I can feel you. I remember being so scared to go to school every morning because everyday, some teacher beat someone. They also discriminated against the “less intelligent” students. Yes, that’s what they called them. Even if, most of the time, I was not the one being discriminated against, I felt scared. Also, I felt bad for them because of the way they were treated. They literally told them that they can’t do anything in life.
The hits on the head, slap on cheeks, kneeling down. Even for the smallest of things, they would beat students. I was slapped 9 times (I was counting) because I didn’t draw anucleus. The teacher came in, it was another teacher’s class. Called me, and started beating me like shit. My friend told me that it was normal, and I shouldn’t cry about it. At that moment, I truly knew how it felt. And that it was NOT normal.
They also made some students open their clothes in front of the class, and sometimes, on the ground. Any nice teacher was a miracle. Any teacher who cracks a joke felt like an angel. Any teacher who even spoke to you like a human being felt like they were doing a favor.
Why do you think “Taare Zameen Par” was a blockbuster? Because students witnessed a miracle. A teacher that actually understands the student, finds his problem, and tries to solve it. I don’t know how many undiagnosed dyslexic children are still there. And they feel like they’re truly “stupid.”
It’s not just a GEMS problem. It’s not just a problem in Nepal, either. It’s all over the developing and under-developed countries. Teachers feel like they own you. Their justification is they are “doing it for students.” Well, I think that’s just an ego-maniac pouring his/her anger on kids. This issue is ignored most of the times by parents. Heck, they’ll even encourage teachers to beat their own kids. I’ve heard MANY parents tell that in Parents-Teachers meetings. It feels sad to say this, but this problem is here to stay for more years because people believe that this is the right way to treat children.
There is no liberty for students to take a stand, or else, they will be punished even more. We talk about how autocracy is bad. What we fail to realise is, Democracy can be bad too when the majority agrees on bad ideologies. Schools are even worse. Schools are authoritarian institutions that can do what they do because the majority believes that children don’t deserve to be treated properly.
Thanks a lot for writing this. And I’m sorry about what you had to go through. No one should go through this torture. I hope a difference is made.