Monthly Archives: May 2012

On second thoughts ~ Was it really bullying??

After writing the previous post, I came across an article in the NewYorker , which elucidates the whole set of events that happened before and uptill Tyler Clementi’s suicide. Do take note, that the article does not include conversations with Ravi and family (they refused to give their views).

This article sort of disturbed me and completely twisted my notions of what would have happened. In fairness, i am sure many of us would react the same way as evident in my previous post.

But  after reading this article, which sort of gives a very very close idea to the mental states of Tyler and Dharun, I  feel I should add this :

1. Both the teenagers appear socially inept with themselves, confused, at times lucid, curious, making jokes in fact like typical teenagers. ravi appears as an intelligent though confused, boastful, caring about his image a lot while Tyler is more shy, has few friends.

2. The whole conversations reflect just typical teenage behaviour, thoughts, confusions, judgements, curiosity.

3. References to Ravi gives an impression of an artificially extrovertish person with an inability to express feelings. ( The judge amongst others states that he shows no signs of remorse. This is in sharp contradiction to the last few text messages sent by Ravi)

3. There never seemed to be any hate thoughts by Ravi on Tyler because of his gay identity or anything else. There was an obvious difficulty to communicate and share. This grew and grew into a difficult situation because, each suspected the other of keeping tabs on each other. Maybe the usual teen sensitivities, more exacerbated due to difference in backgrounds.

4. Yes, there was definite spying/sneaking behaviour by Ravi and friends,which though initially taken casually by Tyler led him to take a more harder position as the article says. This subsequently led him to lodge a complaint against Ravi with the hostel resident. In fact just before the suicide, the Hostel advisor had informed ravi of the complaint.

5. what happened between lodging the complaint and the suicide? what made Tyler to commit suicide after taking a firm decision?  something we will never know. What mental changes occured? Very sad to say the least.

6. The sad fact is Ravi had sent messages explaining and apoligising for his conduct to Tyler’s phone  around 5 mins after Tyler’s suicide post on facebook, without being aware of this.  Another twisted leap of fate.

7. From the reconstruction, as far as I am concerned, there is no evidence of hate/murderous instinct/gay victimisation nothing which merits a serious punishment. for spying yes.

All I can say, is at the minimum a tale of two teenagers which went haphazard and ended in tragedy for one and life long chastisement for the other for carrying out a senseless prank/sneaking intrusive action ( which is not actually such an uncommon thing, after all, what are paparazzi doing?)

After reading this, would I call it bullying? I am not so sure.  Not hate motivated anyways. But thoughtless, careless, intrusive , sneaking, which may have certainly indirectly contributed to Tyler’s discomfort certainly , yes

More importantly, it raises issues for all parents regarding teen issues, communication, sexuality issues, internet and web challenges they will face inevitably with teenagers.

_______________________ Previous post below__________________________________

Many people over the world can only dream of aspiring to prestigious universities  like that in Rutgers, NJ, USA and of leading a successful and comfortable life in the US. This guy had it all and in the course of an irresponsible, irremediable and unjustifiable action, he blew it all.

I am talking about Dharun Ravi, who is right now the subject of intense public and media scrutiny as his trial is going on.

Dharun’s unjustifiable spying/bullying of Tyler Clementi, a sensitive extremely talented young person, on his sexual habits led to the subsequent suicide by Tyler. The incident involved Ravi installing  a webcam to spy on Tyler during his dates and Ravi’s friend subsequently streaming the live cam coverage to others in the dormitory.

Suicide of Tyler Clementi

Suicide of Tyler Clementi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, it was reprehensible on the part of Ravi and his friends to do this.  This was complete infringement of privacy and intention to humiliate  a young man, whom they must have known was sensitive. Even if they were unaware, there is no excuse for this sort of action. And obviously, they may not have been aware of the grave consequences of their spying ~ suicide of the target, untold suffering to both families concerned, media circus, two lives gone. Which makes me come to the root of the matter:

Why did an obviously intelligent and smart boy, resort to  such measures like bullying? Why could not the innate intelligence prevent him from discriminating between right and wrong? Was it the temptation to lord over someone who is vulnerable and may be ‘weak’in protecting himself? To make fun of the ‘sexual tendencies’? Basically, why do we bully? They say, there is always a space between thought and action. Unfortunately, in this case, not much thought was given. One needs to understand the psychology of bullies.

Should parents be wary when they send their students into residency programs?  If such cases, can happen at well known institutions, well,what about other more down to earth ones? In India, ragging has been a culture of colleges everywhere, and considered the primary ritual for the indoctrination of a student into a college life. Whatever its beneficial intentions , it has degenerated into a foul exercise of humiliation, degradation and often sexual abuse of students involved. There have been even cases of ghastly murders when students resist. engineering/medical colleges have gained notoriety in this regard. Even though there has been some measures put in place , it still occurs.

Could the suicide have been prevented?

In this case, the victim was too sensitive to withstand the shock of personal exposure. Maybe it would have been good if there had been a friend for him to share his anguish and thoughts, which may have prevented the untimely death. He may have felt alone and helpless in the hostel. This again sheds light on the fact that being an 18 year old does not mean, that a person won’t need help at hand for emergency. Maybe there should be counselling centres open overnight for emergencies.

Was the scale of punishment meted out to Ravi justified?

Some feel that he has been bombarded with different charges. The punishment of 30 days plus community action/counselling may be considered as light by some. In my view, since there was no explicit encouragement or abetment in suicide nor was there any other intention of physical harm ( besides the obvious intention to make fun), it may be a reasonable punishment. It is difficult in such cases to give a judgement which makes everyone satisfied.

What can be concluded from this story is:
1. Bullying and ragging is a serious offence against human life and rights. It must be combated with as much means as possible. Tough measures and tough action have to be in place to deter future bullies.
2. We, as parents, teachers and society leaders must deal strictly and firmly with potential bullies in our family, neighbourhood and society.
3. Bullying habits can be observed from childhood onwards. Unless, we take steps to nip it in the bud, we may have kids who will think it is okay to bully/jeer/humiliate/intimidate and will suffer the consequences of their action later in life. We need to impress upon them that BULLYING is a no -no.
Bullying is often due to insecurities, the person may have. We need to build up the morale of our kids in a healthy manner so that they dont have to resort to bullying to express their need for power
4. As parents/teachers/society leaders, we need to be on the watch for potential bullies and their victims. We need to be alert and aware. Of symptoms and signs. There should be safeguards in place for dealing with bullying incidents sensitively and effectively.
Kids obtain many of their initial impressions on behavior from us. If we display to them that it is okay to bully, then that it is what they are going to learn.
5. What can be done for bullying victims? Need to build up self confidence and trust. Need support and guidance at all times. Need, moreimportantly friendship.  Need to build up assertiveness so they can counter the bullies.
If we don’t nip bullying in its various forms, from the bud, we will have many other sad  Tyler Clementi – Dharun Ravi stories, many more anguished parents, who will end up losing their children ( both the victim and the aggressors)
Related articles
Advertisements

Bullying will have consequences

Many people over the world can only dream of aspiring to prestigious universities  like that in Rutgers, NJ, USA and of leading a successful and comfortable life in the US. This guy had it all and in the course of an irresponsible, irremediable and unjustifiable action, he blew it all.

I am talking about Dharun Ravi, who is right now the subject of intense public and media scrutiny as his trial is going on.

Dharun’s unjustifiable spying/bullying of Tyler Clementi, a sensitive extremely talented young person, on his sexual habits led to the subsequent suicide by Tyler. The incident involved Ravi installing  a webcam to spy on Tyler during his dates and Ravi’s friend subsequently streaming the live cam coverage to others in the dormitory.

Suicide of Tyler Clementi

Suicide of Tyler Clementi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, it was reprehensible on the part of Ravi and his friends to do this.  This was complete infringement of privacy and intention to humiliate  a young man, whom they must have known was sensitive. Even if they were unaware, there is no excuse for this sort of action. And obviously, they may not have been aware of the grave consequences of their spying ~ suicide of the target, untold suffering to both families concerned, media circus, two lives gone. Which makes me come to the root of the matter:

Why did an obviously intelligent and smart boy, resort to  such measures like bullying? Why could not the innate intelligence prevent him from discriminating between right and wrong? Was it the temptation to lord over someone who is vulnerable and may be ‘weak’in protecting himself? To make fun of the ‘sexual tendencies’? Basically, why do we bully? They say, there is always a space between thought and action. Unfortunately, in this case, not much thought was given. One needs to understand the psychology of bullies.

Should parents be wary when they send their students into residency programs?  If such cases, can happen at well known institutions, well,what about other more down to earth ones? In India, ragging has been a culture of colleges everywhere, and considered the primary ritual for the indoctrination of a student into a college life. Whatever its beneficial intentions , it has degenerated into a foul exercise of humiliation, degradation and often sexual abuse of students involved. There have been even cases of ghastly murders when students resist. engineering/medical colleges have gained notoriety in this regard. Even though there has been some measures put in place , it still occurs.

Could the suicide have been prevented?

In this case, the victim was too sensitive to withstand the shock of personal exposure. Maybe it would have been good if there had been a friend for him to share his anguish and thoughts, which may have prevented the untimely death. He may have felt alone and helpless in the hostel. This again sheds light on the fact that being an 18 year old does not mean, that a person won’t need help at hand for emergency. Maybe there should be counselling centres open overnight for emergencies.

Was the scale of punishment meted out to Ravi justified?

Some feel that he has been bombarded with different charges. The punishment of 30 days plus community action/counselling may be considered as light by some. In my view, since there was no explicit encouragement or abetment in suicide nor was there any other intention of physical harm ( besides the obvious intention to make fun), it may be a reasonable punishment. It is difficult in such cases to give a judgement which makes everyone satisfied.

What can be concluded from this story is:
1. Bullying and ragging is a serious offence against human life and rights. It must be combated with as much means as possible. Tough measures and tough action have to be in place to deter future bullies.
2. We, as parents, teachers and society leaders must deal strictly and firmly with potential bullies in our family, neighbourhood and society.
3. Bullying habits can be observed from childhood onwards. Unless, we take steps to nip it in the bud, we may have kids who will think it is okay to bully/jeer/humiliate/intimidate and will suffer the consequences of their action later in life. We need to impress upon them that BULLYING is a no -no.
Bullying is often due to insecurities, the person may have. We need to build up the morale of our kids in a healthy manner so that they dont have to resort to bullying to express their need for power
4. As parents/teachers/society leaders, we need to be on the watch for potential bullies and their victims. We need to be alert and aware. Of symptoms and signs. There should be safeguards in place for dealing with bullying incidents sensitively and effectively.
Kids obtain many of their initial impressions on behavior from us. If we display to them that it is okay to bully, then that it is what they are going to learn.
5. What can be done for bullying victims? Need to build up self confidence and trust. Need support and guidance at all times. Need, moreimportantly friendship.  Need to build up assertiveness so they can counter the bullies.
If we don’t nip bullying in its various forms, from the bud, we will have many other sad  Tyler Clementi – Dharun Ravi stories, many more anguished parents, who will end up losing their children ( both the victim and the aggressors)
Related articles

Satyameva Jayate : Here to Stay

 

The last few weeks have been abuzz with discussions on the latest serial to hit indian television screens viz Satyameva jayate.

Satyameva Jayate is a talk show hosted by the highly intellectual and talented Aamir Khan ( of Taare zameen par and 3 idiots fame, amongst other things, dealing with very important and socially relevant issues which we all know about but are afraid to talk openly about.

 

Aamir Khan at the 2010 Toronto International F...

Aamir Khan at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The show is aired on star plus on Sundays primetime mornings. The time, in olden days , reserved for dedicated viewers of religious mythological serials/scifi/soaps and so on.

Going by the viewer comments, the serial has hit a strong chord with the people ( in general). Of course there are negative and disparaging comments on Aamir Khan, primarily on his personal life and whether it renders him eligible to discuss issues of a serious nature.

After reading the whole spectrum of comments ranging from overtly praising to downright vituperative comments, vilifying aamir khan for his personal life and decisions, I decided to take a peep at this serial.

I saw the dowry episodes and the CSA episodes. On the whole I was impressed with his handling of difficult issues, his approach as an anchor. Naturally, the duration of the talk show restricts the number of examples or details in which you can go into issues. And there is a certain artificiality in talk shows, it being a select audience and then environment of artificial comfort.

Having said that, I did find the presentations relevant and impactful. The CSA episode was compelling and extremely painful to watch especially the stories presented by CSA survivors. I found it the best and truly an excellent and hard hitting episode with facts, scientists, doctors to support a nd provide info. Frankly, having suffered at several points in life (though mild) , CSA is something which is very important and essential issue for me and to so many others out there. I really appreciate Aamir and his team for doing a well thought out serial.

Now as far as the negative comments made:

1. what right has Aamir Khan to talk of these issues since he is a divorcee and married again?

Aamir Khan’s personal life is his. How he , his wife, their children and current wife have dealt with those episodes are their own business. All relationships need  not be permanent. I think we need to change this over idealistic, over perfectionistic mindset of ours. Why partners tend to drift away is something only they can answer. Having said that we , strangers, who are not in touch with the feelings of all the parties concerned are not the best judge on this.  So I feel there is no relevance in connecting these issues.

However, as someone very cleverly pointed out, it would indeed be very courageous of Aamir, if he can talk about the reasons marriages fail and of increasing divorce rate in his program. I am sure his views would be significant and would help silence detractors. This is a challenge which I am not sure that he will take up  but I do hope he will target in future episodes.

2. What is his motive in doing such a talk show? It is believed that he charges 3 crores for this episode.

Aamir Khan is a man of exceptionable intelligence as can be seen by the films he has acted or directed in. He is also a man blessed with the ability to reach out to people on issues without being intrusive or arrogant.  Naturally he has the right to charge the fees he does. Money may be of course a primary motive in doing the show as well as a professional challenge. To create a program which is able to challenge people in their thinking would be something motivating, i would guess. Altruism is a great quality but I have no problems in accepting if Aamir is doing the show entirely of monetary/professional considerations as long as it is meaningul for the audience. It is better to be practical than insincere altruism

3.  Comments on his religious beliefs and insinuations regarding painting muslims in a better light as ar as hindus are concerned (dowry)

Naturally, some people are making a hindu-muslim situation here.  When I watched the episodes, I could not detect any religious bias or pandering.I thought it was very down to earth, warm and interesting and emotional.

In conclusion, while certainly it is impossible to achieve huge societal changes simply through a television show, one must credit the makers for making something which is relevant and hopefully creates the impact required for people to change their mindsets, their thinking and through them the society. This is in itself, a spark to what would hopefully  lead to a volcano of changes.

Satyameva jayate!

Is The IPL sheen wearing off?

Words have been written, spoken, heard,  blogged, tweeted, facebooked, googled about the IPL (indian premier league). So why not a few more?? Bear with me.

I know cricket is the national obsession in India. And IPL has become a super craze since last few seasons.

2010 Indian Premier League

2010 Indian Premier League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Definitely, for a not so great cricket fan like me, it has definitely made an impact by increasing the interest which I have in the game. Three reasons: Firstly, It is a short form of the game, just 20 overs each session. And for impatient people like me, it is easy on the eye and on the patience.  Secondly, The diversity of players forming part of each of the teams. That is lovely to see. The professionalism. The team spirit. I find, with few exceptions, the overseas players playing their hearts out.  Thirdly: The glamour part of it. I guess this appeals to the average person. Seeing their idols associated with their fav teams. The cheerleaders, who I find very attractive and appealing and nowhere vulgar. In fact, i appreciate them for cheering every six or every wicket. And it is an awesome celebration of the love  for cricket by indians everywhere in the world.

But while there are some pluses, associated this popularisation of a game, Some ugly sides to this has been observed especially in  this season.

First and foremost , the question of whether the exorbitant fees paid to the players have dampened their commitment for the national team.Secondly,  Match fixing rumors. which has always been prevalent but received some confirmation by a sting operation on spot fixing by some IPL players. Some of the matches which have been played for unbelievably low scores and some unbelievable results have been observed.  So, are , we the viewers and fans being taken for a ride?

Then came the Shahrukh Khan -MCA fracas which became ugly and led to the banning of SRK from wankhede stadium for five years? This has undoubtedly led to the exposure of the ugly rivalries and jealousies between persona hidden under the glitz.

On the heels of this incident, came the accusations of molestation against an IPL player. Is the amount of money and fame going to players’ head?

Such concerns are removing the sheen from the IPL glamour slowly.  Do we need to take a step back and think about the advisability of conducting such Competitions, which are breeding vices along with prizes? Or atleast, a way of moderating the Contest such that it does not become solely about oodles of money pumped in or teams buying their way through games or promoting betting?? Where it has stopped becoming cricket and more of business and where a player is a saleable object? Where the young and talented are being taught to play for lucre ? Where it has become more a showing off between business enterprises and superstar personae to display their star power and might?

Where is cricket in all these?

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: