India if you were to gain trust, you must display fair character and be united. otherwise, we will continue such discussions……….

    [Reply]

  • Kavitha

    hahahahaha.. then why are you talking about a religion yourself….

    [Reply]

  • sheikh

    All religions in this world respected. Ask yourself who is world class terrorist so do you aspect to get visa easily so we have to think why us restricted visa for certain people only.

    [Reply]

  • Chin-Checker

    Then I guess we should watch out for all Western Europeans nations, because everyone they came in contact with they murdered, raped, stole, and imposed their language and religion upon them!

    [Reply]

  • oluwatoba

    hello sir, so sorry about your case. But there is no cause for alarm. Administrative processing is done when the embassy wants to confirm the information you gave them, due to the influx of applicants the time ranges from 1-4 weeks. I have been in this situation before but mine lasted for just two(2) weeks. Thank God!.

    You should not contact the embasy until they call you, and please pray to God to make the process fast. That was i did and i got a quick response. Good luck

    [Reply]