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An answer …….

January 27, 2009

Ranted yesterday on this post…no actually didn’t exactly rant …it was more like a despairing post that was part anguish,part anger…

Went to school ..taught as usual and fielded some tough questions….

Right in the middle of a class…
One little voice asked, ”Why were they beaten ma’am?
The one question led to pindrop silence…this must have been troubling them since yesterday…everyone knew which ‘they’ referred to…

Every young face turned towards ma’am…waiting..watching…curious to see what ‘ma’am’ would say…
”Where did you see this S?”
”On TV ma’am…mummy and papa said those people were bad..they should not beat girls..

”And what do you think S?”
”I think it is wrong to hit people ma’am,mummy says so..”

And then back to the question…
”Why did they hit everyone ma’am?”

What do I say? How? Their young minds will store this answer forever…

*deep breath*
”You see these people are mentally ill….and…”

A little voice piped up before I could finish…
”Have they escaped from a paagalkhana ma’am?”

I wish I could have said that to them..given them that reason for this madness….

”No,they have not escaped from one but they do need to be locked up,they are not mentally healthy people.. .

”But ma’am why were they beating up only girls?”

This one from the sharpest mind in my class…doesn’t miss a thing this girl….

”Because they do not like girls G,they are scared of girls,frightened of girls,they think girls will come first in everything..and they know these girls were more intelligent than them …”

”But ma’am beating anyone is a bad thing,”they should get punished for it..
I hope so…I sure hope so…

”Yes G ,they will be arrested and the police will lock them in jail and they cannot come out..”

”But ma’am why didn’t the police protect them?”

”The police came very late G and then the police took those people away…”

I am sorry ,I could not bring myself to tell them of what the police was doing or not doing…

”But ma’am if the police comes late, how will we protect ourselves if some bad people hit us?”

A good question..

”Why don’t all of you tell me? Then we’ll make a chart and we’ll promise to do those things…”

A lot of thought is being given to the question ,I can see…..all of them are busy thinking…whispering…

”Well ma’am,we are already learning karate….we can hit anyone who tries to beat us..”

I want to hug her…so I do..

”Very good suggestion L,we should all learn self defence shouldn’t we?”

”What else can we do?”I ask..

” We should never ever be frightened..”says my favourite one(I know I am not supposed to have one…but he is the closest to being a fav):)

”Good answer H!We should never ,ever be frightened..”

”What else can we do?”

”We should protect if they hit anyone else too…”says another little voice..

They have just finished a chapter on unity…so this is topmost on their minds..

”Yes,even if they are doing anything bad to someone else…we should fight for them..” say the rest fo them in unison…

”Because what are we first?..” I ask..

This answer is written on their hearts…I truly believe that…

”INDIANS!!”they all shout in one voice…smiling and giving those huge grins…

Because they know this answer is right..it is good…worth smiling for…
and just like that the solemn atmosphere is broken..

They have tasted different cuisines ….dressed in different dresses and have heard different languages….we celebrated ‘Unity in Diversity ‘last week…

So they know…they know what Equality is, what ‘Unity in Diversity is ,what freedom means…..of how many people died for it…

I hope they keep these lessons for a lifetime….

WE will be learning about voting,elections,rights,duties etc too…..all of it…but for now this is enough…
We did make a list too…but it was the answer that made my day….

Class 9th jumped into a full fledged debate on women’s rights….all of them in their own way were trying to make sense…

But it was this class,these students that really made my day….

Thank you IHM for this and thank you Usha Pisharody for this amazing,amazing letter…This made me answer them coherently today….Thank you…

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Ajit permalink
    January 27, 2009 10:09 am

    brilliant….
    and I hope the future generation has more sense than the existing one…..
    Three cheers to all your students..

  2. Usha Pisharody permalink
    January 27, 2009 2:40 pm

    I hope they keep these lessons for a lifetime….

    Awesome, Dearest Daughter,Awesome!

    I know they will keep those lessons for a ferociously passionate teacher showed them the way. No, did not show, helped them look for and find a way for themselves!!!

    I loved their questions, and the way you led them to an answer!

    No, disillusioning them on the Police Forces and Protection from a public is not the way to respond, but to make them aware of the likelihood of being faced with such a mob, getting them geared up, and making them self sufficient!

    Great Job!

    Heartening to see how such incidents really bring to the fore the Indianness that is there in the YOUng ones!!

    Kudos to you!

    Congratulations to the little ones there! Tell them I am proud and impressed with them!

  3. varunavi permalink
    January 27, 2009 4:52 pm

    Wonderful, it is time for us to teach our children to be mentally and physically strong.
    My 5 year old daughter asked me after watching on tv, why the bad boys are beating aunties.I told they dont want them to attend the pub, so suddenly she said who are they to tell those aunties.
    The only thing which i am not able to take it from my mind is –we think twice to shout/hit our own kids, who are they to hit our kids.
    Some how i am not able to forget it.

  4. Quirky Indian permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:04 pm

    Well handled….your students are lucky to have you.

    Quirky Indian

  5. Solilo permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:08 pm

    Abhi, It is so difficult with the kids. They don’t understand why such things are happening. When they ask the reasoning it becomes all the more tougher.

    I hope at least this generation stands up against such hooliganism. I saw the pictures and some people were just standing there looking at goondas beating up girls :(. Shame!

    You did good, Abhi.

  6. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  7. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  8. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  9. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  10. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  11. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  12. Gopinath's "Artickles" permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:47 pm

    Nice post, liked it! The kids seem to have the answers to all our questions! I can understand your plight in the middle of that classroom. You couldnt have told them what IHM said in her blog or what the nation is saying about such perverts in society. Learn self-defence – Yes. Learn to be courageous in such situations – Yes. But dont these stray instances take up primetime in our minds and overshadow the good work that is being done by honest, committed individuals like you teachers and social workers, just because it is being shown on TV repeatedly? Isnt this finally only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight? I am not suggesting that this stray incident should be ignored – I am saying that it should not take centrestage and primespace in our minds, while ignoring the several others, who are selflessly working towards the good of society. For instance your kids should know about the NGOs and charitable institutions that do and support kids for example. While the TV and newspapers wont do it, teachers like you can (and perhaps do)!

  13. hitch writer permalink
    January 27, 2009 7:29 pm

    Yes the lil ones tell it right.

    Its time we stopped running and taking this shit from any sena.

    Its time we stood up to the mob and gave it back.

    Enough of this shit from these goonda’s.

    We need to protect ourselves, citizens must actually get together and hit back no other way …

  14. Vinod_Sharma permalink
    January 27, 2009 8:07 pm

    “Indians”…how heartening to hear that and to read what the teacher has taught and learnt, if I may add, from the students. Lucky students to have a teacher like you who asks and listens, and then remembers too.

  15. Chirag permalink
    January 27, 2009 9:49 pm

    @You see these people are mentally ill….and…
    This is very well put.

    @I hope they keep these lessons for a lifetime…. Amen

    Kids have a simple world without knowledge of such things as divisions, religion and politics. Society and mostly parents are responsible for their world views. We can only hope the correct things are being told, and a child any time can make you forget the worries and anxieties of life.

  16. Indyeah permalink
    January 28, 2009 7:43 pm

    Ajit:-Yes,I really believe they will….I also want to cheer them!:)they really are very clear headed about the basic things..about whats good and whats bad…

    Usha Pisharody:-Thank YOU so,so much…it would not be an exaggeration to say that it was YOUR letter that helped me make up my mind and stop despairing…

    They ask the most probing and relevant questions at that age don’t they?:)
    yes,I am cmpletely with you on this one…
    ”No, disillusioning them on the Police Forces and Protection from a public is not the way to respond, but to make them aware of the likelihood of being faced with such a mob, getting them geared up, and making them self sufficient!”
    I didnt want that to happen..right now they think Army,Navy,Airforce,NSG,Police are our protectors who beat the bad people…

    The Indianness!yes,that shines through and how!They make me proud to be one..:)
    Will let them know tomorrow when I go…today’s an off…
    They will listen with wide eyed wonder..:)
    Thank you for being a great learner…learning not teaching:)..I am learning from the best…..:)

    Hugss for all your wonderful ,encouraging words…

    Varunavi:-Yes,it gets very hard to answer their questions…as a parent I imagine the task must be really,really tough for you….yes,that really made me furious too..how dare they hit women..these girls who will be scarred for life….physical assault and even molestation…these are animals who need to be put behind bars…

    Quirky Indian:-Thank you:)and I consider myself really lucky to be with them too…:)

    Solilo:-Yes,one just doesn’t know what to say…what should one tell?what should be kept away from little ears who would be too traumatised on hearing the gory truth..its a fine line….yes,people were just standing there…imagine!only one 20 year old guy stood up to these animals..
    thanks for the encouragement..

    Gopinath’s Artickles:-Yes,you ahve put it absolutely correctly…”only an attempt by an unknown organisation to come into the national limelight”very ,very true…and yes ,I do understand your sentiments..the kids do learn all of this and about institutions that are doing great work….
    one has to keep the kids away from the gory truth….
    at the same time,the media whether good or bad….needs to keep these issues in the limelight too..otherwise one would never even get to know how this Cancer is eating up our insides..

  17. Indyeah permalink
    January 28, 2009 7:50 pm

    Hitchwriter:-Yes,well said..we need to stand up,fight for whats right…and not be afraid at all..yes,we need to hit back …these are animals and no less…

    Vinod Sir:-.yes,learnt and still learning with minds who see things as they are…they get right to the heart of a matter….Thank you sir…they make me feel fortunate to be with them…and their innocence..

    Chirag:-”I hope they keep these lessons for a lifetime…. ”yes,I really believe they will…from the bottom of my heart…

    ”Kids have a simple world without knowledge of such things as divisions, religion and politics. Society and mostly parents are responsible for their world views. We can only hope the correct things are being told, and a child any time can make you forget the worries and anxieties of life.”
    beautifully said Chirag..this is why children are such a joy to be around…they make you believe….and hope…

  18. Swaram permalink
    June 8, 2009 1:06 pm

    This is a beautiful post. Those brutes need to take a leaf out of these kids’ books. What these innocent, young minds can comprehend, can’t they do it?

    me- thanks Swaram 🙂
    yes children are so innocent and they believe in humanity , something all of us forget at times..and yet adults dont learn anything from kids 😦

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