As would perhaps be expected in a society so torn apart by violence, cruelty is spreading rapidly to our children — and to the school playground. The horrendous incident reported from a government school near Faisalabad, in which a seventh grader was beaten to death by a class fellow and a teacher, raises bullying to levels rarely seen before. We can only imagine how the parents of the unfortunate child, Muhammad Ahsan, who died so young and essentially for no reason at all, are coping with the grief.
According to the shocking report in this newspaper, young Ahsan had been bullied repeatedly by a class-fellow, who was assisted by his uncle, a physical training instructor at the school. The victim’s father states that Muhammad Rizwan had been jealous of Ahsan — a capable student — and had persuaded his uncle to assist him in what amounted to ceaseless tormenting of Ahsan. This time round, things went too far; the child died as a result of the kicks, punches and blows he received to various parts of the body — many of them allegedly from a strong adult. It seems no one at the school intervened or attempted to stop what was happening.
We have seen deaths occur at other schools, in some cases as a result of physical punishment meted out to small children. This incident illustrates too the dehumanizing of society, and how ordinary people appear to have been driven to an increasingly frenzied state in which empathy and respect for life seems to have vanished. The fact that this tendency is passing on to the next generation is even more frightening. We can only wonder what our future will be as such trends grow. An FIR has been registered but that means very little in the context of the terrible tragedy that has taken place. Even if punishment is meted out, it will not change the fact that a young boy was mercilessly killed, nor will it change the nature of a society where such cruelty has become possible.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2011.
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