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To cane or not to cane

Recalling horror stories of their own, Bollywood stars want caning banned in schools.

entertainment Updated: Jun 22, 2010 01:54 IST

The recent suicide of Rouvanjit Rawla, a Class VIII student of La Martiniere for Boys, Kolkata, allegedly after being caned in school, has brought the spotlight back on the pratice of corporal punishment rampant in convents. After actor Amitabh Bachchan blogged about caning being “a regular feature” in Sherwood College, Nainital, where he studied, other Bollywood stars have also come forward to reveal their ‘caning’ experiences.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap who went to Scindia School in Gwalior says, “We used to get caned often. Some frustrated teachers used to get pleasure out of caning.” Filmmaker Apoorva Lakhia who went to Lawrence School, Sanawar says, “Some teachers caned students but those times were different, people weren’t so aware of abuse.”

The film fraternity, however, says it is time for change. Actress Pooja Bedi, an alumnus of Lawrence School, Sanawar says, “Caning happened quite often… it used to be like a grand finale of punishment. I am against physical punishment. How can violence discipline a student? I’d be upset if a teacher caned my son.”

Filmmaker Goldie Behl says, “corporal punishment at my school, Mayo College, Ajmer was mild as compared to my earlier alma mater, Bombay Scottish. Students were caned, hit with rulers and even chains. I remember once I came home with swollen feet... I was disturbed for months. Caning severely affects the child’s mentality.”

Experts agree that corporal punishment hampers a child’s mental well being. Clinical psychologist Dr Aruna Broota, says, “Punishment should be task-oriented. Corporal punishment damages the self respect and positivity in a child, leaving him insecure and rebellious. And this is more in the case of kids who study in hostels. In extreme cases, they even develop criminal tendencies and severe depression. They want to hit back and be more powerful than those who hit.”