Corporal Punishment

The child is father of an adult. The child is an abridged adult with rights which cannot be abridged. The Child is a person for all practical purposes. The child observes, thinks and imitates or reacts to happenings around. The child is a person. Either at home or school, the child is subjected to disciplinary practices while, child should be part of those processes. If the indiscipline of the child could be complained, ascertained and responded to, where is the way to find and establish the indiscipline of the adults. Every adult feels that he is having every right to discipline the child. Do they have?

The discipline is not taught, it is learnt. The text books give information. The communication through teaching is imparting education. To attain wisdom, an abundant amount of common sense has to be added to education, which then includes discipline. Discipline is an attitude, character, responsibility or commitment. The discipline is basically internal, while the attempt to impose it would be an external process. One has to internalize the process of education and discipline. Discipline and education go together in letter and spirit.

The Child’s education is mostly from observation and imitation. Their participation depends upon their developing capacity, which again depends upon the surroundings and family.

Information is a prelude of participation. If child does not have sufficient information he cannot effectively participate. Such a participation should be meaningful. One has to talk in terms of chances rather than rights as the child does not and cannot know how to participate. Without participation the discipline within him will not develop. Right to drive, he may have. But a chance to drive, he may not get. It may be like giving a discourse in driving without putting him in driver’s seat.

How to teach cycling? Will you give him text book on cycling or explain the parts and technique of the machine, importance or greasing or oiling, or give a lecture on speed or slow cycling, diligence or negligence on road? Will you leave him with a cycle? Or follow him closely till he learns it? He has a right to cycle. He must have a chance to cycle.

Firstly the child must have a chance to know, what, why and how.
Secondly, a chance to think over
Thirdly, a chance to express, explain and ventilate the views or grievances.
Fourthly, a chance to alter the perceptions around, either at home or school.
Finally, a chance to know the response.

For Example: Parents or teachers lie before children. A father wants his son to tell the caller by phone that he was not at home. You are teaching him that one should lie and also when and how and for what. It may be inevitable for you to tell a lie. Then explain the son why is opting to lie, why he should not lie otherwise etc. First do not allow him to handle your situation. He should be allowed to handle his own situations. The discipline starts with either lying or not. The necessary communication with child equips him with ability to participate. The character is communication. The best character is the best communication. The company builds and reflect the character.

There are three benefits of communication.
1. Message reaches successfully.
2. Receiver knows and develops to receive the communication.
3. Receivers also learns how to communicate.

Generally a negative experience and adverse conditions prevailing around will seriously influence a child and may make him similar person with similar character. But at the same time it may result in making child a positive person or a person with character diametrically opposite to what he has seen.
Dhruv emerges an unbiased king, after he becomes victim of bias of his father and step mother. Prahlad learns to be democrat from dictatorial attitude of father Hiranya Kaship. These incidents prove that discipline and education are participative learning processes.

The Supreme Court in National Anthem school declined to impose any penalty on two students belonging to Jehowa Witnesses, who did not participate in singing national anthem as their religious tenet did not permit any singing except songs in praise of God. The case stands as an example that not joining the voice in singing national anthem itself is not an act of indiscipline or unpatriotic attitude and invites no punishment.

I. Discipline in School and Corporal Punishment:

The time has come to re-examine the saying ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. Children are at receiving end both at their own homes and schools from parents, teachers and non-teaching school authorities. Almost all schools inflict corporal punishments on students for various reasons. Kodandam was one such practice in vogue a generation ago. Kodandam means hanging errant boys upside down and thrashing. This was a savage punishment meted to errant schoolboys. In another version, they were hung upside down over red chillies, which were lit. The boys suffered, both from the beating and the pungent smell of the burning chillies- says V. Gangadhar, in his column ‘slice of life’ . Most of the teachers use cane or foot ruler. Head master himself wielded the cane in the general assembly. Slaps, pulling ear lobes by sharp nails, Mottikay (kuttu in Tamil) on the head where the clenched fist of the teach was brought down with considerable force, Gichchadam (killu in Tamil which means pinch) were some old generation methods of corporal punishment. A heavy log used to be chained to the leg of errant student. The punishment would extend for one week also, during which he has to drag it to and from school. Now the method of inflicting pain is changed but corporal punishment as a conceptual method of imposing discipline continues.

The corporal punishment is a regular affair in thousands of schools everywhere. Children not only carry overload of text books and note books on their tender backs, but bear the brunt of canes for silly reasons like sox not matching the shoe or lace not being property knotted. The parents dare the sun-shine in the noon to offer lunch box to their kids, outside the gates of the convent schools, who do not allow them inside. They ask them to stand or ‘kneel down’ under hot sun. Sometimes students will be asked to complete the assigned writing work in kneel down position. Kneeling down on the earth is painful. A physical instructor who also happen to be a karate belt holder, uses his hard hand to severely injure the kid who do not follow the instructions. While playing or practicing drill with physical instructors, the punishments will be harsh and unbearable.

A boy receives slap from girl for not doing homework or not answering a query, or a girl from the boy. A school invented another imaginative method of getting the boy beaten up by girl studying in lower class. Another teacher takes the wrongdoing child along with him or her to each class of different year as per schedule to further inflict insult. While a schoolteacher prevents a girl from eating from her lunch box, the other does not allow the kid to attend the classes. These are special treatments.

II. Kinds of Punishments In Schools

There are three types of corporal punishments in schools.

Physical Punishments:
1. Making the children stand as a wall chair (Goda Kurchee in Telugu),
2. Keeping the school bags on their heads,
3. Making them stand for the whole day in the sun,
4. Make the children kneel down and do the work and then enter the class room
5. Making them stand on the bench,
6. Making them raise hands,
7. Hold a pencil in their mouth and stand,
8. Holding their ears with hands passed under the legs,
9. Tying of the children’s hands,
10. Making them to do sit-ups (Gunjeelu),
11. Caning and pinching and
12. Twisting the ears (Chevulu pindadam)

Emotional Punishments:
1. Slapping by the opposite sex
2. Scolding abusing and humiliating
3. Label the child according to his or her misbehaviour and sent him or her around the school
4. Make them stand on the back of the class and to complete the work.
5. Suspending them for a couple of days
6. Pinning paper on their back and labeling them “I am a fool”, “I am a donkey” etc.
7. Teacher takes the child to every class she goes and humiliates the child.
8. Removing the shirts of the boys.

Negative Reinforcement
1. Detention during the break and lunch.
2. Locking them in a dark room
3. Call for parents or asking the children to bring explanatory letters from the parents
4. Sending them home or keeping the children outside the gate
5. Making the children sit on the floor on the classroom.
6. Making the child clean the premises.
7. Making the child run around the building or in the playground.
8. Sending the children to principals.
9. Making them to teach in the class.
10. Making them to stand till the teacher comes.
11. Giving oral warnings and letters in the diary or calendar
12. Threatening to give TC for the child.
13. Asking them to miss games or other activities
14. Deducting marks.
15. Treating the three late comings equal to one absent.
16. Giving excessive imposition.
17. Make the children pay fines.
18. Not allowing them into the class.
19. Sitting on the floor for one period, day, week and month.
20. Placing black marks on their disciplinary charts.

Normal range of punishments, which continue unabated, are caning, beating knuckles with stick or steel scale, kneeling down, standing on the bench and so on. Wall chairs (sitting as if on the chair without any one against the wall for half-an-hour to one hour), wall chairs plus a school bag on the head or thighs which cause more physical pain, running ten to twenty rounds around the school building or in the ground and sit-ups numbering hundreds are other range of punishments. Writing impositions for more than fifty times within a short time, which is physically not possible to complete, is a new type of punishment. If an English medium students talks in Telugu, he or she will be made to write, “I do not speak in Telugu” for fifty to hundred times, a mental punishment too.

Aishwarya Says:

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