My adopted home state Haryana is getting more and more bizarre (and entertaining) by the day! So I receive a form from my son’s school, supposedly a Directive from The Government Of Haryana, which besides many other absurdities asks whether parents are “engaged in any unclean occupation??’. This has generated shockwaves and hubbub in my hub called Haryana. The 100 point form, yes you read that right, an extensive 100 page document asks all sorts of ludicrous and offensive questions like whether parents have any genetic disorder, mental disorder etc.
Students have also been asked to give their parents’ Aadhaar numbers, religion and caste details, to be chosen from a ‘drop down’ menu. Wow! Spoilt for choice, aren’t we!!! In today’s day and age, where many parents like me want kids to stay away from and be kept oblivious to divides basis religion and caste, this form openly asks for such information, suggesting that we are perhaps regressing instead of evolving!
Wait! There’s more absurdity to it. The very first line of the form declares that “The Response Is Anonymous”. Clearly the one who drafted this needs English lessons, for making these faux pauxs (We Indians are so generous with giving benefit of doubt) so casually. As much personal information as one could possibly ask for, such as bank account details, Income of parents, Aadhar number of the parents as well as the child, offensive and insensitive questions such as whether parents have any mental or genetic disorder, and to choose from a drop down menu if they do are being asked, and to say that ‘the response is anonymous’! Like really?! At the time when European countries are bringing in GDPR, data privacy and protection guidelines, this comes as a Big Shock! But then, if our counterparts on the other side of the border believe in throwing incendiary bombs every now and then, India doesn’t want to be left behind and hurls these supposedly harmless ones ever so often! Living in India, our lives may be sans the frills but never sans thrill !
On a sensitive note, schools have children from varied financial backgrounds. The idea of sending them to school is to provide good education for a better future. Imagine after filling these forms children exchange income details and then start grouping accordingly. How stressful that’d become for the children. Education of a child has nothing whatsoever to do with these questions. Infact filling up such forms will rather create more classism and difference among students and lead to bullying etc. Hold on, a bubble in my head suggests that perhaps the school wants to know whether I can continue to afford the whopping fee that has seen such a rapid and steep escalation year on year that soon, I think, education will be a ‘precious commodity’ afforded only by the elite. Yanking such details is a ridiculous attempt to invade privacy and most parents understandably have a problem with it.
The one creating the maximum furore is asking whether parent is engaged in ‘unclean’ occupation. Hawwww, didn’t I tell you that I’m in one! I certainly have been in an ‘Unclean’ profession and situation, ever since the day my child was born, because I’ve changed diapers, cleaned poop, cleaned remnants of the tyke’s vomit and much more. (which I shall mention if asked for details in the next form!). If there’s a moral angle to this word ‘unclean’, then I think we need to ‘clean’ some minds first before giving in to these outlandish questions suggesting a paranoid invasion of privacy with prejudice, eugenics and casteism.
For now, let me just get back to my ‘Unclean’ Occupation of being a mother and homemaker, removing cobwebs in my abode, for those in the minds of people are way too many to be done away with so soon! But, thanks Haryana, for the amusement!