Bullying: A part of growing up in India?

Picture this: you are sitting back in your classroom of 7th grade. A boy surrounded by a bunch of other people getting “playfully” hit and being called names. Surely everyone has a vivid image of the described scene for the sole reason that we have all seen a similar incident in our schools. So why does not one person stand up and do anything? Why do we all stay silent and let this behaviour prevail? Why do we let them off, the ones who bully? Why are we so okay with it? The only plausible reason for this might be our idea of bullying being an integral part of growing up and continued till death.

Bullying is the ugly picture that is painted by people who often project the colours of their self – hate on to other people. The halls filled with children suffering from extreme social anxiety and low self – esteem as a result of being constantly looked down upon is not the life that any country wants it’s youth to live. And yet somehow 42% of Indian youth considers it a “normal” culture. They all manage to be bullied on some levels in their lives in different instances. Bullying can cause a number of problems, although the list being endless, leading to and often resulting in people ending their lives, most of the victims being children.

Several types of bullying can be listed on various platforms. Sad to see such a deprecating form of activity so wildly spread everywhere, however it exists. The first and foremost type of bullying is the physical kind. Although stricter actions are being taken against people inflicting physical pain on others however some parts of India still battle the deep rooted problem. It is the most common type of bullying that is reported. Often seen amongst young boys who often hit each other for “fun” and on complaints are told to “man up” or “toughen up”. This discourages people to complaint against their abusers. Any kind of repetitive, aggression oppression, torment or physical harassment comes under this kind of bullying. Statistics show 70% of the people who face bullying suffer from physical bullying and are boys.It can produce both short term and long term problems both mentally and physically.

Verbal bullying is the most common type of bullying experienced by people but not usually reported. And even on being reported is taken the least action on. Verbal bullying or harassment include name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. Although it starts as a harmless and fun activity in the name of friendship, it may escalate to devastating results which often prove to be fatal to people, mentally.

Every teenagers life revolves around having a good social presence, be it offline or online, in recent times. Most of them might not know basic travelling across public routes in the city but they all know the recent trends that get you popular and quickly. It is a pretty commendable quality to have however it also brings in with it a great deal of anxiety. Social bullying is a part and parcel of this  “hobby” that people host. Social bullying can be defined as any act online or offline that destroys the social image of anyone; mimicking; spreading of rumours; encouraging people to exclude someone from everything pertaining to social functioning. Social acceptance plays a huge role in boosting a child’s morale and hence this causes adverse effect to their minds, especially if they are adolescent children. Often this type of bullying goes unnoticed as it is carried out behind people’s backs.

Every thing in use has a bright and dark side. The same goes for the screens that we use. Cyberbullying is probably the most virulent form of bullying. A study shows at least 37% of Indian parents said that their kids faced some sort of cyberbullying and 14% said that the bullying occurred on a daily basis. Why is it so ruinous, you ask? It is fatal to the minds of people if they feel alone in a crowded room and that exactly what cyberbullying does to you. It cripples you mentally into believing no one likes you. The bully has access to you 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and every second of every hour. It gives them extreme power to have a protective screen in front of them that let’s them do whatever they want without consequences to themselves, making them feel invincible. The biggest problem with cyberbullying is it’s pervasive nature. It is such vast of an ocean that it is extremely difficult to locate the bully. This often makes the victim lose all hope against the bully and hence no complaint is filed against them.

Bullying is a branch on the tree that we call “Indian culture”. Even though it takes a number of lives of young children across the country every year and is very well in front of us, why does everyone turn a blind eye to it? The only understandable answer to this million dollar question is that we are all so used to this unjust behaviour that we lose our ability to question the logics behind these happenings, unlike the many other things that prevail in this culture like religious practices, government passed laws and regulations and the list goes on. We have all been told by elders that “the others we’re just being kids” or “we need to learn to have fun” when we complaint about getting bullied. Fat shamming a young kid or slut shamming an adolescent girl is all the more okay but not a period stain or a bra strap in this society. People need to realise that having a healthy mental space is the most important part of growing up. If not, children often grow up with problems, not to mention that also can, i extreme cases, give rise to psychopaths. It also makes the coming life of the victim very difficult as they live on with those insecurities while the bullies lead a happier life, indifferent to the problems they caused to someone else.

Bullying also has the ability to work as a chain reaction. It creates more bullies just like fungi multiplying. We often see a bully egging his or her friends into bullying their favourite victim just for fun and they end up enjoying it in most cases too. Apparently there is no other way better to make yourself feel better than putting others down when we grow up, right? Although there are a few who dislike bullying under peer pressure but that number is miniscule. It also makes people believe that growing up with getting bullying is the way to grow up and they lead on lives passing that on to the coming generation. 

Bullying, although spoken about mostly in terms of children, is not just faced by one age group of the society spectrum, true that children are the ones who face bullying more than everyone and are effected the most but grown ups face bullying too. People who move regions for jobs face regional bullying. People at offices are also bullied by seniors, in the prospect of increment or job advancement, by being made to work under gruesome conditions and extreme time crunches.

Thankfully the government passed certain laws and acts for anti bullying in Indian schools and colleges. These include UGC regulations in colleges to curb ragging. It is written for freshers specifically as they are often targetted in colleges upon entry. Numerous sections from 294 to 506 are written for anti ragging in general workplaces and school too. Section 323 to 326 are written for punishment for people who resort to physical violence while bullying. Section 304, 306 and 307 take care of cases that result in the death of the victim. Schools are told to form committees to regulate security to avoid ragging and bullying in any form possible. Cyber security tries to safe guard the privacy of people online and stays more alert in this growing age of technology. Certain cyber laws have also been put into regulation which take into account catfishing, revenge porn and posting without consent.

Although steps are being taken, this root of evil cannot be taken out until we change out mentality towards the kind of upbringing we give to our children. We should all learn to fight back and support each other as a healthy mind paves a way to a nicer and better functioning human being.

This Article is written By : Vidhi Tiwari

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