A Bit Too Frank

Do you know what happened on 9-11-2001?
Me:No

Two planes crashed on the Two towers, America

Me: I see

Do you know what a human bomb is?

(I am startled but I want to continue the conversation)

Me: No, what is it?

It’s when a man tries to touch the feet and then presses a button and blows himself up with a bomb. Thats a human bomb. They did that to Rajiv Gandhi…

Me: Who told you all this, beta?

My teacher.

…Conversation with my seven year old cousin, who happens to be studying in second standard (grade) in school. Is this what they ought to be learning in school, seven year old kids? Do they need to know how a human bomb works, what a human bomb is? Is it required, they know what happened on 9-11, in America? Forget 9-11, do they need to know America? Until they are not told about India, no, they do not need to know about America.

And which school is this? Frank Anthony, Bangalore. A wee bit too ‘frank’, dont you think?

10 thoughts on “A Bit Too Frank

  1. Do they need to know 9/11, America? More than they do need to know all that which happens here.
    An American I was talking to recently told me the only thing they were taught about Hinduism is the caste system and the evils of it. hmm

  2. Poor little 7yr old! he should never have heard about those things…
    Agree with you on the fact that they should know about their home country before they know about the US :)

  3. yeah agreed 9/11 was terrible. But there are worse things that have happened in History , Indian History as well and we don’t really need to urgently tell kids oh you know what happened on sep 11 2001. How much of what ACTUALLY happened in Gujrat will probably never reach text books? I mentioned the conversation with the American coz it’s like one small part of Hinduism is taught and obviously the stereotype of Hinduism as an unfair rel is probably embedded in the student’s mind. yeah i know the caste system and everything about it from untouchability to reservations is terrible but hinduism is a larger philosophy and not just about the cs!
    sheesh long comment but ya thats what i was trying to say

  4. [Y?] I do not think that what happened in Gujrat is something that a seven year old should know. I do not think violence is something a 7 year old should study about when s/he goes to school.

    Another point that I wish to make here is that how much America has entered our lives. So much that today a kid who does not know the capital of India can rightly point to America in a map. That, to me, is disturbing. More disturbing is the fact that the parents of these kids actually encourage this.

    You rightly pointed out that they need to know what happened here, in their own country. But there should be a right maturity level reached before the kid is exposed to it. In fact, come to think of it, I do not think it should be a part of the curriculum at all. Schools could have a ‘parallel study resource’ and time devoted to it. Give them the resources of information and let them dig in it. Let them form their own opinions, let them read the newspapers etc. I dont know, just in my mind and I may be wrong. I havent dwelled on something like this before, to tell you the truth.

    Feel free to write up, dont worry about long comments.

  5. I’ll reserve comment on the know-your-own-country-first aspect for a later discussion(although I agree with you for the most part). What about letting kids know about the evils in the world? I think it’s dicey. In some ways, we have been doing it for ages though, haven’t we? ” Don’t talk to strangers”, “Don’t touch unidentified things”, etc. So, at least when I was growing up, I was given a fair idea that the world was a big bad place and one needed to be careful. The only thing your cousin’s shool is doing differently is delineating the nature of the dangers out there, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I’d think in the examples pointed out, it would be akin to saying, “Don’t talk to strangers ’cause they may be paedophiles or kidnappers”, or “Don’t touch unidentified objects ’cause they may be bombs”. Anyway, kids are curious and they glean such information anyway. I remember hearing about some bomb explosions in some local train in Diwali when I was as young as 8 or 9. Not that different. Now here’s the important part; I was brought up in the Shivaji Park area, where often times, I’ve seen even seemingly rational people fall prey to communalism. I was literally told that it was the Muslims who did it. At least the school disseminates information responsibly. I was lucky enough to value independent thought and question the beliefs of those around me. Everyone might not be that lucky, and really do need a responsible voice giving them information and ideas at that early age

    I apologize for the long comment, but this whole thing is pretty close to my heart

  6. Adi, Agreed with you on how Indian kids should be taught India first and then rest of the world. India is pretty open and any school going kid will absorb whats happening in the rest of the world by word of mouth/reading/watching TV. And explaining 7 year old kis, what a human bomb is pathetic. They should be teaching ‘what it is to be human’, rather than how humans are destroyed. Not expected out of a teacher of so-called ‘good’ school.

    Saurabh,
    I reckon ” Don’t talk to strangers”, “Don’t touch unidentified things”, etc are more of cautioning children and not ‘teaching’ them ‘how others are destroyed’ or about explosives etc. These words of caution are by caring parents who don’t want the kids getting into trouble and that’s all it is, nothing more, nothing less. Teaching ‘what a human bomb’ isn’t.

  7. Isn’t information about why they are being cautioned as important? There is no such thing as too much information, as long as it is disseminated responsibly. Why is it bad if a 8 year old knows what a human bomb is? Do you really have such a low opinion of the natural proclivity of humans toward the good and the great rather than toward the evil, to seriously believe that just providing information (knowledge, mind you, not opinions or ideas) hurts kids? Just being told to do some things and being expected to follow them blindly doesn’t help the thought process development, so vital at that age, at all. Knowledge, on the other hand empowers kids to appreciate some of the things their parents say. And of course it is incremental, no one is saying here that all knowledge with all its nuances will be grasped by 7 yr old kids. But you’d be surprised at what and how much they can absorb. Anyway, sorry for the rant, but all I’m saying is let knowledge be. It is amoral. Little kids deserve to partake in it as much as any of us do.

  8. Hey Truman,
    Sad that kids learn these things at tender age of seven. They needn’t be told how things can be destroyed at such an early age.
    Hmmm for knowing America before India what can I say! Ever catch [V]I.Q , teenagers don’t even know simple things like father of the nation, national bird, first president, first prime minister of the country etc. I feel ashamed! It’s sad and the only thing we can do is make sure the generations around us dont go the same way!

  9. Not questioning the abilities of a 7 year old child to absorb things, I still think that an age like this is not for learning about bombs.

    And it is not that the school is teaching them about the dangers of touching an unidentified object. The school is teaching them in plain english, what a human bomb is. It is told that touching the feet and blowing himself, is how a human bomber works (giving an example of the fate of our late PM). It is introducing the idea of the human bomb to children.

    The only problem is that the kids are not scared of all of this. They think it is an amusing little thing. That amusement, when witnessed, made me write this post.

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