Getting physically injured is something that is scary for everyone. So, what makes it okay to cause harm to a child, just because he/she did something which is inappropriate, instead of talking and explaining to them? Nothing. Nothing justifies mistreating a child at a place where they are supposed to grow into the future of the nation.
Corporal punishment, by definition, means to cause deliberate physical pain to someone, usually by an individual who holds an authority over the other person, in order to reinforce a point. In INida, as sad as it sounds, but corporal punishment is a part and parcel of almost all the indiviuals childhood. For the more unfortunate individuals, it was/ is a daily experience. If confronted, the administrator of these punishments have replies ranging from ‘tough love’ to ‘teaching them obedience’ to ‘it is how it is’. It is to say, as if physical punishment are mandated, not even an option. Many people justify it from their childhood experience.
Another way to look at this is that it is the easy way out. Sometimes, from responsibilities to sitting down and making the child understand why something is not correct. Sometimes, from the hassle of handling a situation. ANd sometimes, it is for the long run. The perpetrators would say it is helpful in the long run for the children, but in reality, it is often helpful for them in the long run, as the punished child is effectively scared to not try his/her limits again.
The children, upto the age of 12, undergo physical growth and development. Upto this stage, some parts tend to be more susceptible to get hurt in comparison to adults. Corporal punishment often exposes the children to the rish of serious physical damages. Some they become life threatening and permanent too. And apart from that, the trauma and mental harassment that the child goes through also needs to be taken in account.
Corporal punishment in educational institutes does more harm than good. In India, an overwhelming percentage of authoritative people indulge in corporal punishment in these educational and co curricular institutes. And sadly, their colleagues often not only don’t call them out on this, but rather even support them in many cases. Such behaviour and environment is enough to deter a child from going back to school and makes education a burden to them. This also results in negative emotional development in the child.
According the Indian law, under Right To Education Act, 2009, Section 17 declares corporal punishment (also includes mental harassment) to be illegal, and the person found guilty under this charges will face disciplinary action in accordance to the applicable service rules applicable. On the similar note, Section 323, 325, 305, 352 and 506 of the IPC are also regarding child protection. The figures of authority that can be held responsible in such cases include teachers, relatives and even the parents.
But the sad scenario is that though in the law books, these laws are often not enforced in reality. The society, as a whole, sees corporal punishment as a part of growing, and until that attitude remains, things are not going to be better.
Categories: social issues