Shameless as we Indians are, we just celebrated and helped make viral, a video of a child being subjected to corporal punishment and verbal violence. In fact, most people who shared the video found it ‘funny’. Of course, the same way how ‘rape jokes’ and ‘reservation jokes’ are funny for us.
So here is the thing. There is this video. (No. We are not going to share it yet again so that a lot more people can find it ‘funny’.) In the video, a child, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, is crying. Yes. But wait. If the child was crying, why were people who watched her laughing? I still haven’t understood that part.
Why was the child crying?
He/she was being taught Math and was not able to learn her numbers and we can hear but not see, someone teaching. If it can be called teaching, that is. The child tries hard to get their answers right but they are unable to. I first thought that people found it funny because everyone found alphabets and digits really difficult when they were children. (We still do but now we pretend we understand.) But as the video progressed the horror that was revealed was appalling.
The child pleads with their ‘teacher’ saying that they have a headache and that their ear hurts. The teacher on their part, gets more and more violent with each wrong answer. They even slap the child. The child cowers in fear and panics every time the teacher scolds them in a violent manner asking if they were sure of the answer. The child desperately tries to get their answers right.
Now tell me this. What part of this is funny?
None. But over here, violence is so normalized that we feel that it is like weather. You can pass casual remarks about it. ‘It’s sunny today and when I got out of the house, my neighbour was flogging their son.’ It can be joked about. ‘It was so funny when he was pleading with his father to stop beating him. Such a high pitched voice that kid had, ya.’ We are the rare species who don’t even realize it when we are being violated precisely because of this. So let’s put things in perspective. In other words, let’s all take a moment and shake this normalcy around violence out of our own frigging heads.
Corporal punishment and violence towards children are NOT funny. It wasn’t funny when it was done to us. Not so when we did it or watched it. If you are not getting this, let’s put it this way. Suppose you met with an accident. Your leg has to be amputated knee down. What if the doctor ‘jokes’ about how funny it would be to see you wear pants? It is exactly the same. Just because it is being done to a child and because the child is not you, it doesn’t mean that it is something to be laughed about.
What to do
You see, corporal punishment is what starts the cycle of abuse. When people whom children love or trust beat them or behave violently towards them, they, because they are children and are in the stage where ideas are formed, assume that violence is part of love. But it is not. Err…we are all clear on that, right? If not, here is the truth: violence is not part of love. (Gosh it’s so sad that it has to be stated this way when it should be like a universal truth.)
So you have two options. When there is a video like the one doing the internet rounds now or when you see it with your own eyes, you have to protest. If you don’t feel like it, think of your leg, the doctor and the accident. If that doesn’t help, you need to get help. It means that you have gotten so used to violence that even if it is done to you, you won’t be able to understand it. Imagine you being mugged or held at gunpoint. You would be totally ‘cool’ about it. Ask the perpetrator if they want coffee or something.
Who filmed the whole thing?
Back to the video, the question is, why was it being filmed? Who gave permission to release the video? What about when the child grows up? How thoughtful of someone to have created at record of the violence so that it can supplement the bad memories the child might be haunted by. Neat. Tip: To add to the agony of it, you can also reveal the identity of the child so that the tag never leaves them.
If you are still not getting the problem with the video, chances are that you will end up in one such video. As the ‘teacher’. Have fun ruining lives of children. You will excel in it. Thengyu.