‘BACCHE MAN KE SACCHE?’
After my short stint as a teacher I have had a grave insight into the psyche of children. I call it grave because the whole ‘bacche man ke sacche’ thing fell flat on its face. I had the opportunity to interact with some 3rd and 4th graders and believe you me, they are no angels. The genetic make-up of being born human takes precedence over everything else. Humans are genetically conditioned to survive (which reflects in their being still here) and for this they cheat, they fib, they coerce and carve their way through life. These traits are present there amongst kids as well. In fact I feel they are born with it and then slowly as they struggle to make a place for themselves in society they hone these skills as circumstances demand.
I can make my contention clearer with some instances I happened to be a part of. One day I entered the class and saw the whole bunch of seven somethings crowded in a corner. They were all shouting at a ‘bechara’ cowering and trying to get heard over the din. I told them to wish me first as I was the teacher and then tell me their problem. They didn’t seem to hear my screeching pleas and carried on. I had to physically pull them away from there and bring some order to the class. Finally it was time to listen to the story. One of them said that X had stolen his pencil. The other one shouted that X is a habitual ‘chor’. A few more joined in the brouhaha and X’s feeble outcries were drowned in the collective incrimination.
It turned out that while doing a class assignment, Y’s pencil had rolled down and fallen into X’s bag. On conducting a search it was recovered from his bag and so he was branded a ‘chor’. Because X was submissive he was an easy target. This mentality of dominating over the lesser mortals can be widely seen in the adult world as well. How did the kids learn it- is a question which needs to be answered. At such an age when they can’t even memorise their lessons properly it’s a bit too much to believe that they can imbibe such complex behaviour patterns from their surroundings. I feel these behavioural propensities are already present in them. They act according to situations they find themselves in.
To further elucidate my point I will cite a few more examples. They won’t hesitate to use force on hapless fellow students, some with reason and some without. I chanced upon one other episode where the monitor beat up everyone with a scale. I share the responsibility for the beatings. It was I who had made the naughtiest of the lot the monitor of the class. I was experimenting with the theory that when an irresponsible and incorrigible child is given a responsibility he invariably mends his behaviour. But here he was going around beating his classmates which even I never did, as I am against using physical force on children. Just because they are physically at a disadvantage doesn’t give us the authority to use the rod. Try doing so with a chap of your own ‘make’.
Then they are smart – really, really smart. At the tender age of seven when some of them are not even pottie-trained, they know their rights. One of them came up to my colleague and said that she can go to jail for hitting him! My friend was left speechless and amused at the same time. Guess RTI was passed keeping theses brats in mind. These small little marvels are not just innocent bundles of joy. They are well on their way to learning the ropes of ‘being human’.
Many of you would like to bash me up the first chance you get for disrespecting our ‘sacred angels’. But this is what I observed. Children are born through us and if they can inherit our ‘big eyes’, our ‘dark hair’, our ‘ sharp little nose’, our ‘fair complexion’, our ‘perfection’, then they can also inherit our greed, our hatred, our shenanigans and our complexes. What we as adults need to do is mould them, guide them. These personality strains will stay with them but we need to teach them how to successfully suppress the negatives and give wings to the positives.
Despite my experiences I still feel that children are far better specimen of the human race. They still have the transparency of character which we have lost under the dust collected over years of living. They still have a long path to traverse and make choices on the way. We only need to make sure that those choices are ‘right’ and ‘worthy’.