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"Authoritarian School Violence"- Another theme in Taare Zameen Par

One of the themes prevalent in the movie Taare Zameen Par is authoritarian school violence. This is manifested in the teaching methods adopted by the teachers at both the schools – in one of the scenes when Ishaan is asked to interpret the poem called “Perspective”, he offers his own views which are disregarded and ridiculed by the teacher as well as the class however, the children cannot be blamed for it because they are to say whatever has been taught to them. Rajan Damodran (Ishan’s friend) later tells him, “Tiwari sir bohot strict hain … jesa woh batatay hain wese he yaad kar ke sunana parta hai” which is very true for the learning in schools that prevails to this day.

The environment of the school is so controlled that even in art class, the students are told that the lines have to be straight and the shape has to be perfect otherwise they will be hit 5 times on the right hand. This is so deeply ingrained in them that when Ram Sankar (Amir Khan) asks them to draw whatever they want to, they are rather shocked because they have never seen a teacher like that. This is made worse by the fact that sometimes there is added pressure from parents who blame the child for his or her poor grades instead of looking into the matter and seeing where the problem lies or it can be said that they don’t look for solutions but instead, continue to scold the child. In Ishaan’s case his father constantly compares him to his elder brother who is a topper.

“Kya banay ga baray ho kar woh? Kesay barabari kar paye ga iss duniya ke saath?”

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I think your analysis of this particular theme is on point. It is very important for us as a society to recognize the flaws of our education system with one being the power teachers have over students and how far some of them are willing to go to exploit them. I remember having some such teachers who would always look down upon me and would bash students for thinking outside the box. Growing up I realised how important it is to have inspirational teachers who encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. In the end, these are the teachers who I am grateful to and will always remember.

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School Violence encouraged by the administration has been a prevailing issue many students face. A way, I believe, authoritarianism is encouraged in schools is through the appointment of class prefects or monitors. I remember standing in line in the morning cold waiting for the class prefect just to inspect our nails, hair, and clothes. Not only was this individual responsible for answering to the teacher in the class' stead but was also constantly bombarded with tedious time consuming tasks such as collection of work, roster checking etc. This status given to one student from a class singles them out, it gives them power over their peers simply due to their academic and social advantage. Authoritarianism is bound to be reinforced…

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Indeed this movie gave a very deep insight on how our education system is becoming based on what our teachers want us to do rather than giving us an opportunity to explore our creative side. Just like the instances mentioned by you, I recall my time when I wanted to write essays on certain creative topics which I found relatable to my own life, I was often turned down on the fact that it won’t help me secure an A grade.

Now this itself reflects upon two very important things. Firstly, what I talked about earlier how there is little space for children’s creativity. Secondly, how our education system is promoting a grade system where children prefer grades over learning.…

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Growing up in an all-boys school, such authoritarian school violence is something that I can personally relate to and reading this article immediately brought all those flashbacks. Every morning, we used to have "hair-checking" where teachers used to bluntly cut our hair with scissors if they were even a centimeter long than the "crew cut" they expected us to have. Like Ishaan, physical punishments were also something that I personally went through, to the point that we used to get slapped hard even if we mistakenly talked to each other during class.

The fact that such violence is normalized within our education system to a rather frightening extent is really problematic; and, "Taare Zameen Par" does an excellent job in…

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