Thursday, December 20, 2007

Power perversion

This post is a direct response to two post by HipHopGMom , here and here.

I studied in a school in Madras, which was renowned for its discipline. Parents revered the Principal for her strict management style. Well here is my story: I was totally confused at what I saw in my school. The Principal, resolved all out-of-line activity with a punishment, which was mostly beatings with cane, twisted cable. Fear was the main instrument of management. The female Principal never hesitated to slap 12th standard students, if they crossed a line.

I could not understand what was wrong with me, or with what I thought, but I was one of the students who got beatings. Young minds are molded mostly by what teachers taught at school. But, truth be told, if I had imbibed what they taught me, I would be groveling at their feet, would be a "Kalki Bhagwan" devotee and lots of other things that I would be ashamed of myself.

There was a famous incident in my school, where in the last year in school, I was slapped on the cheek, and I then smiled at my Principal :-)

There were other inhuman punishments:
  • One student was made to stand in the stinky bathroom for an hour, because he uttered a swear word
  • Two other students, ridiculed before the school assembly, and then one of the teachers punched them in the stomach
School teachers are not just professionals who teach the subject matter, but are also role models. There was not a single teacher in my school, who taught us to stand up for these atrocities. I was not able to think on my own, until I was in my 12th standard when everything felt like bullshit. I was not going to put up with any of that. Meek subordination in the face of pure brutality, is so not my style.

Yet, for the other things they did, parents appreciated the efforts of the school teachers. There was not a single time in the entire life of 9 years in my school were my parents interested in how good the teachers were. The school teachers were automatically assumed to be incarnations of Gods.

My college was a different story. I was introduced to perversion. Some male professors prefer girl students over guys. Though, it is easy to point out that, they are the exceptions, please. They are not. I still remember, of how a girl who broke her carpentry piece got a 100/100 because the assistant was kind enough to make a new one for her, while I, the one who got the best carpentry piece in the batch received a 82/100. Then there was this other Lecturer who invited a girl to have sexual intercourse with him. Another Professor was caught watching porn and suspended for a semester.

Somehow, somewhere between all these noble teachers, who are either trying to fail the guys and rape the girls: the management things so highly of themselves, that they "rule" bans of different sorts, apparently for the good of the students.

Two of these famous ban are
  • Dress code
  • Cell phone
Let us discuss the ban of cell phones. In my college only cell phones with camera are banned. This is because of some college student capturing pornography with the cell phone camera. So, camera cell phones are banned. This is the kind of logic they use to make rules. One wonders if the management has any sanity left at all. I am not even going to discuss the flaw in the logic. If you cannot understand the flaw in the logic, it probably is not worth explaining.

Coming to the topic at hand, HipHopGmom's college "bans" cell phone usage on campus. Apparently, to bring some discipline into the students. Apparently, the "ban" was inspired by some report, which stated that there were some "agents" using cell phones to contact clientèle. I am sorry, I don't understand the context. So, banning cell phone is thought to be the best way to force discipline in college students.

Apparently, there was Lecturer who confiscated one of the cell phones because a student was using it in campus (not when the classes were in session). And after that, the lecturer had the nerve to send her away and was in possession of the above cell phones for the whole day. The lecturer also did not attend to any of the in coming calls to that cell phone.

Who is this lecturer, and how dare she/he do this? So, this lecturer is now acting like a rowdy to enforce an unconstitutional ban on cell phones. The Lecturer, in her excitement to enforce her power, has resorted to this kind of disruptive use of force.

The student involved is said to have used devious means to retrieve the cell phone from this lecturer. And this reasoning has been used to justify the "illegal confiscation of private property" by the Lecturer. Of course, the college permits use of cell phones in case of emergency, and the reasons have to be proven to be "sufficiently urgent".

HipHopGMom does not realize, that, there are uses for a cell phone. As a 19 year old, I had a million things to take care of. While attending college was my highest priority, I also had other things to take care of... but since, I never mention specifics about my professional life in this blog I am going to skip it here. I could have a sick relative to call, a girl friend to attend to, international calls to talk to experts in my field. A million reasons, that are not urgent or emergency but something I would like to do. But I cannot do that in HipHipGmom's college because the management knows best, and has the right to confiscate my property, and breach my privacy. HipHopGmom's self righteous "ban" would have hindered my progress, and I would advise my kids to not study in that college.

Where do Lecturers get this level of confidence to act so authoritatively?

Obviously some people are more responsible (like the brash management) but truth be told, if you want to know the guilty, you should only look into a mirror. I understand you, fear got the best of you, and in your fright you turned to the now tyrant college and school management to "discipline" your kids. Fear is the instrument of the system, and vague undocumented events like "agents using cellphones to call clientèle" help them sustain a level of freight to justify their actions. The very teachers who are supposed to teach values, are high with this new found power, and in their inebriation, are even ready to give "shock treatments" to cure your kids of their common sense.

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Blogger Hip Grandma said...

First of all let me tell you that like you I too dislike humiliation of students in the name of disciplining students and I am against the use of brutal physical strength by teachers to show their might.I am against slapping a child in the primary school and you talk of being slapped in senior school.

I am sorry you have misunderstood the intention of a very responsible teacher and the discredit goes to me in that I have not convinced you that there was no intended malice in her may recall that she said as much to the man who posed as her uncle.she'd be the first one to rush to the girl's help when needed any day,any time.
i agree that I have no conclusive evidence about girls being contacted by agents for whatever reason and girls who wish to involve themselves with them would do so anyway with or without cell phones.and as fellow blogger balaji has pointed out,just because of a few all students are being punished.It is unfair on them.It is only because we consider students to be our own children and we wish to protect them from any possible evil that we impose rules.Otherwise we would let them do as they please and not worry at all.I do hope that if not all at least some of them realize this and remember us with affection in futire.I also hope that they are able to distinguish between teachers who use their power judiciously and those that misuse it to the extent of killing the very soul of their students.I am with you in this but please do not paint every one with the same brush.

Your response opened my eyes to the other side of the story.Thanks

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 7:25:00 AM CST  
Blogger vishesh said...

hmmm....which skl and coll did u study in ??hmm...talking of discipline my skl is one with the hail to the traditions...but well fortunately the maximum they can go in give a couple of slaps or suspend...i have never got into any trouble till now....except once when i got pissed off and lifted a guy upside down...:)

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 10:03:00 AM CST  
Blogger Ravi said...

"I was slapped on the cheek, and I then smiled at my Principal :-)"
Why am I not surprised?

On a more serious note, I agree with you for the most part: atrocities on students is unpardonable. I have seen some similar incidents in my schools. Tying the dirty blackboard cloth over the nose and mouth of talkative students and hitting with a cane on the knuckles are some of them.

"As a 19 year old, I has a million things to take care of." I am skeptical of that statement too! May be, you can call me sometime to let me know what some of those million things were. Personal opinion on cell phones: I would rather have a universal rule to ban ALL cell phones from school, at least in junior school. With so many distractions already, students might be better concentrate on Math and Science rather than SMS and attend to unimportant calls. Cases of emergencies are far too few to mandate every VI grader to carry a snazzy cell phone in his pocket. Most schools often have a phone for emergency usage.

And inappropriate misuse of power is present in every profession: cops, politicians, doctors, lawyers. Yes, it is sad that teachers (one of the noblest professionals) should take their responsibilities less than seriously.

But what do you do when most young people like you and me, want to become doctors and engineers (and come to the US to earn that millionth dollar!), and not go for teaching as a profession?

Friday, December 21, 2007 at 9:04:00 PM CST  
Anonymous The Visitor said...

@ the Kid - I think that you are over-reacting, your response seems to be emotional rather than rational. You are throwing a tantrum like a KID. LOL ;)

@Ravi - I sure do agree that you have a more balanced view of the issue and have brought out the relevant points. Great comment.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 10:10:00 PM CST  

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