While it is necessary to curb bullying, counselling bullies to turn a new leaf is an important part of practical spirituality, says NITA AGARWAL
Bullying is generally considered as physical or emotional harassment of a weaker person by a supposedly physically or socially stronger person. Bullies are emotionally not strong people. Instead they are emotionally scared individuals, who come from an atmosphere of conflict and neglect in their own homes or social surroundings.
Physical bullying is a gross form of bullying where bruises are visible and easier for authorities to take action against the bully. Emotional bullying leaves no visible bruises, and is therefore, hard to detect unless the victim complains or shares his feelings with someone. Emotional bullying can have long lasting negative impact on the psyche of the victim. Often victims slip into depression or suffer from anxiety attacks.
In this age of social media, cyber bullying has become a new menace. Here the victims are common individuals or celebrities. Bullies stalk the victim, write abusive comments and most often they remain anonymous or use pseudonyms. Victims suffer from anxiety and depression because of cyber bullying.
Bullying of any kind is a form of violence. Humour at the cost of the dignity of another person known as roasting is nothing more than bullying. In the name of humour, people make fun of another person’s physical attributes, family name, and profession.
I find such humour tasteless as well as a reflection of lack of ethics and culture in society. If we teach our kids not to laugh at the weakness of other kids, then how do we, as adults, relish the same humour?
Governments have woken up to physical bullying as it was known to be taking place in colleges in the name of ragging. They made strict anti-ragging laws to stop bullying of newcomers in colleges. During my childhood, I never knew about bullying in schools, but now this menace has entered our schools too.
In the West, bullying in schools is probably more common, but I believe it is now happening in Indian schools too. School administrators need to pay close attention to this issue and not ignore complaints by students, who are victims of bullying.
Parents too need to keep an eye on kids to know whether everything is alright with them or not. Kids who are victims of bullying often complain of headache, dizziness or show reluctance in going to school.
Unless and until our society recognises bullying for what it is, thousands of victims will continue to suffer silently. Falling values, lack of respect for others and frustrations due to failures in keeping pace with others in our fast-paced society breeds all kinds of bullies. Bullying is subtle violence that needs to be recognised before we look for any lasting solution.
The world is a dangerous place not because of people who do wrong but owing to breaches of those who look on and do nothing. We have to raise kids, who have respect for the life and dignity of others. If all of us take care to raise conscious and compassionate kids, then we will not have to bother about bullies or bullying. As a mother, I always feel anguished when I read about suicide or suffering due to bullying of youngsters in schools and colleges.
I hope and pray that we have a kinder society where each individual flourishes without fear of being bullied or shamed by others. My prayers are also with bullies, who suffer from neglect and love at home, feel dejected, lonely and suffer from low self-esteem. They then vent out their own failures and frustrations by bullying. Therefore, bullies also need counselling and love to mend their ways.
While it is necessary to curb bullying, counselling bullies to turn a new leaf is an important part of practical spirituality.
Nita Agarwal is an ex-Table Tennis State player, qualified teacher, self-taught budding painter, a successful blogger, who writes about her observations of life and people; and most importantly, a working housewife.