Hyderabad dance teacher booked for beating students. How abuse is normalised in the name of art

Instructors who teach classical Indian dance forms often use corporal punishment as a measure to discipline students into learning the intricacies

Though corporal punishment was banned in India in 2010, some teachers still continue to defy the law. In a video that was being circulated on social media, students of Hyderabad’s Sri Chaitanya Techno School were seen complaining about their teacher. The students alleged that the dance teacher had been teaching them the same steps for hours and after they complained, the teacher thrashed them all, leaving a girl injured.

The teacher and the school’s principal were booked for beating the Class IV student.

Over the past few years, several cases have come to the fore of teachers using corporal punishment as means to discipline students and children. Last year, a video of a headmaster violently beating students in a convent school near Allahabad surfaced. A few months ago, a student in Kanpur sustained a fracture in his hand after his teacher hit him with a wooden duster. According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, cases of corporal punishment have nearly quadrupled in the last three years.


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Normalising abuse in the name of art
Though no correlation has been found between teachers using corporal punishment to teach only select subjects, dance instructors who teach classical Indian dance forms are known to be harsh on their students. Teachers of Bharatnatyam use rulers and sticks on heels, elbow caps and knees to correct postures of students. Even those who teach contemporary art forms like ballet are known to hit on the knuckles of toes as a disciplinary measure.

The normalization of abuse has gone to such extent that even in the Bengali movie Unishe April, the protagonist confessed that her dance teacher used to throw things at her, yet she learned a lot from him.

unishe april

Screengrab: Unishe April

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Are parents culprits too?
In a survey carried out by Bornsmart, over 60 percent of Indian parents admitted having beaten their kids in order to discipline them. In the same survey, nearly 80 percent of the respondents who spanked their children admitted having been beaten when they were kids themselves.