They say Power Corrupts. I took it to mean that Power leads to corrupt practices like favoritism and bribery and/or misuse of power for selfish practices. But a recent incidence made me realize that apart from the dangers mentioned, power is also intoxicating and like any other addiction Power too blurs the senses and impairs one’s capacity to think logically. Very often one is goaded into over reacting and taking things too far sometimes almost to a point of no return. There have been quite a few incidences like the one I plan to take up. But the same circumstances might have been dealt with in a different manner some 10 years back. Not so now with the kind of exposure children get these days. One has to be extra careful while dealing with adolescents whether parents or teachers. Let me come to the unfortunate incidence that bothers me.
A teenager who is to appear for his 10th board exams was intelligent but over confident. He regularly led any form of protest in school justified or otherwise to the extent of being noticed and singled out by the Head mistress. He was naturally goaded by his peers who supported and prompted his actions. The Head Mistress also bided her time to put him in his place. When the admit cards for the Matriculation exams arrived she refused to give it to him saying that his attendance was a few days short of the required 75% and he could therefore not appear for the exam. She perhaps expected him to apologize and plead to be given his admit card. The next logical step according to her could have been the arrival of his parents to plead his case. I am sure that she would have given him the admit card after a warning. The boy did nothing of the sort. He dared her to stop him from answering the examination and claimed that he would make her deliver the admit card at his residence. It became a prestige issue for the HM who could not bring herself to give in at this stage. The boy approached the District Commissioner and briefed him about the HM’s stand, requested him to do the needful and went home. The DC directed the school to issue the required document saying that since the boy’s form had been verified and forwarded to the Board by the school and his examination fee had also been accepted, he could not be barred from appearing for the examination. The head Mistress had to finally go to his house to give the admit card because the boy refused to come to school to take it. The student community was naturally elated.
My heart goes out to the Head Mistress who should have weighed the pros and cons before deciding to withhold the admit card. As it happens everywhere she might have been advised by a ‘yes ma’am’ group or she might not have foreseen such a reaction from the student. Those in a position of power need to remain cool and assess the repercussions of their action, taking care not to let their power and position get into their heads. However more than what the Head Mistress had to face, I fear the impact the incidence is bound to have on the student community and the boy in question. The boy is not yet 18 years of age and he has already tasted power. What will his future be? Will the learning process be compromised? He could well be an asset to our society but will he let people guide and direct him? There are many more like him. How do we save their future? What should be the role of parents in seeing to it that their wards do not start soaring high even before their wings have acquired the required strength? There is a popular saying - ‘hasty climbers soon to fall’. I often see parents being over protective about their children and cannot accept criticism of their wards from their own parents. There is a danger of skewed mental growth due such an attitude and that is dangerous not only for society but to the children in question who will not strive for improvement.