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Video clips: Indian army: Unofficial chastisement

Army cadet receiving punishment

With comments by C. Farrell

India -- Unofficial punishment of army trainees: Three clips. Clip 3 is New!

CLIP 1 OF 3:

This is a 40-second video showing a military cadet being chastised over the seat of his uniform trousers with a hockey stick. The youth has been made to adopt a "push-up" position. The film came to light in 2014 but may date from earlier than that. Its appearance excited controversy in Indian military circles because there is supposed to be no corporal punishment in the army. This in any case looks as if it could be bullying (in India they call it "ragging") rather than proper punishment. The picture quality is poor.


CLIP 2 OF 3:

This video from 2016 lasts nearly 3 minutes and shows a mass caning of half a dozen Indian army cadets across the seat of their tracksuits. An unusual method of holding each recipient in place is by standing on his hands on the ground. This somewhat breaks down towards the end of the scene and things become rather more random. The implements used are not proper rattan canes but rough switches, which disintegrate quickly with use. What looks like a folded rope is also being wielded by one of the trainers. Each youth receives around 12 strokes in all, though evidently nobody is counting precisely.

It is interesting to note that, though clearly not an official punishment, the action is taking place in full view of anyone who happens to be passing. It may be more in the way of a hazing or "rite of passage" (initiation) ceremony than punishment. Or possibly recruits are chastising members of their own unit for letting them down, or for a failure of some kind.


CLIP 3 OF 3: New!

This two-minute video is much more recent (August 2022) and is one example of countless clips currently to be found on YouTube that serve as advertisements for private military training outfits. These seem to be all over India and are independent of the official army. This one is Sonbhadra Physical Academy in Uttar Pradesh. It features adolescent boys in school uniform who are required to bend over in the "murga" position. This teacher's aim with the cane is not brilliant: some strokes are too low. The atmosphere seems fairly light-hearted.


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