Bullying has become of prime concern, since it shapes the psyche of children. A study estimates that everyday, 160,000 students stay home to avoid their bullies. There have been severe cases that have been reported from all over India. The case of Aman Kachroo, a medical student who was beaten to death, brought the mobilisation towards the fight against bullying in India. Despite the public awareness through news, bullying is still a hard hitting reality to many students who are traumatised on a daily basis.
Bullying, according to Wikipedia, is defined as “the use of force, coercion, or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate.” Bullying is a repeated pattern of behaviour that creates a toxic environment for the bully and the bullied. It is accompanied by a constant need to assert a certain superiority over the other person. It is a way of feeling powerful and this power structure is often established through severe violence.
Interestingly, the etymology of the word “bullying” means “sweetheart” and it is the Dutch of ‘boel’ which means “brother.” Until the 17th century, the word ‘bully’ was not used in a negative context. Only after the mid 17th century did the word lose its original meaning and was used as the “protector of a prostitute” and “harasser of the weak.”
A study estimates that everyday, 160,000 students stay home to avoid their bullies. There have been severe cases that have been reported from all over India.
It is stated that bullying could be categorised into two kinds—individual and collective. Individual bullying could further be classified into four types—physical, verbal, cyber bullying and relational. Collective bullying could also be understood as mobbing.
Many research studies have found that bullying comes with a history of abusive childhood and lack of attention or validation. To compensate for the trauma that a person had faced or faces in his or her own personal life, they try to assert a sense of power through making “the other” feel inferior to them. ‘Othering’ is a very important way that bullies employ in order to harass people. They create their identity through the process of erasure of the other’s identity. That is, the bullied person’s identity as a person who is compromised and shifted to something that is derogatory and through this process, the bully creates his or her identity of being “strong,” “stud” and so on.
India is a patriarchal country where power-relations have always managed to dominate our individualities. It is important to note that popular culture is a significant way through which bullying has been romanticised. Women, especially are being constantly harassed, abused and threatened because Bollywood portrays that it is okay to eve-tease, harass and mark one’s territory over women. Popular media has ingrained a sense of entitled vision in the minds of people which has resulted in grave consequences for women. Incidents such as acid attacks and rape are ways through which women are subjected to violence. This helps their abusers gain autonomy over their victim.
This is a severe case to understand bullying in India. This does not limit itself to women. There have been severe complaints and cases registered against the harassment of people from other genders. Especially in schools, children find it imperative to prove their masculinity by marginalising their fellow classmates and inflicting violence upon them through ‘name calling’, physical violence and so on.
Apart from their individual lives, children get hugely influenced through the popular figures they come in contact with every day. Television facilitates the formation of ideas and influences what sense children make of the world around them. Films that portray bullying a woman and then turn their scripts into romantic stories, set standards in their minds regarding the matter of masculinity and love. Consent hence, is never learnt and individuality is never respected.
Also read: Dear Teachers, I Refuse To Be Your Standard ‘Good Girl’ | #ChalkfullBullying
Taking into account the increasing violence committed through various forms of bullying, laws permit to book the bully under various sections of Indian Penal Code. On college level, there are strict anti-ragging forms that are signed by the students. If one does not abide by it, he or she would be penalised or suspended, according to the rules of the institution that they belong to.
To compensate for the trauma that a person had faced or faces in his or her own personal life, they try to assert a sense of power through making “the other” feel inferior to them. ‘Othering’ is a very important way that bullies employ in order to harass people.
Bullying becomes a part of one’s life at a very young age. Hence, it is important to pay keen attention to changes that surfaces in kids around us. As teachers or parents, we must make it a point to find out how the kid is doing at school and whether he or she is comfortable with friends. Adults, because of their working schedule, lack the openness of commutation with their children. In the age of toxic bullying culture that is normalised in various films, it becomes our responsibility to inculcate a happy and healthy surrounding for us and the kids.
Also read: #ChalkfullBullying Campaign: Our Insight Into Gender-Based Bullying In Schools
If you find yourself being a bully or your kid bullying somebody else, take time to read the given infographic and understand that childhood plays a very important role in one’s growth as a person. It is harmful for yourself and your kid to grow up into people who harbour negativity. The only way to create a better environment and build a society that could save us, even from ourselves, is by taking little steps everyday to learn and unlearn. So, let us all begin today. Now!
Featured Image Source: The Live Love Laugh Foundation