BY NISSAR H GILANI
As a student of class seventh standard in Islamia High School Srinagar I and my classmate Gulzar Ahmed gojri were one summer day brutally beaten up with sticks by one of the most learned and respected teacher late Mufti Nooruddin Farouqi. He was a brilliant theology teacher, was assigned additionally to supervise and check the attendance of school students offering “ Zuhar” Neemaz, noon prayers at historical Jama Masjid, Srinagar , that lies in close proximity. It was mandatory for all students of the school to offer Noon prayers. Absentee were punished corporally by the teachers. A proper register was maintained for each class for the purpose. Teachers of the school were assigned to mark the attendance at the small exit of the mosque. Mostly Non Muslim teacher’s were by rotation given the task . I remember my form teacher late Kashi Nath, well built making our attendance at the gates. Late Narijan Nath Kaul alias Nera who was a renowned band master, usually turbaned ,having a hawk’s eye, was too assigned with the same job. Obviously under such circumstances ,students would always attend the noon prayers, those not attending would be punished either corporaly or fined. Me and my classmate would also attend the prayers without fail, some how that unfortunate date we missed the Neemaz, by few minutes and opted to move straight to school, hence the punishment, that for my frail body was too much. I was injured, both my buttocks were bruised. Initially first 5 round of canning were well tolerated, but non stop beating made me wet my pants, and subsequently I fainted. My friend Gulzar tolerated well the ordeal, and was also subjected to 100 sit-ups. I regained my consciousness after four or five hours at home. I saw my parents were in tears, and my father was giving choicest of abuses to school authorities.
Parent’s in those day’s would believe that corporal punishment sets clear boundaries and motivates children to behave in school. Children were better able to make decision about their behavior, exercise and self control. Not only this, the parents would then blindly accept and appreciate the teachers role for all the things, including use of force to discipline children.
I still remember our teachers saying, Spare the rod, and spoil the child.
After this terrible ordeal, my father lodged a complaint with the school management. Late Mufti Ghulam u Din, a gentleman figure, an able administrator, and highly trained and qualified teacher, who was the principal of the school, personally apologised to my father for the incident. Mufti Noorudin faruqi, remained in hiding for day’s together, to keep out of reach of the long arm of the law and my father’s wrath.
The incident was a turning point in my school life, as my parents decided to get my admission in an uptown school, that was considered a very good school then, DAV high school Srinagar, where I studied up to 10th grade.
Things have drastically changed all these decades, what is something that was acceptable in the past would be considered unacceptable today. Corporal punishment is prohibited almost every where in the world, but unfortunately its use by teachers in classrooms in many countries remains rampant, including India.
The news of death of three boys in one of the area’s of Bombay in 2014 after being canned by their physical instructor shocked the city. The teacher used to hit the students according to the Mark’s they got in their exams and used to threaten them on drastic consequences if they did not do well next time. He is presently behind the bar’s.
A survey in India by National commission for the protection of child Rights, it was found that 65 percent of school going children are subjected to corporal punishment.
In Pakistan a bill passed by the National assembly banning corporal punishment for children fallowing reports of school children being badly beaten in school’s, religious institutions and other work places.
Similarly in September 2018, Nepal adopted the act relating to children abuse which prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings.
Corporal punishment and psychological violence are extremely common around the world, but variations across countries are large.
No matter my story of circumstance, all children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.
The writer is former Assistant Commission Revenue Department J&K Government, can be reached at