Saving children from getting spoilt

Apropos of Reeta Sharma’s article “Teachers or terrorisers?” (Windows, Dec 20), brutality in any sphere of life, more so in education, is condemnable, but there is no denying the fact that a certain amount of fear is essential to instill discipline and order in the human mind. To that extent using a bit of rod is justified to save the child from getting spoilt.

The issue of corporal punishment has rather been over-hyped by psychologists and sociologists the breed of whom has cropped up in recent past and surely they have to flaunt their knowledge. There being fewer number of children in today’s families, the parents have also become overprotective and on the slightest pretext are ready to go to the poor teacher and pull him up, without giving much thought that the teacher may be well meaning and the child may be at fault.

In such a scenario, how can we expect the teacher, who in our culture is supposed to be guru, to command respect from students? No wonder, our older generation is more disciplined and robust as they used to take admonishment by teachers in their stride and correct themselves rather than complaining to their parents like sissy kids.

The parents-teacher associations can play a constructive role by smoothing out any kinks but they mostly fail as they are generally used as complaint forums to browbeat the teachers.

— Lt-Col. BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali



Corporal punishment is not allowed in schools. But some teachers indulge in whipping the pupils. Perhaps it gives them sadistic pleasure. The outlook of such teachers, who take delight in inflicting cruelty on children, is not comprehensive as they do not regard the children under their custody as their own. That is why they don’t have any qualms about beating the innocent kids. The entire teaching community is stigmatesed as terrorists because of the inhuman actions of some disgruntled teachers.

Actually, the teacher should respect the personality of the child with opportunities for complete understanding and self-expression and not to stifle his free flowing curious activities. He should protect the child from repression and mental disorders of all types. His job is to set the stage, to provide an ideal environment and to create conditions conducive to the natural development of the child.

Physical punishment and external restraints are not the methods to bring the child on the right track. The desired results can be achieved through self-renunciation, obedience, humility, politeness, love, affection, sympathy, influence and impression but not through fear, coercion, repression and brutality. Hence the child should not be submitted to any external pressure and force. Rather the educators themselves should create and present good behaviour, actions and discipline so that the child tries to emulate them. The teacher should have the qualities to attract the child towards him and not otherwise. After all teacher is respected as a father figure.


Saadat Hasan Manto

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up “Manto’s description of the mayhem of 1947” (Windows, Dec 13). Saadat Hasan Manto was born in village Sra of Ludhiana district, received education in Amritsar and Musavvir (Bombay) for some time, worked for AIR and wrote many beautiful dramas and features. After Partition, he went to Lahore where he died at the age of 43.

Manto was a prolific writer. He translated some Russian stories into Urdu. Sexual perversion was the theme of his stories like Thanda gosht, Khol do, Kaali shalvaar, Mera naam Radha hai, etc., which were dubbed as obscene writings. In fact, he fearlessly wrote about whatever he saw happening all around. According to him, instead of putting earth on the filth in society it should be raked and cleaned. He also wrote very interesting cameos and profiles of many well-known persons in plain, straight forward language. According to him, He could not ignore the strabimus and foul language of Aagha Hashr (a famous playwright) or gloss over the meanness of Meeraji (a great poet). Undoubtedly, Manto was one of the highly distinguished short story writers of his time.


Sushmita’s U-turn

This refers to filmstar Sushmita Sen’s interview with Lata Khubchandani (Spectrum, Dec 21). While talking about her role in “Paisa Vasool”, she states: “I play a girl from Delhi who is blunt and outspoken, speaks Hindi very fluently and smokes. I was not very comfortable with the smoking bit, honestly because I feel it affects young people and sends out wrong signals since many people would be seeing it and aping that sort of thing. But I had no way out — the character had to be shown smoking.”

I found the statement quite shocking. it is really sad that Sushmita, even while realising that her smoking bit on the screen could be having a harmful effect on society, chose to do the role. If her conscience was not allowing to smoke on the screen, she could have refused to do the film.

What makes the above statement even more shocking is that Sushmita, a former Miss Universe, like other beauty queens, had mouthed platitudes at the time of winning the crown about how she would like to reform society by purging it of evils and so on. Leave alone combating the evils, she, according to her confession, has been instrumental in promoting them. Obviously, all her statements about morals and principles were hollow, just meant to win some popularity.


Special courts for rape cases

SADLY, despite the heinous nature of the offence of rape, the law has so far remained unfair to the rape victim. The call for a more humane system to deal with rape cases has been partially considered at least in Delhi. Special courts will be set up at Karkardooma, Tis Hazari and Patiala House where women judges will try rape cases, bringing thereby a new dimension to the legal system.

The rape victims feel uncomfortable while recounting details of this heinous act in front of a male judge. Expressions for them can be easier if the authoritative figure in the court is a woman. Moreover, this will bring about an element of sensitivity because only a woman judge can understand the agony of another woman.

The setting up of special courts will help expedite the rape cases. If the victim is charging the accused with rape and there is enough medical evidence corroborating rape, that could be enough for acceptance in the law. The accused should not be acquitted on flimsy grounds.

The courts need to deviate from their traditional role of interpreting the statutory provisions too rigidly and prefer to mould and evolve the law so as to make it more sensitive and responsive to the demands of the time. It may be borne in mind that expeditious disposal of cases and higher rate of conviction involving stringent punishment will bring down the crime to an appreciable degree.

— k.m. vashisht, Delhi

Challenging task

This has reference to the interview of Sudha Murthy who has just won her 22nd award by Peeyush Agnihotri (Spectrum, Dec 21). According to a recent study on the Indian education sector, even if the literacy ratio continues to improve at the current rate of 2.5 per cent per annum, India still needs 16 years to achieve Sri Lanka’s level of education and literacy.

Seen in this context, Sudha Murthy’s comment that making people literate is a mammoth task is eminently sensible.

I agree with Mrs Murthy that it is not one man’s job. Collective efforts from corporate sector, the government and the people in general are needed to educate the masses. I would appeal to one and all to respond to this appeal. Each one of us should strengthen her hands to make her unique project for village schools called “library project” a great success.

I request her to start a similar project in Punjab with the local people’s support.

— Lt-Col onkar chopra (retd), Chanan Kherara (Abohar)

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