Quite recently, to an unpleasant surprise, a post went viral on social media in which a little girl’s hands were enough to move any heart.
The parent said his ordeal in a Facebook post, where he narrated how the school administration has been torturing his only 6 years old daughter for having Mehndi/henna on her hands.
What might sound like a very ordinary practice as per societal and cultural perspectives violated the rules of the school – which particularly doesn’t sound very bizarre? But the way the child was awarded severe, or should we say, ‘disproportionate’ punishment for something so minor is under discussion here.
Now there is no discussion on the fact that every school has its own set regulations to keep the discipline in order. But the sound of a minor kid being punished brutally – and will continually be punished until the color comes off – is very harsh. The little girl not only was announced to isolate from the class but also barred from attending assemblies, changing her behavior which particularly worried the patient.
When a kid is admitted in a school, it is in agreement with certain terms and conditions that the pupil has to abide by. But here what is under discussion is the magnitude of the punishment and how it is lesser considerate about the mental health of someone of as tender age as hers.
Mehndi or henna is an integral part of subcontinent’s culture and a practice having religious importance as well. To begin with, schools having such harsh rules against it, knowing it is a form of expression for women on Eid’s and weddings and it can’t completely come off in 2-3 days is bizarre. However, in case it really offends the system, the punishment should be measured which sends the message but doesn’t affect the children.
It is again an example of how miserably choked the education system in Pakistan is. The aggressive stance on the subject not only reflects the inconsideration but also exposes numerous ways educational institutions affect a kid.
Moreover, we need to see how schools are turning more into control systems and less into factories of knowledge. Such behaviour not only impacts personality in a holistic, long-term fashion but also kills the purpose of learning.
Muhammad Usman Awan is a Blogger and Social Entrepreneur who founded first Anti Harassment Awareness Campaign “Stop Harassment Now”. The Purpose of this campaign is to empower and educate our Girls and Working Women against Harassment.