In my school days, we had a Hindi lesson about a very good and pious man called Baba Bharathi, who possesses a beautiful horse. A notorious dacoit Khadak Singh (if I remember right) desires the horse. So he poses as a beggar in distress, and when Baba Bharathi goes to help him, he seizes the horse. Baba Bharathi stops him, not to recover the horse, but to tell the dacoit not to reveal this incident to anyone, because then no one will ever trust a person in need and help him out. His words affect Khadak Singh to such an extent that in the dead of the night, he returns the horse, much to Baba Bharathi’s surprise and delight.
I remember this story now because in one stroke, Mustafa the rapist has destroyed the trust parents repose in the school their wards go to. Now everyone is suspect, school staff are viewed with a jaundiced eye, and parents can never rest easy.
Not that these things never happened before. How many reports have we read of abuses in government schools? But we haven’t bothered because it didn’t affect our world directly. Now that this has happened in a school that one of our own kids could possibly go to, we are hit in the stomach. The invaluable bond of trust between teachers and parents has been breached.
For all the teachers out there who are striving tirelessly, this comes as an added blow. Not only are they busting their chops to do the rather thankless job of educating the children, but now they have to deal with the entire burden of suspicion. Being a teacher is not easy at all, and my sympathies are with the teachers who try so hard to do a good job.
This incident has made everything so much worse in terms of trust. We learn not to trust anyone, and we teach our kids not to trust anyone either. This does not bode well for the future, where trust becomes a low-value commodity.
What we can hope for is:
a) better CSA education by both parents and the school
b) more stringent checks on staff backgrounds
c) more random checks at school to lower the probability of this happening
d) more accountability from schools for the safety of the children
e) and most importantly, swift justice and stiff penalties for such abusers
As I was remarking to a friend before all this happened, I am so tired of protecting my child from all that is horrible in this world. Sometimes, it feels almost a waste of time to focus on the positives.
But then, that’s all we can do, the best we can do, and what we simply must do, in order to survive, right? Sigh. Some days, existence itself seems rather futile.