Corporal Punishment And Mr. Kuruvilla Jacob.

There has been much coverage in the local and British newspapers about students being punished in schools and being harmed or being driven to suicide. This article in the Telegraph will give you an idea of the situation.

Just the other day, I read another news item about our Central Minister waxing eloquent on Indian education. What he said is unimportant, but the occasion drew my attention. It was a Kuruvilla Jacob Memorial Lecture. My antenna went up as Mr. Kuruvilla Jacob was the Prinicipal of a school where I studied for four years before getting my School Leaving Certificate. The Madras Christian College School. The link gives you a broad idea about the man and the esteem he is held in by his students.

Mr. Jacob will be remembered by thousands of students from the three schools where he left his imprint. I have nothing but great respect for him and the way he punished some of us, including me. I had met him on a number of occasions after leaving school at Chennai, Hyederabad and Bombay and he always remembered me straight off and would graciously congratulate me on my, then small, achievements.

The other teachers in the school did punish their students, usually by asking them to stand up on the bench for the duration of the class or by sending them out of the class. Both punishments invited trouble depending on whether Mr Jacob took his rounds during the time that the punishment took place. If it did, the student was called to his room where a cane was kept and depending on the seriousness of the occasion, the number of canings was decided by him. One stretched out one’s non writing palm and the cane swished down leaving a welt.

For many of us, getting caned by Mr. Jacob was equivalent to getting a badge of honour. I got many I can assure you. I doubt that any old student of Mr. Jacob can be found who will say that he was unjustly punished or was driven to suicidal tendencies by the punishment meted out by the teachers and/or the Principal of their highly regarded school. I doubt also that you will find any person of my generation or perhaps even a couple of younger generations complaining about the punishments that they received in their school.

I personally believe that excess parenting and molly coddling of children are making them into what Bikehikebabe so effectively calls namby pambies. Are we producing wimps? Or have we already produced wimps who in turn are producing wimps?