I remember being taught “matha, pitha, guru, deivam” or “mother, father, teacher, god” way back in school during my earliest Tamil classes.
The order of priority may vary and I’m sure is an intensely personal issue, but the fact that parents and teacher are elevated above the Almighty shows the roles and responsibilities they have.
However we have seen incidents that were probably going on for so long but now have been brought to the public eye by our innumerable media houses, incidents like beating, abuse, molestation, rape and other unspeakable abuses the children endure under the hands of teachers. Too often we see teachers committing crimes that deserve the strictest possible form of punishment and often getting away with it easily.
Yesterday we saw a teacher in a girl’s school trapped in a sting operation by a Hindi news channel. Her crime (yes, it was a woman), drugging her students and making pornographic movies with them, later on using these movies to threaten them into prostitution.
I was so revolted by the news and for a while I did not know how to react. My heart goes out to all those kids who have to endure all these abuses during the best part of their lives; they will surely be scarred for life.
But as I condemn such teachers, I wonder what are the parents doing? It is all very good to go around torching jeeps and stoning buses and making a general nuisance of themselves just to show their fury at the teacher, who incidentally has just been suspended and is in police custody.
So many questions cloud my mind:
- Why are the parents reacting and not being proactive to ensure that such crimes never occur? They may not know that a pervert teaches their kids but surely there will be some tell tale signs.
- Are not the parents the first line of defense for any child? Don’t children confide their fears and worries with their parents anymore?
- How can parents of these victims be so oblivious to such things till they see it on the news?
- When a baby cries, I have seen with amazement that the mother knows whether it is for milk or a change of nappy without a single word being spoken. Yet when these children go to school and endure so many scars, can not the parents see the un-cried tears in the eyes?
- Is there a break down in the parent child communication?
- Do parents have time actually for their children?
I remember even while in college my mother used to take active interest in what happened at class, often irritating “grown up” me. But this was something that she used to do from my kindergarten. Though the quantity and quality of the information decreased over the years it still was an open channel of communication for which today I’m intensely grateful for. I know without doubt that if I would have had one bad day in school over the years, my mother would have known, either by my words or by my actions. Even today she has not lost her skills but chooses to stay in the back ground till she is asked.
Thank you mum.