Saturday, February 11, 2012


A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

Adjectives fail when we try to describe the brutal killing of a teacher in front of her whole class by a student. In Chennai, Tamil Nadu three days back a 14 year old student called Irfan killed his Hindi teacher Ms Uma Maheswari, 39, mother of 2 young girls in front of the entire class. Unfortunately since the boy age is only 14 chances are that given the lax state of justice in India, he will escape punishment and his family is well off so perhaps, as was the case in the Jessica Lal and Priyadrashini Matoo case, justice may not prevail without strong public pressure. Already the Press is making every effort to project Irfan as a "child" whose "right" were violated by the Hindi Teacher when she pulled him up for not studying. In Deccan Chronicle there is even an article saying that his future must be protected even after the crime the he has done. Who is to speak for the 2 young daughters who have lost their mother. Sometimes I feel that criminals cannot be brought to justice, JUSTICE must be brought to them. I wrote this line in an earlier blog on S P S Rathore IPS. I hope Irfan is punished because the crime he committed in public and the pre meditated manner in which he perpetrated the crime bespeak of a "hate crime'. Given the sad state of affairs in India, I would not be surprised if the Press rants and raves and when the furoe dies down, Irfan quietly walks the street again. Tamil Nadu has a history of letting off well connected criminals. I remember that John Davis, the man who liked some Ponarrasu, came out of prison waving a Bible.

There is need to rethink the manner in which Teachers are treated in India. School/ College and University teaching require special skills and little effort is made to impart pedagogic skills. I do not mean to suggest that the run of the mill B. Ed degrees offered by B Ed institutions are the solution. Jiddu Krisnamurti is perhaps the only Philosopher in India who has spent a lifetime thinking about this very issue. Teachers need to be sensitized to the Jiddu Krinamurhy methods of teaching. Classroom teaching must be liberating not oppressive and this can be achievedvd only when the teachers are trained in teaching minus the competitive spirit. Unfortunately, in most schools the number of students in the class exceed the optimum strenght of 30 and therefore smaller classes is the need of the hour. I must say that teenagers are under formed personalities and their self worth and image is easily upset and hence they need to be handled firmly but with tact. I studied in Don Bosco, Egmore several decades back and I remember with horror a Hindi teacher who used to send notes to the parents for every little thing. Another Teacher called Subba Rao who was always dressed in white pyjama and jibba was just the opposite and I learned Hindi quite well from him. I am not blaming anyone, but just pleading for more wholesome methods of teaching.

Irfan's family seems to be one of the upwardly mobile families that has become wealth over the past few years and hence it has the "craze" for "convent" education. Families undermine traditional values by encouraging instant gratification. Instead of spending time with the boy and encouraging him in his studies, the parents have apparently spoiled him by giving him a daily pocket money of Rs 100. Parents must share the blame for this crime as they have failed in the primary responsibility of bringing up a well behaved and well mannered child. I think parents who allow their children all kinds of freedom must treat this case as a wake up call.

Language teaching is an art and we must be making effort to teach languages effectively. In USA, for instance in 2 semester a student lears to read, write and to some extent speak an Indian language. Of course, I am talking about University students but I want to say that there are mewthods availble for efficient mens of language acquisition and we need to introspect seriously over them. It would be a pity if the crime of Irfan and the death of Ms Uma Masevari is forgotten.

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