Last week, one of my aunts in my neighborhood (mother to a nine-year-old kid), told my mom that her son was being bullied by some of his classmates regularly at his new school, because he is shy and has little or no interest in sports, which according to his classmates is ‘girlish’ behaviour.
They used to call him names and even beat him sometimes,when he opposed it. His mother was not able to detect what her child was going through, as he never complained,not to his teacher nor his parents in fear of any negative outcome. As his mother told he started getting poor grades in test, which was unusual because he was quite good in studies at his previous school ,but now he would stay most of the time in his room after coming back from school and even on holidays.
It was only until one day, she noticed bruises on his hands and legs when he came home after school. When she asked him about it, he didn’t said anything but started crying, she calmed him down and asked him to tell her everything without fear.Then he told her everything that was happening with him at his new school. My mom advised her not to take the matter lightly,but to complain about it to his class teacher. The school administration was responsible enough after they got to know about it and strict actions were taken against the bullies along with a written notice to their parents.
Although the issue of bullying is not taken seriously, and often ignored in India due to lack of awareness regarding its toxic effect on an individual’s emotional and psychological health, it doesn’t mean educational institutes in India are free of it. Bullying refers to intentional hurtful or discriminatory behavior of a person/group towards an individual, which is repeated over time. Most of the time the bullies are a group of students with a similar behaviour who discriminate or hurt others who are different in either caste, sex, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity,medical conditions and disability or physical appearances etc. Bullying can take several forms like verbal, physical,emotional,sexual and even cyber with increase of internet usage.
In colleges/universities, bullying takes form of ragging which often leads to tragic consequences. Nowadays,we have anti-ragging laws at major colleges/universities,but they are often not exercised at every level, because most of time,the victims don’t complain about it, due to lack of trust with the responsible authority. At the same time,many colleges even don’t have adequate laws and responsible administrative council to act against bullying. The same applies to a large number of schools in India,where many times no proper attention is given to students being bullied by others,even when they complain to the teachers about it. This attitude towards bullying at educational institutes in India has only increased the problem.
Parents in India are mostly unaware about the detrimental effect of bullying on a child’s emotional and psychological health,which often leaves long lasting scars on their mind and affects their personality negatively. While some parents consider that their child would be able to deal with it him/herself,many even think it as part of growing years and don’t give proper attention even when their kids show unusual behavior and symptoms. Any change like feeling of isolation and loneliness,anxiety,low self-esteem,sudden poor performance in studies and depression among students shouldn’t be taken lightly. In absence of proper attention and care,it can further lead to suicidal thoughts as well. Thus, it’s the responsibility of every parent to talk to their children about their life in school/colleges at regular intervals.
When we look at the possible reason as to why a child/person turns into a bully, we come across various factors like violent and stressful environment at home, lack of monitoring regarding violent and aggressive behavior of kids by parents, lack of social values and tolerant attitude, bad company or role models,lack of support or even being bullied by someone at home can often lead to a negative impact on a child/person’s mindset and behaviour.
On the other hand, a person who is the victim of bullying can suffer all their life, due to the detrimental effect of bullying on mental or even physical health. Someone who has been bullied in childhood suffers with low self-esteem,personality and relationship issues or even psychological disorders at the later stages of their lives.
Thus, it’s important that we take the problem of bullying at educational institutes in India more seriously,as it not only affects the growth of an individual but also the society. As for young generations who later become responsible citizens of India,it’s important that they learn to be more accepting and understanding with others. It will not only help to end several forms of discrimination prevalent in India but will also increase the pace of social progress,which is a necessity in present time.
A proper approach is needed regarding it, at all the three levels –
With the rise of nuclear families in India, where the whole responsibility of children comes solely on parents, and children have also become more sensitive – it’s important that parents give due importance to the right way of parenting.
Children mostly learn from the behavior of their parents, thus,it’s necessary that they set good examples before their kids. It’s found even in researches that kids of parents who are accepting, understanding and have good social values, tend to show the same behavior which greatly helps in the proper growth of an individual. Parents should also try their best to create a non-violent and stress-free environment for their children. Good communication between parents and children,greatly increases the trust and understanding between them. Thus, it helps children to open up to their parents and share their thoughts and feelings without any hesitation or fear.
In the end, it’s important for every parent to make their kids realize that it’s good to respect and accept people as they are. Differences and similarities lies in every living beings. Also,parents should support kids to be brave enough to speak up against any form of bullying,not only when they are bullied themselves but even if they see anyone in their schools/colleges being bullied by someone else.
At schools or colleges, it’s important for teachers and the administration, that they give due attention to every student, if they complain about a person or group involved in any form of bullying or ragging,because it can even have tragic consequences on the person being bullied. Immediate and strict actions should be taken against the responsible students or groups. Proper implementation of anti-bullying laws and awareness regarding the toxic and adverse impact of bullying on an individual’s psychological health would greatly help in forming a safe and discrimination free environment at schools and colleges.Which in turn,will help in proper overall growth of students in educational institutes. One of the school in Mumbai took a great step forward against bullying.
Last but not the least, it’s important for every students to know that it’s good to be accepting and understanding towards others be it at school,college or any other place in world. Everyone should be respected as an individual/human and any form of discrimination or bullying related to caste, sex, religion, gender identity and behavior, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity,medical conditions and disability or physical appearances, etc. shouldn’t be tolerated. Anyone who bullies others needs to be stopped as they are not only harming others, but themselves as well. Students shouldn’t fear or hesitate to speak up, and complain if they are bullied at school or college by anyone, because if bullies are left without taking any immediate actions, they would not only harm several others, but also spread a wrong message to others.
It’s time we stand up against bullying and work together on removing this problem completely from education institutes in India. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from, the thing which matters the most is how you help in creating a safe,healthy and discrimination/bullying free environment for the younger generation of India. And if you are a student, and either you or someone else at your school/college is being bullied, be brave and speak about it to your school/college administration immediately.