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School CP - February 2007

Corpun file 19055


Times of India, Delhi, 16 February 2007


Sale of cane goes on unabated

HYDERABAD: Times are a-changin and the adage, spare the rod and spoil the child doesn't hold good anymore. Try telling that to some of the small shops tucked away in a corner of the city, who are oblivious to the ban that the Andhra Pradesh government imposed on corporal punishment in all educational institutions in 2002.

Take Karim (name changed) for instance, who is awaiting for the new school sessions to start. No, he isn't a harassed parent, he's talking plain simple business.

Karim sells canes, besides various other things in his little shop in Lad Bazar. "Once the new sessions begin, teachers come and take canes to beat up children. Government and private schools as well as individuals who take tuitions, come and take these canes from us."

His help in the 100-year-old shop points out that when sales pick up, they sell up to 150 canes in a day. "But even on a daily basis, I think we sell 2 to 3 canes."

And no, his is not the only shop that sells these canes that come all the way from Kolkata.

Ask any person in a bangle shop in Lad Bazar and he'll tell you the shops where you can pick up these canes. From thin unpolished ones that come for Rs 15 to polished ones which are more sturdy and come at around Rs 30, you can have your pick.

"Try this one, it has a better grip" says a shop owner who doesn't have a board but boasts of the best prices. "See, it can hit very well. It leaves a mark that stays for at least half-an-hour." says another shop owner demonstrating the effects of a cane on his arm.

Obviously, these men are ignorant about the kind of impressions these sticks can leave on a child's psychology.

Nor are they aware of the ban. But, they are not the only ones to blame. Since there are takers for their canes, they sell them.

But whether beating up children is good or bad, is a question obviously no one is stopping to answer.

Dr P Swathi, counselling psychologist and secretary, Hyderabad Psychologists Association says:

"Childhood is the basic foundation of anyone's life. A child who is beaten up, normally becomes very withdrawn. And then, its these children who grow up with problems. They either harm themselves as grown-ups by becoming suicidal, hurting themselves or end up being wife beaters, parents who beat up their children or just anxious individuals. Somewhere there is pent up aggression that stays."

Researcher Elizabeth Gershoff in a 2002 meta-analytic study that combined 60 years of research on corporal punishment, found that the only positive outcome of corporal punishment was immediate compliance.

Maya Sukumaran, headmistress of Gitanjali High School couldn't agree more. "Even if the child listens to you, its only momentary. After a while, he/she becomes defiant.

The child knows that the most anyone can do is hit. So if you are actually trying to scare the child, you are defeating the whole process because after a while, the child is not even scared."

Copyright 2007 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

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