G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quiet! Apte-sir is armed…….is truly history now

Times of India (Pune) Aug 10, 2007 has a front-page headline: “Spare the rod, teacher, or else”.

It says: “If the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has its way, school officials could now land in jail even for scolding students or calling them "stupid" or "mindless" in class.

Expanding the definition of corporal punishment to cover any form of adverse treatment—from scolding to death—the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has urged parents to be fearless in filing FIRs against schools if children complain of such abuse. On Thursday, the commission directed the chief secretaries of states to ensure that complaints by parents against schools were treated on an immediate basis.

As per the directive issued by NCPCR chief Shanta Sinha, the term corporal punishment would cover "rapping on the knuckles, running on the school ground, kneeling down for hours, standing up for long hours". Beating the child with a scale (ruler), pinching and slapping, sexual abuse, torture, locking up children alone in classrooms, electric shocks and acts leading to insult, humiliation, physical and mental injury, and even death also count as corporal punishment, she said.

Under the new directives, even written impositions are a no-no. "Even calling a child an idiot or stupid or mindless, or asking him or her to write sentences condemning their mistakes in class or slapping a child are a severe insult and humiliation for the child," Sinha told TOI. "These acts are also corporal punishment and constitute a breach of human rights. So, we want to empower parents to lodge FIRs against school officials if their children have been subjected to such violence. And all state education departments have to ensure that no adverse action is taken against these kids in school for complaining against them."

I think this is a retrograde step. As it is students these days are treated more like ‘customers’ than students. With this step, discipline has little chance of survival on school campuses.

I remember at my school from 1969-76- Miraj High School-some teachers were known more for their ability to discipline students than teaching.

The late Apte-sir, known amongst us ‘Tiger Apte’- was one such. Stories abounded how so and so was beaten black and blue by him I almost never saw him beating any one but I guess no one wanted to verify the stories! But I remember how the late Bhagwat-sir, school superintendent, beat gregarious P D Joshi, our class mate, in 9th standard Sanskrit class. Mr. Bhagwat was trembling with anger. We were more worried about him than P D Joshi, who was a tough cookie. (By the way, PD's father was a teacher in our school. So maybe there was more to this incident than just class discipline!)

There is a January 1783 letter of Gopika-Bai, grand-mother of Peshwa (head of the Maratha Confederacy and the most powerful chieftain, French and British included, in 18th century India) asking the teacher of her 9-year old grand-son not to hesitate punishing the future Peshwa in private.
(Source- ‘Peshvekalin Maharashtra’ by V K Bhave- December 1935)

Artist: Mick Stevens The New Yorker 14 Mar 1994

p.s Our Apte-sir also taught English!