Admitted, we live in a violent world. People get killed in road rage, bar room brawls, over failed love affairs, dowry demands, by drunk drivers and what not. Terrorists cause bomb blasts; spurned lovers throw acid on girlfriends; parents kill children for disobedience, children kill parents for property; and the elderly are found with their throats slit. The media keep reminding us that blood and gore are the merciless reality of our everyday existence.
Every act of violence conjures gory mental images. The images have the potential to create distorted personalities if they stay engraved in individual memory for long. That’s the reason why the society at large is always wary of pictures of violence. If children are asked not watch violent movies and the media avoids displaying graphic images of violent acts, there’s a reason to it. That could be termed escaping the reality but it serves a purpose.
That is what makes the CBSE question, which asks students to report on a bomb blast scene, so unacceptable. It forces students to recreate violent images they should close their eyes to. For those who have first hand experience of bomb blasts, recreating the scene could be traumatic. For those who have been reconstructing the scene with vague second hand information and from television grabs, the exercise could be difficult too.
And how does CBSE award marks for the best report? The more graphic and imaginative the report is, the better it is from the examiner’s point of view. Should students with impressionable minds be made to think up details of charred bodies, mangled limbs, wailing women etc? Certainly not. And where does it stop? Education boards could soon be asking students to write reports on murder and gang war scenes.
It is possible the CBSE was casual about its selection of subject because it believes the new generation were already too much exposed to violence. They love violent video games such as GTA (Grand Theft Auto). The games make guns, shooting and killing part of their play schedule. And bomb blasts are a routine in their lives. It was trying to connect the artificial world of the students with their real world.
The idea is dangerous. Emotions are not as involved in video games as they are in real incidents. Real life experiences have the ability to influence and shape personalities much more than in the play world. People may love vendetta movies but they realise the violence is confined to the screen. They can happily dump whatever they watch once they are outside theatres. But the case is not the same when a person is caught in a cross-fire on the street or a communal riot. These incidents leave scars on the mind which are difficult to erase.
Why taint the innocence of young minds with harsh, unpalatable reality?
The CBSE must know where to draw the line. The students it handles may be intelligent but they are still not good enough to decipher reality as it presents itself in a mature way. Moreover, the question serves no constructive purpose. It does not test the student’s intelligence, it tests his capacity to imagine. If he has to imagine, why not have allow him to have imagination that is positive, inspirational and still linked to the reality around him?
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Updated Date: Mar 02, 2012 22:16:45 IST