“Aawazein”, is a campaign initiated to raise a voice against all kinds of violence. Something is wrong and there is a need to know what? There is something seriously wrong when a seven year old boy is brutally killed in his own school. Or another child is raped. But let us look to a larger picture. Has violence become a part our daily lives? Is it there because of us?
The present environment of silence to the increasing violence is deeply disturbing and it is high time the middle class, especially the intellectuals come out of their ivory towers, and walk the talk. Let’s go beyond coffee table lamentations, and candle lighting tokenism, and address the ground situation. We must not only understand the causes behind this violence in various forms, springing up like weeds, even around the school campus; we must also communicate our findings to the man in the street.
And that’s the reason why a motley group of educationists, activists, and college students chose to have this discussion in public, at a central place, out in the open, where anyone who passed by could drop in and join in the conversation.
So, on 15th of September, 2017 at J.P. roundabout, a public discussion was held to throw a light on the growing violence affecting our children. A group of some 50 professors and students led by Professor Shanker A. Dutt, former chairman of Bihar Sangeet and Natak Kala Academy, Frank Krishner, professor at St Xavier’s College of Management and Technology, Dr Muniba Sami Retrd. Professor of Patna University, Dr Richa, assistant professor in Department of English, Patna Women’s College and Prabhat Jha a research scholar, gathered to discuss and reflect upon the matter.
Drawn into the conversation were several who dropped by, among whom were the Principal of Radiant School, a former principal of two leading Jesuit schools and a former member of the State minorities commission, several teachers from the Communicative English and English Departments of Patna Women’s College, social activists, a yoga teacher who was passing by, and even some newsmen who dropped by to see what we were ‘protesting about’.
In the discussions, people agreed that such incidents depict the face of our society. A major reason behind such incidents of child abuse and violence is that the art of parenting is lacking. There is also an institutional violence; every child is not treated equally, and that brings loss of confidence and resulting in suppression of talent.
Bringing in the most recent case, ‘the Pradyuman murder’, and the other incident where a girl child was molested, the speakers deplored the fact that instead of the politicians taking steps to remedy the situation, they just took pot shots at one another.
While expressing appreciation of the steps taken by Patna District Administration and police to ensure safety of children in schools, it was also pointed out that private schools should not be made scapegoats . The vast majority of children study in government schools, which have problems with understaffing, insensitive teachers, and no surveillance cameras.
Violent behaviour begins at home and that is where children imbibe violence, said Fr Peter Arokiasami SJ. There were several instances where school children were violent and even assaulted teachers. One must have protections, but also positive discipline for schools to be able to function properly.
A society is a family and there is a conflict that has to be resolved. Gender stereotypes, and the sidelining of women and children has to stop, otherwise this conflict can never be resolved. Such incidents happen and will keep on happening till there is inequality, stated one of the students from Darbhanga House.
Summing up the discussion, Professor Shanker Dutt stated that presence of violence is injurious, whether it is it violence in language, violence in institutions or political violence. It is time for us as citizens to take a stand, and help one another to stem the systemic violence that is threatening our future.