Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | April 19, 2009


The murder of the class two student Shanno in Delhi have created a quite an uproar. People are protesting as they were in the earlier cases of Nithari and Aarushi. I hope protests achieve desired results.

These incidents make me feel, it must be so painful to be a child in India isn’t it? If you are born in an upper middle class family then your parents hardly ever have time for you, you grow up with your maids and pets and you hardly ever go out and play. Unless and until the respective bosses in the company your parents work, you hardly ever go on a vacation. In turn you grow up in a world that perhaps not meant to be yours. You seldom learn any sports, mostly you over eat, you gather little in terms of worldly knowledge and you are master of the fictitious world of computer games. Even though you are born in relatively well-to-do families, you are essentially ignored.

Children born in families, which can’t support luxuries, suffer from similar ignorance. However I do feel they at least have a certain amount of independence. At times, when you have less you tend to manage yourself better.

Whatever may be situations are pretty sad for children growing up in India.

If India does not provide healthy environment for its children can it ever call itself a developed nation?

What kind of development are we aiming at, I wonder?

All the political parties in General Elections are concerned about ‘issues for grown-ups’ it seems. I feel despair at the primitive thought that ‘if issues for grown-ups’ are sorted out, all should be fine.

Things were not so bad when I was growing up but signs were there for sure. I remember in St. Lawrence H.S, Kolkata some teachers developed unique modes to punish students. I wondered that time whether inflicting pain could ever reform a naughty child?

I still cannot understand when teachers say a child is naughty and he/ she should be taught a lesson or two, what could be the best way? There must be better ways than beating up otherwise why would many countries ban hitting a child?

Once when we were in class five, a teacher wanted to hit a boy 100 times on his palm for some naughtiness he had done. I remember all of us (classmates) protested against that. The teacher then allowed us to share the burden. The boy was just hit three times and the entire class shared the hits.

That was the first moment of solidarity that I was ever part of. I remember other incidents in that class where students united against teachers. In fact, one of the teachers got into quite a lot of trouble with the Principal because of the young students uniting against him. Sadly I remember the modes of punishment preferred by most teachers in my younger days than whatever they taught us.

Educational reform, labour reform, child welfare are neglected areas in India. We get to see the Ministers responsible for these portfolio on television only when some major trouble happens. In the States, I wonder whether such portfolios ever exist.

People like Lalu Prasad could just force children to study his life in history books, while he was ‘ruling’ Bihar and that is about it.

Can we afford to have a country where children are mostly sad within?

What kind of educational system can we expect from a host of megalomaniac politicians out to fill their own coffers.



  1. Good one! Reminded me of the impositions back in school. Teachers felt making a student write a passage 100 times would actually make him learn it!

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