Intolerance and awards
The other day Jaitish came to me sulking and said, “Nanu I am
returning the best student award to the school authorities’ I was
naturally taken aback.
“But why, Jaitish ?”, I asked
“ Sandeep slapped Rajesh and teacher did not punish Sandeep”
“ Wait a minute. Who is Sandeep and Who is Rajesh?” I sought an
answer as I had never heard their names before.
“They are students of my school but are not my classmates”
“They are not your classmates yet you are so perturbed that you
have decided to return the award”
“ I am concerned, Nanu. Why should I tolerate such behavior on
the part of Sandeep ? We must protests. Nahi” He seems to be
genuinely worried and sought a positive reply from me.
“ Is returning of award, the only choice left with you”, I asked him
“Yes, this way I will bring this incident to the notice of the
Principal and the Management”
“ But their must be more severe incidents before too. This is just a
matter of slapping”
“Yes there were numerous incidents of head knocking, bouts, hand
to hand fights etc. earlier too…”
I immediately interrupted him.
“ Did anyone return the award then ? I asked.
“ No, not to my knowledge. Not at all,” he saw me suspiciously.
“ Why are you doing this now ?”
“ Because I want that the violence should have no place in the
school and watching me return the award, other awardees will
“You mean they don’t have the mind of their own and simply will
follow you.” I said watching his reaction which was bordering
confusion and frustration.
“ No, I just want to return the award. Ghandhi Ji told that violence
has no place anywhere” He was insistent.
“ As you said that your school had witnessed more severe violence
earlier too, your school must have been tolerant enough to tolerate
such incidents of intolerance.” I played with his curiosity.
“Don’t sidetrack the issue, Nanu. I am returning the award. That’s
“Who gave you this award” I did not let me overpower me with his
“ The school”. He said waiting for another question
“ What does school mean to you ?”
“What do you mean, Nanu. School is everything to me.”
“What does your school consists of”
“ Students, teachers, Principal, all”
“It means the award received by you is not given to you by either a
Principal or a teacher or a student. It is given by the SCHOOL.
Am I right?”
“Yes.” He became curious.
“ Have you read the preamble of the our constitution:- WE THE
“Yes, I have read that people are supreme in a republic and that a
Government is by the people, for the people and of the people”.
Jaitish was quite excited now.
“ In other words, the SCHOOL has unanimously or by majority
appreciated your talent. The award was bestowed on you because
in their intellect, you were the best in your own field. Returning
the award means that you will insult those very people who
bestowed the award on you, who allowed you to reach upto this
pedestal. You are insulting the judgment of students, teachers and
the Principal etc”
“But Nanu, so many writers, filmmakers, artists are returning the
awards now a days”
“ My dear Jaitish, they are not only insulting the Constitution of
India but also the people of India who have all along recognized
their talents and works. All these attained glory and fame because
of the people of India. They received awards at various levels
including national level because the whole nation wanted it. They
are infact insulting their own nation, the MOTHER INDIA. In the
similar way, you will insult the SCHOOL, that very school which
teaches you basics of life to begin your life.”
“What should I do now, Nanu. I can not tolerate this injustice to
Rajesh”, Jaitish became subdued while seeking my advice.
“Well, there are other form of protests which you have to explore
without hurting the ethos of your school.
Jaitish had something to ponder about.
by tribhawan kaul