There was an undocumented moral code of conduct in the school where I studied till 12th standard since nursery. If there were any preamble attached to the code, then it undoubtedly runs like this– Whereas it is expedient to police the girls from seducing the boys so that they don’t “get distracted”.
A code of moral conduct is made into force inside the four walls of the school. In pursuant to this, there were cases in which unmindful raids were made into girls’ school bags. So that, the school authority could see if there were not any prohibited items like a scarf which in chilly summer, the girls were using as protective wear against sunlight. The authority of the school found the scarf against moral standards.
It seemed that the deep patriarchal authority found the scarf which was helping the girls to escape from their moral surveillance. You could say the ‘Big Boss’ was always watching us.
One day, the justification given by them was too unreasonable. They justified it by saying that even celebrated actresses across India were never found to have put a scarf over their face and despite that they were beautiful. The basic idea of choice was obliterated from the mind of the girls. Every human being is born with the basic right of choice.
Even religious texts acknowledge the choice of human beings. The moral code was found to have been misused by them in terms of invading a girl’s privacy which was an attempt too to diminish their dignity. The implementation of the code was in another way increasing the gap between the girls and boys. A sense of togetherness was being erased from them.
The dehumanization of the girls begins from the teenage when they were just used for image building of the school which would attract many other girls to study there. But the situation was quite different in that they could not open their mouth to speak inside the class to clear their doubt.
The girls could not explore their body to realise that their body is not an object of choice of authority but the body could be the site of protest. The body could be the site through which they can uproot the patriarchal moral code of conduct. The girls were not allowed to colour their hair and grow them as long as they want. The long hair could have symbolized their choice. Their self-realization could have opened the door to realise their limitless potential.
But, unfortunately, as always, the girls were made to act upon the will of the authority.
I am worried about many more students who will be coming to this school to study in hope that this school will help them to change their lives in positive ways. No school whose foundation is laid on unreasonable, archaic and theocratic code of conduct, can educate their students.