The teacher had hit the child on her head with a clipboard

Three kilometres separate the gleaming offices of Connaught Place and the narrow lanes of the Walled City where a young girl is recovering from a brutal beating received at the hands of her teacher.

The smiling child stands beside her mother as the woman narrates the story. “About a month and a half ago, my daughter had taken a toddler from the neighbourhood to the school, without telling me. The teacher got angry and hit her with her own clipboard during a class test,” the mother said.

The incident had left the girl with a gaping wound on her head, for which she needed several stitches. She did not go to school for about 10 days, but has now rejoined class. “There is little time left for this school year to finish, so we thought she should go and complete the year,” said the mother.

“The teacher called us to apologise. She hadn’t estimated the seriousness of her action,” she added.

The stitches on the girl’s head are covered up by an embellished hijab, which she was forced to wear after the incident.

“We had to shave off her hair for the stitches and the other children started calling her ganji [baldy],” the mother explained.

While her mother says it still “hurts” to think about the incident, the girl seems to be recovering well. The family asked to remain anonymous because the girl will be joining another school soon and they don’t want any trouble when they ask for a transfer certificate. But, that doesn’t stop the playful child from posing for photographs when The Hindu visited her cramped one-room house. Jokingly, the mother said her daughter, who appears shy, is actually a “shaitaan” (monster). This makes the child burst into a fit of giggles. “I don’t really like going to school, but English is my favourite subject,” the girl said.

“The teacher is nice to me now; in fact she makes me sit next to her. I’m not scared of her anymore,” the girl added.

For now, the girl seems to have returned to her naughty self, but whether the traumatic event has any long-term impact on her is yet to be known. Incidentally, the girl’s case found a mention in a recent report released by NGO Josh which had elaborated on the problem of corporal punishment in Delhi.

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