Friday, October 15, 2010

Spare the Rod, Kill the Child

Offsprings are different between the same set of parents. One responds to love and may be, the other to hate. Can't possibly treat them all similarly, in fact none with the intention of breaking bones or leaving indelible scars or bleeding faces. An occasional  thwack on justified grounds are more potent. But why am I talking about this?

My intention is to see whether the Principal of French traitor's school is to be held responsible for the death of 14-year-old boy.

His teachers say that he was a naughty boy just like any other boy his age in school. He was caned by the Principal over disciplinary grounds. Twelve days later he committed suicide.

Read this way and there seems to just one plausible reason for suicide with a clear list of suspects. The child was suffering mental trauma because of the treatment meted out to him in school. He tried to run away from it but seeing his imminent return to school he took his own life.

There is a lot of speculation on the topic of Suicide. A fool proof theory is still awaited. Nonetheless there a few substantial theories discussing different probable causes.

Physiological: When a person grows old they opt for euthanasia. For obvious reasons this can ruled out in the boy's case right at the onset.

Psychological: Depression induced suicide tops the chart. People, more often than not, carry strains of depression in their genes. The others develop these traits over time stimuli provided externally. In such cases there are obvious traits. Insomnia, Avoiding social gatherings, bipolarity, erratic mood swings et al. Going by the Father's words and the word of his schoolmates, the boy was anything but a depressed soul.

Drug abuse: Not applicable on an a priori assumption given the age of the deceased

Sociological: Anomie caused due to sudden changes in lifestyles. The sudden change needs to be drastic too. Some examples would be the farmers committing suicide due to sudden weather anomalies rendering them incapable of feeding their loved ones. Nothing as drastic took place. Then it could a display of defiance and requirement of avoidance. The last one seems the most plausible of them all.

Defiance and avoidance need to be again seen in the light of different social structures in which the boy was participating. The social institution of school was a big part of his life but wouldn't the love for friends be a stronger cohesive force than the respect for teachers and authority. According to reports and parents' version, he had no dearth of friends and he was a socially amicable chap.

So if we try to look at the school the way he did, we might a see an institution where I have a lot of friends...I have a lot of fun with teachers keep stopping me...I am a defiant boy so I pay little or no heed to warning which inevitably lands me in trouble (according to one of the teachers he came to school three days after being canned by his Principal with stink bombs). But according to the evidence collected (after the death that is) by his parents he stopped going to school because he didn't wish to face his teachers.

There is a view that defiance coupled with fear might have been the reason. I wouldn't mind buying this theory but then I have one question. How come his parents didn't arbitrate?

They didn't even get an inkling about their son's stress. If he was being caned in school and was suffering existential issues due to it and he didn't share his woes with his parents who is to be blamed? If he couldn't take the stress of being publicly punished (something which many in my school took lightly enough to be again at the receiving end soon) are the parents to be blamed?

Given an ideal situation a single child in the absence of siblings needs either of the parents to play the role of a confidante. If not then at least someone whom the child can go for help. Besides if a child can't tolerate public punishment in school its obvious that the parents never reprimanded their son so he never developed the adequate resistance. Social sanctions are a strong part of socialization. A child is taught whats right and whats wrong. A role to be played essentially by parents the absence of which can cause problems.

Punishment of any order make the child psychologically resistant to censure and castigation elsewhere. The possibility of being disgraced gets institutionalized. In the absence of which a child  grows up into a man who can never take the loud rantings of his boss casually, or worse a man who becomes intolerant to criticism. I know improper socialization, there is a possibility of absolutely normal growth but parents' lack of ability or interest is like smoking cigarettes. There's a strong chance of getting cancer but a smoker just might not get it.

Icing on the cake: The boy gave his mother at least three call on her mobile on that fateful day. Mom was busy learning golf and the caddy was given clear instructions of not taking any calls. This boy was a different version of Jeremy. Heard by none but loved by all.

I am not saying the Principal and teachers are faultless. All I done is I have presented a possible interpretation.  And according to this reading, the parents need to be sharing the cell along with the Principal.

Pritish Mukherjee believes he has poetic abilities. However, presently, he is more inclined to be a "Bengali Babu"; i.e. a Civil Servant. We have stolen this analysis from his blog

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