If Almighty Allah is the greatest mentor/teacher ever known to mankind with superior wisdom way beyond the abilities of mastermind earthlings like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, why are people (school-teachers, imams and parents) ignoring his wisdom and good advice and beating the wrath of hell into his innocent children?
Why did Justices Imman Ali and Sheikh Hasan Arif ban corporal punishment in schools and madrassas throughout Bangladesh on January 13, 2011, if it's beneficial to society?
Why? Why? Why? Because corporal punishment isn't beneficial: not even a so-called 'loving slap'.
There isn't a single iota of evidence in favour of corporal punishment, not even that described as 'loving'. What maybe intended to be a light disciplinary 'loving slap' often becomes the prelude to mental and physical torture, abuse, broken limbs and even a child's suicide.
While most of us can look back at our school days and shrug off the abuse as norm of the ignorant period, it is not safe to assume that everyone has the emotional capacity to overcome potentially scarring instances of physical and mental abuse and it's these people that need protection.
We know corporal punishment resolves nothing. We must keep our minds open to a holistic approach towards discipline and cultivating our future society, Why, therefore, nine years later, is there still corporal punishment culture in some Bangladeshi schools and madrassahs?
One would think in this enlightened day and age, teachers and imams would have moved away from such barbaric practices and prayed for Allah's forgiveness for their past unjust, abusive misdoings.
I would never send my child to any establishment where corporal punishment is meted out. Only Allah knows if my child, with all the goodness and blessings that Allah deeply embedded in his/her soul, would return home one day broken and beyond repair for life.
Some 'teachers' have no, heart, no soul, no compassion and vent their anger, frustration and attempt to resolve their personal family disputes on little innocent folk who cannot fight back.
Give some thought to 15-year-old Hunain Bilal in Lahore. He was severely beaten by his 'teacher', Kamran, for not memorizing a lesson. The beating consisted of the 'teacher' repeatedly punching the boy. He then dragged him by his hair and smashed his head into the wall. How cruel and inhuman is that? The boy died two days later. His family was devastated.
Another boy, Abdul Rehman (11) was taken to the principal's office. His teacher caught him exchanging a tie with his classmate. The brutish thug principal gave the boy a karate chop to the nap of his neck and kicked him in his abdomen. Abdul had to be rushed into emergency surgery later that day after he complained of passing blood in his urine.
Let's rewind and momentarily and contemplate the event... a fully-grown man, kicking an 11-year-old in the abdomen for merely exchanging a tie with his friend? And he is the school principal. C'mon, this is no way for any human to behave, but the incident is far from being uncommon.
Corporal punishment is a time bomb just waiting to explode with devastating consequences wherever it's permitted. Maybe not today... maybe not tomorrow... maybe not this month, but who can say for certain or foretell the name of the next victim whenever. Time bombs offer no threat when disarmed.
To prevent electrical shock (or death), one wouldn't touch exposed electrical wiring; yet parents, teachers and imams risk the lives of children in the most horrific, inhuman, despicable way, but it's okay, it seems. The process is called 'discipline' and that makes it right? No doubt Allah weeps a monsoon when he sees one of his children suffer at the hands of ignorance.
Pause a moment and ask yourself, at what point does a so-called loving, disciplinary slap end and child abuse begin? At what point does the Allah-given purity and compassion instilled in birth of human beings leave the soul and the despicable shameful cruelty of Satan enter? School is no place for aggression and cruelty to be taught to victims or impartial onlookers.
Such a pity
It's such a great pity that many 'teachers' and imams (sometimes aided and abetted by ignorant parents) sacrifice the God-given gifts that can be found in every child for a superficial "A" or "A+" pencil mark on faded paper that robs the child of their childhood happiness.
It is said - and believed - all children are gifts from the Almighty. If that is true, what gives us (teachers, parents and imams) the right to beat-out their Heavenly goodness and beat-in detestable Hellish behaviour?
It's often been said: 'Spare the rod and spoil the child'. It's written in all the good books and teachers, head-teachers, and imams take absolute delight in quoting it as an excuse to justify their evil ways.
The incorrect translation of the word 'rod' is the root cause of thousands of innocent children worldwide suffering severe heartbreak, pain and damage through the years.
In Proverbs 13:24, it says: 'He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him'.
It's only natural that every loving parent would want what's best for his or her child and some refer to the 'good books' for parental guidance.
While 'spare the rod and spoil the child' is a perfect example of demonstrating parental love to children, the problem lies in the flawed translation of the word 'rod'.
In Hebrew, the word "rod" is the same word used in Psalms 23:4, 'thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me'.
The shepherd's rod/staff was/is used to ENCOURAGE, GUIDE, and DISCIPLINE the sheep towards taking a desired direction, NOT to beat, hurt or damage them.
Our own writing genius and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore who abhorred corporal punishment in all settings, said:
"To discipline means to teach, not to punish".
That sentence would fit on a five-taka postage stamp, but its wisdom is colossal and priceless. It's a pity that many parents, teachers, head-teachers and imams ignore it.
The honourable Justices who outlawed corporal punishment in 2011 and attempted to wipe clean its tears and blood-stained ugliness from the tapestry of Bangladesh, defined the horrible act as 'cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child's fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom'.
It's a shame on the Bangladesh teaching fraternity the stains of corporal punishment ugliness are still being soaked in tears of sadness, misery, hatred and despair by its young. Only when there is zero tolerance to corporal punishment can Bangladesh hope to move forward as it ought.
Good luck to Education Minister, Dr. Dipu Moni who has the dauntless task of putting it right.
Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, a royal goodwill ambassador and humanitarian. <[email protected]>
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