The recent story about the gruesome incident of the beheading of a school boy in Pune was not only shocking, but also a warning about what is yet to come. Violence has finally caught up with the schools of India!
In a country where cultural values are undergoing a tremendous change, it is but natural to have a youth which is confused, and without the support of strong values. It is unfortunate that we are gradually moving away from our family customs, traditions and the values which have sustained us as a unique cultural entity, distinct and exclusive.
A shift from the extended family or the joint family to the nuclear family in most urban areas is one factor which has brought a shift in values. In an extended family, the child lives with his grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. He learns to respect his elder, he learns to share with his siblings and cousins. The grandparents instil in him various timeless values, they provide him with a rich resource of stories from the scriptures, fables and myths. These fables and stories often contain moral values and form a rich tapestry of culture. The child living in the joint family learns to respect others.
As opposed to the child living in the joint family, the child living in the nuclear family might be a loner, neglected by his parents who might both be working. Perhaps, the child learns to fend for himself and he becomes more selfish. Where both parents are working, the child might not have anyone to talk to or share his problems with. Excessive brooding, might lead to a condition where the child becomes more of an introvert. The child might become more aggressive with other children at school. He might vent out his frustrations on fellow students in what is called as a “compensation reaction”.The child might turn towards aggression in order to gain notoriety or acceptance in a wider social fabric. A child who is neglected at home might either become a loner at school (also becoming a victim of bullying by others), or he might himself become a bully. It works both ways! The child who has lived in the joint family is however better off, no doubt, because of his values, and because he has learned better coping strategies. He has lived with a number of siblings so he knows how to cope with other children! He has a richer experience because within the extended family he has come across all kinds of siblings, those who are bullies and those who are weak. The joint family provides him the perfect environment for growing social aptitude and social intelligence.
It might therefore be stated that a child with a richer resource of cultural and moral values might be less likely to be a bully in school. Also, a child with better coping strategies is less likely to be victim of bullying in school.
The drastic changes that the social fabric of the country is undergoing is a likely contributor to the problem of violence in the schools of India. Vulgarity in serials being shown on prime time on cable T.V., the kind of images carried in magazines and the internet are all to blame for violence in the schools of India. Popular films in the country popularise eve-teasing and bullying.The anti-hero is a much regarded and important character. The Hero himself might be a gangster or a criminal who keeps out of reach of the law because of his wit. Such characters ensure that the film becomes a box office hit! Many films are based on get rich quick schemes, and the Hero undergoes a transformation from rags to rich in very little time! Our students try to emulate the Anti Hero in the Indian film. Students think they too can become rich and famous like their favourite heroes. Many children want to be Chotha Don or Little Don.So, why is it that our students wish to identify themselves with the Anti-Hero? The answer to this question is that the Anti-Hero or the Vamp as in the case of the Heroine is more adventurous, daring and and courageous! The Hero and the Heroine of the movie are bland, unromantic and traditional, so nobody wants to emulate them! Our films seem to market violence and vulgarity in order to make the film a box office hit! Violence and vulgarity sell like hot cakes!The films make the Anti-Hero larger than life! It is these Anti-Heroes that our students emulate and this is one major reason why violence is increasing in our schools!
Overcrowding of class rooms is a major concern today. Where the number of students exceeds the capacity of the classroom there is bound to be friction. Fight for seats is a common issue in the overcrowded class room. In an overcrowded class room, the teacher is helpless and unable to prevent fights between students. Poor ventilation, and competition among students for the attention of the teacher are aggravating factors.
We are all responsible for the increase of violence in our schools. It is high time our policy makers took into consideration the various factors responsible for the increase of violence in our schools! Our film directors should make more films which promote culture and values! We need more films like Tare Zameen Par, Iqbal, and Three Idiots! Prime time television should telecast more serials which uphold our cultural and social values! Our film censor board should mark all those films as Adult which contain vulgarity and violence. Unless these steps are taken, we will continue to have more and more violence in schools of India!