Are you part of the solution or the problem?

It’s been weeks of anger and outrage and shock over little Pradyuman’s murder. And now it seems a 16-year-old student of the same school murdered him, just to avoid taking an exam. I hear the anger rise, the hysteria around this 16-year-old who is so desensitized. Questions about his upbringing.
I might have been part of that if it weren’t for a conversation I had with Kavita Krishnan after Jyoti Singh’s rape, when everyone was demanding that the juvenile be tried with the adults for what was certainly a very adult crime. I paraphrase her response to me – ‘When our children are brutal, it is time to turn the eye inwards and ask ourselves what we’re doing, as a society, to brutalise our kids.’ So this isn’t something we can shrug off as that boy’s parents’ problem. This is our problem. I am not exaggerating when I admit that I changed my mind on the entire issue in that one minute.
Years ago when the Brat was a baby I’d spend hours teaching him not to hit. This was in the face of much derision. So many friends who we thought knew better, telling us that raising a male child in the NCR and teaching him not to hit, was idiotic. And perhaps to a large extent it wasn’t just nurture, but also nature, because he got bullied regularly and once in frustration I told him to hit back and he said – ‘Mama, whether you hit first or second, violence is violence.’
It starts with, bachcha hai, moves on to – boys will be boys, and one morning you find you’re seeing a counselor for anger management and rage issues because the school complained.
The problem is, each time we teach a child to hit back (because you need to know how to defend yourself – against whom?) we’re only adding to the violence problem. Every day it is a choice – are you raising your child to be part of the solution or part of the problem?

3 thoughts on “Are you part of the solution or the problem?

  1. Missed you a lot, identifying with someone is so rare in some areas, I have come to find. When I talk to my boys explaining to them in detail, why something they do is not right, I have family and friends who said ‘They are just kids, stop lecturing them’. I am who I am because of my upbringing and will not compromise on principles. I am going to make a story around Brat’s gyan in tonight’s story time and he will be the hero. Please do write more. I also wish you opened your old posts on parenting so I can ask my friends to read.

  2. Why don’t you write any more? You and IHM were my two regular reads in the Indian feminist blogosphere. And ever since both of you stopped writing, this blogosphere has lost its main bloggers of immeasurable value. 😦

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