Thursday, May 30, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Of masters and servants

Update : 06 Feb 2017, 02:02 AM
Regardless of whether or not forming such human bridges was a spontaneous display and a part of an annual custom at some schools, the photographs of powerful men walking on children are rather disturbing, which was perhaps why people have reacted as strongly as they did. Once these photos of sub-district chairmen, UNO or headmasters walking on the backs and shoulders of students became viral, so was the demand for fitting punishment for those men. In the context of Bangladesh’s — and indeed the subcontinent’s — customs of harsh corporal punishment at schools where a few spanks every other day are nothing out of the ordinary, this sort of outcry is also a little intriguing. Classmates are wont to reminisce together about their old teachers, who they realise later in life, were in fact well wishers and genuinely cared for the welfare of their wards. Not so for the walkers. Such spectacles would have been quite acceptable at a circus with acrobats doing the same thing. Such a spectacle would not have been as revolting if it showed a student walking on his or her classmates. Even, it might not have been so revolting if it were a heavyset man testing the bridge and the children boasted the weight that their bridge could withstand.
Also Read- Uproar as AL upazila chairman walks over ‘human-bridge’ of students
That was not the case here though. The sole reason that the people walked on students was probably because they were the chief guests at the occasions by dint of their offices. It was also probably the look of contentment on the faces of these people at being “honoured” in such manner that adds to the disgust. This attempt at displaying physical prowess could not have been more wrongly conceived, for it was certainly not something that they are expected to excel in. There is discuss throw, pole vault or even tug of war that might serve to exhibit physical strength, suspension bridge made of straw or jute stalk to show off students' innovation and ingenuity. Perhaps this indicates a lack of dignity on part of the students, perhaps it is more indicative of the school authorities allowing such a display instead of their students being tested on their grasp of history or astronomy. The display also indicates that those men in responsible offices failed to comprehend walking on children undermined their dignity. It is not unreasonable then to doubt their attitude towards the public when they are in office. It is not unreasonable at all to suspect that these men do not consider themselves servants but masters.
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