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Video clips: Pakistan: Schoolboy canings 1

College caning

With comments by C. Farrell

12 real-life schoolboy caning sessions in Pakistan.

Clip 1 of 12: Boys lined up for caning at a college in Rawalpindi

Duration: 10 seconds
Date found: March 2009

In this brief clip from PACE College, a line of senior boys in uniform are facing the wall with their hands up, each receiving one stroke across the seat of the trousers as the teacher moves along them with his long cane. It looks to be a fairly routine operation. In a couple of cases, a student puts his hands to his bottom immediately after receiving the stroke.


Clip 2 of 12: Mass caning in a Pakistan schoolyard

Duration: 1 minute 10 seconds
Date found: May 2007

Schoolyard caning in Pakistan

This was filmed at a school in Azad Kashmir -- the part of Jammu & Kashmir administered by Pakistan.

  In the schoolyard are several boys under punishment. The schoolmaster goes around caning them in turn. Most have to bend over for two strokes on the backside, or in one case the small of the back. One is reluctant to submit, and has to be pushed into position. Another student, for no apparent reason, is disciplined on his hands instead. It all seems depressingly arbitrary and slapdash.

  The strokes are clearly not very hard, although some of them sting enough to cause two or three of the recipients to hold or rub their bottoms. When we get a glimpse of the cane we can see that it is moderately thick but not especially long.

  The overall impression given is that this is a common occurrence at the school, implemented inconsistently -- almost randomly -- and for probably trivial reasons, and not taken very seriously by either the master or the students. Some may feel that the value of CP is undermined when it is meted out as casually as this, particularly when no great care is being taken to deliver the strokes properly.

  To be effective, on this view, a caning should be a solemn ceremony, delivered hard but safely with care and accuracy. Singapore schools set the example here. When a caning is justified at all, it needs be given with enough vigour to make a significant impression, otherwise the currency of the whole disciplinary regime is devalued, and CP risks degenerating into random, casual, pointless, daily brutality -- which does indeed seem to be what has happened on a wide scale in the Indian subcontinent since independence in 1947.


Clip 3 of 12: Senior boys punished at Sandal College, Faisalabad

Duration: 1 minute
Date found: November 2009

This is a secondary private boarding school in Punjab. It is actually co-educational, but all the students seen here are young men. Some of them look almost too grown-up for this, but the school goes up to 12th grade inclusive (age c.18) so presumably these students are at the most senior level -- the equivalent of what used to be called "upper sixth form" in Britain. To the Western eye it may seem a little bizarre to see schoolboys with full beards, but perhaps only because school rules forbid them in most countries and therefore we are not used to it.

  All the students wear British-style school uniforms of blazers, ties, white shirts and grey trousers, and they have all been told to bend over for punishment. The first student keeps standing up straight after each stroke of the cane and clutching his buttocks, and is not taking it at all well considering the cane looks too short to be capable of inflicting more than minor pain. Eventually he appears to simply refuse to bend over for any more.

  The teacher seems to be punishing while angry -- always a bad idea. The students come across as surly and indignant, but we cannot tell whether this is because they think they are too old to be caned, or because the punishment is in their view unjustified, irrespective of its nature. Either way, in my experience punishment (of whatever sort) usually works only if the offender accepts it as reasonable and deserved, so the scene enacted here may have been rather pointless, or even counterproductive.


Clip 4 of 12: More college students punished

Duration: 1¼ minutes
Date found: January 2011

Another college in Pakistan, said to be in Karachi. This seems to be more of a paddling than a caning. Each of several students gets one stroke across the buttocks. It takes place in a room with, apparently, many other students present, who can be heard laughing from time to time. The picture quality is not ideal.


Clip 5 of 12: More college students punished

Duration: 3 minutes 40 seconds
Date found: December 2010

At this college in Punjab, several male students have to adopt a touch-toes or grab-ankles position at the front of the class for one or two swats with a paddle or large ruler across the seat of the trousers. Some of them appear reluctant to submit but all are evidently persuaded that they have no option, despite appearing to be more or less grown-up (this is believed to be a post-secondary institution). Rather bizarrely for students of this age, one of them is even also caned on the hands. Although the strokes do not look in the film to be especially hard, several students react with pain and clutch their buttocks after punishment. The atmosphere is completely serious.

UPDATE: A reader observes that the student who is caned on the hands is very tall -- much bigger than the master. He speculates that, for this reason, it may have simply been impractical to discipline him in the usual way, so he had to punish him on the hands instead.


Clip 6 of 12: Mass slippering in a corridor

Duration: 30 seconds
Date found: April 2011

Bending over to be slippered Here we see 12 senior schoolboys lined up facing a wall, bending over tight, with hands round the back of their legs. Holding this uncomfortable stance, known as "murgha", is often used as a punishment in its own right in the Indian subcontinent, so it is possible that these boys have had to remain in that position for some minutes before the film begins, and that the slippering is the signal to get up. In any event, each student receives one solid whack of the slipper across the posterior before standing up and moving away, in most cases clutching his stinging buttocks.

  It appears that one further student has just been slippered, at the far end of the line, immediately before this clip starts.

  Female students are present in the adjacent room from which the scene is being filmed, but in this instance, as in all the other Pakistan cases of formal CP that we have seen so far, it is only young men who get spanked.

  This gives the impression of being a fairly routine event. The boys appear fully accepting of their punishment. The atmosphere is completely serious.


Clip 7 of 12: More of the same

Duration: 1½ minutes
Date found: April 2011

This is clearly from the same room in the same school as the previous clip. Again we see senior boys lined up in the bending-over position ready for a slippering. This time we can see that there are in fact two rows of culprits, lining either wall of the corridor. One or two students stand up to clutch their buttocks after being disciplined.


Clip 8 of 12: Mass caning of senior schoolboys

Duration: 1 minute
Date found: February 2011

We are in the courtyard or open hallway of a school or college. Two rows of senior male students in uniform, perhaps a couple of dozen in all, are lined up in the "murgha" position (bending over tight with hands behind knees) for punishment. A master goes along behind them with a stick administering discipline (two or three strokes each) to the seat of the trousers. Each young man then rises, in many cases rubbing his backside, and departs. The stick is too short, rigid and rough to be called a proper punishment cane. With students of this age and with such an inadequate instrument, this punishment was probably more slightly embarrassing than particularly painful.


Clip 9 of 12: More senior students caned en masse

Duration: 30 seconds
Date found: December 2011

This film clip was taken at Global Degree College in Peshawar, apparently a post-secondary institution. A long line of kneeling young men in local costume is seen in the distance, each receiving one stroke of a long whippy cane across the seat before rising and leaving, in some cases clutching their buttocks. There is an annoying running commentary by the cameraperson.


Clip 10 of 12: Outdoor caning at a college

Duration: 30 seconds
Date found: February 2010

A boy adopts the "murgha" position for four strokes of the cane at Kalarkahar Science College in Punjab. After standing up, he clutches his buttocks. This is an outdoor scene filmed through a window, so the soundtrack consists of irrelevant conversation inside the room rather than the punishment we are seeing. The picture quality is very poor.


Clip 11 of 12: Senior boys caned at a college in Kashmir

Duration: 2 minutes
Date found: March 2012

A disciplinary scene at Insight Model College in Azad Kashmir. Several young men are being required to adopt a bending-over position as a punishment in its own right, and in addition receiving strokes of the cane across the seat of their uniform trousers. There is considerable standing up and clutching of buttocks after receiving the strokes, but the boys must then bend over again. The camerawork is shaky but improves a bit as the clip proceeds.


Clip 12 of 12: Classroom rulering

Duration: 1 minute
Date found: October 2009

This discontinuous and poor-quality video is from Hope College, near Karachi. At the front of the class, three young men get mild on-the-spot punishment with a ruler across the seat of their trousers. The implement is too small to have more than symbolic effect.


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Page updated December 2021