Monday, February 13, 2012

Cult of violence

The incident of a 15 year old student stabbing his school teacher to death should come as an eye opener to most of us. While not condoning the student who was driven to this, one should consider why he did this. The teacher who was concerned with the poor performance of the boy reported it to his parents who in turn took the boy to task and the enraged boy took out his frustration on his teacher. For many students, the present day schooling and the methods of learning are worse than spending time in jail. A society which puts scholastic performance as the acme of achievement places enormous pressure on parents and indirectly on school teachers who in turn pass on this burden of performance on school going children.

In post independence India there have been two primary casualties. One is health and the other is education. The government has gradually withdrawn its responsibility of providing these two to its citizens and has allowed the private players to enter the field. I wrote some time back on corporatization of health and the aftermath. The same is happening in the field of education. All sorts of player whose motive is to make money are entering this arena across the board from primary education up to post graduate level. This has not come cheap. These institutions are prohibitively expensive education shops. A situation has arisen in this country where in an average parent is finding it difficult to foot the education bill of his or her children. I know of many who are either stopping at one child or not having children at all for this reason!

Those who do send their children to these privately run schools are under considerable financial strain and to get a report that their ward is poorly performing and thus a poor return on investment must be indeed galling. They will vent their anger on the child and he in turn will resort to violence either on himself or on others, in this instance on the hapless teacher. Suicides are not uncommon during exam time and at the time the results are made known.
To add fuel to fire is the general atmosphere of violence in which we are living. Our media, TV serials and movies, Computer games that children play, glorify violence. A child who grows in this kind of atmosphere can easily justify violence [a la Taliban].

In this land M.K. Gandhi. We are slowly and inexorably slipping into a land of himsa [violence].

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