Corporal Punishment — Taking the Debate Forward

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AS the ghost of the COVID-19 virus continues to sleep Kashmir to nightmares exacerbated by the scenario in India, an issue that had somehow managed to give people something else to the debate was the rude behaviour of the teacher, who in a video, that went viral on social media, was seen slapping his student thirty-one times.

The incident tempted many people to share their views, many of which revealed a strong criticism and resentment against the teacher, while some flagged their defence in his favour. In the spirit of taking this debate forward, two articles, one on Kashmir Life and the other on Kashmir Observer were published. The former was written under the title “Why jailing a teacher is the real tragedy for the society,” and the latter titled “Why defending a jailed teacher is the real tragedy for the society” appeared after few days, countering the arguments rather the narrative put forth by the first piece in support of the teacher.

The second article skillfully exploited the loopholes of the first narrative and looked as right as rain. The author, while deconstructing the first write up, had also pointed out the flawed terminology used in it. The second article makes it easy to side with it given the way the author has tackled and interpreted the notion put forth by the former write up.

But having said all this, there are few things which deserved a place in both the articles. We see the author of the later write-up “Why defending a jailed teacher is the real tragedy for society,” at the beginning of the piece spoke of violence and its ability to transude into the lives of the people. Thus, touching the very nature of the place we live in. However, throughout the article, the political implications of this move remained untouched, if at all they exist. The author further used an autobiographical account at the end of his response which was again political, wherein he described the army man’s incident. But, that seemed to have found a place in the article only to further crush the initial narrative.

The later article, despite citing an incident around politics, hasn’t bothered to reflect on the political motivations or implications the move might have. The laws whose implementation by their nature is discriminatory didn’t deserve a debate. Despite the mighty display of the law execution by the enforcing agencies, the action by its very nature doesn’t free itself from the violence, which according to the author, by the very nature of the society sieves into the minute aspects of our lives. Because the implementation of such discriminatory laws are fundamentally a form of violence for the condemnation of which a debate should have been conceived.

Conflict may have gifted us a certain degree of dementia but incidents like these must wake us up to the true nature of the society we have been living in. Awakening to an only certain set of stimulus would only wrap us in the apparels of the bodies that see all as equals but some as more equal.

Having said that, I don’t stand in defence of the teacher. A wrong was committed but he could have surely been made to understand the wrong and brought to task accordingly by an eligible body. This incident has further revealed that our educational institutions need proper counsellors/trainers to work in coordination with the staff.

Asif Khan 

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