Social Boycott of a 10 year old

Young minds are very malleable. Very impressionable. This blog is based on a true incident that happened ages ago. At a time when I was very young- age 10 to be precise. The formative years which are so important in our lives. This blog is about one student in school who was sinned against for no apparent reason.

School days for every one of evoke great memories. It builds in us a nostalgic feeling. A feeling which only someone who has experienced it will be able to understand. A feeling that is different for every individual. I have great memories of my days in school. But I am sure the same is not applicable for atleast one student in our school. Let me call him Raj.

Raj was two years senior to me in school. I met him when I joined the school in the 5th standard. Right from the day I joined, I knew that there was something different about Raj. He was silent, low profile, never interacted with others and never seemed to play or have fun while others where having a rollicking time. After the inductions and when interactions with seniors started happening, I understood why Raj was so different from us.

Newcomers were told to keep away from Raj and not to talk to him. What would a bunch of ten year olds do in such a situation? Follow the pack and not be left out of the action in school. Soon, I also became part of the guilty lot. Forget being mature at that age, forget the ability to reason and forget thinking of one’s own conscience- truth is I became one of “them” and helped in furthering the ostracism of Raj. This social boycott continued for 4 years(Till he left school after completing Class X).

Something made me recollect the incident and made me think- why did it happen? Who was the real culprit behind it? Why didn’t any of the teachers try to change the situation? And most importantly what went through Raj’s mind and how did he go through the hell alone? How would it have affected his psyche? Questions that seething inside me. Questions someone has to answer.

In spite of sleeping over the issue, I still haven’t been able to figure out why it happened. I have no clue as to why 139 students could boycott and treat a school mate of theirs with such vengeance. But I feel now that the inaction of the teachers abetted the whole issue. Not that the teachers where not aware on what was happening- they knew it and chose to turn a blind eye on the issue.

How does it feel to be boycotted? Sometimes, we all get this distinct feel on not being wanted in a group. You feel like a stranger in the midst of your own colleagues or a in a peer group. Now transpose this to someone who had to go through this day in and out for 4 long years- and remember, the school was strictly ‘residential only’. To be a social outcast in a bunch of 140 schoolmates is the ultimate torture that a young, impressionable mind will ever have to go through. I feel that being jailed for 4 years would be a better bet than being in the position Raj was in.

I am sure that I wouldn’t have survived there in such a situation. Had I been Raj, I might have taken a transfer to another school- maybe I would have been too young to think of a suicide. Or was it that he had no other option? In terms of changing schools? Was there a compulsion that forced him to endure the pain and the not so friendly looks we all gave him? What great compulsion could he have had that he couldn’t talk to his parents and do something? I will never know.

One thing im sure is that Raj would now be a man of steel- tempered by a mass boycott and tempered by sheer willpower to survive.

Hats off is a very soft way of telling him that he is a winner- I don’t have words to express it. But, I still carry sufficient guilt that makes me tell him “Im sorry for being a coward and for having flown with the tide”

PS: I’ve done a research on Google and found that he has authored a book!


Anonymous said…
My daughter was initially boycotted by her girl classmates upon entering a new private school.She is ultra smart and a little bit of an intellectual snob so she needed coaching. I hope it gets better for her.It seems to be.

Thanks for having the courage to talk about it and yes, if I were the parents, I'd ask the teachers during parent teacher conferences how the child is doing not only intellectually but developmentally as well.I'd talk to the teachers and guidance counselor and monitor the situation closely.
Scrawler said…
i had bitter experiences in my school was a sort of Tunnel for me!! my inability to reach perfection in drawing maps,diagrams were used as a pointer by the teachers for making scathing comments..i was weak in maths too...can you imagine..the kinda situation i had gone through?unfortunately the teachers could never identify my penchant for current affairs,social sciences and arts!!i was quite sure that i can do better than my topper classmates!but i never got the opportunity..i was demoted in 9th class.

later i did college education in name appeared in the top 10 list for university examinations...i represented college cricket team in inter collegiete matches...resumed my music..i received university merit scholarship for Bcom.

For Mcom i joined Chittur college...i was elected to college Union..everyone choired me as one the outstanding student..the college has ever witnessed!

i hate indian education system!!it makes the children ignorant.infact i've written 2 articles on that..waiting for to get it published.

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