A few days ago, a video went viral on social networks and sparked widespread criticism, showing that a Quran reciter named Qudratullah brutally beats and punishes his student in one of the religious schools of Faryab province. The scene of the beating is so terrifying that evokes the punishments of criminals in the Middle Ages, indicating that we are still living in that era. Many such behaviors occur in madrasas and even schools, but only a few of these scenes leak out and are shown publicly and provoke a reaction.
When this video reached the virtual space, many users of social networks narrated painful stories of their experiences about the harsh treatment of students, mullahs, and Quran reciters, revealing that such behavior is not limited to a particular province or environment or a certain school. Violence prevails all over this land, and the violence practiced by teachers and professors against students is one of the most common ones.
The bitterness of the matter lies in the fact that teenagers and young people in Afghanistan are deprived of the minimum living facilities possessing limited educational opportunities. For this reason and also because of rampant poverty and misery, many families prefer to send their sons to madrasas or orphanages with dormitories and provide them with food and religious education. These madrasas or Dar-ul-Hefaz are supervised by narrow-minded and harsh administrators and teachers. These administrators and teachers try to create an atmosphere in these madrasas where everything goes according to their wishes. They attempt to formulate the visits, lessons, exercises, and even the thinking of teenagers and young people in a way that does not damage the awe and dignity of the administrators and teachers. In these spaces, absolute obedience to the teacher is promoted, and if anyone behaves in a manner that could be suspected of disobedience, the manager or teacher reserves the right to inflict any harm on them.
Experience has revealed that the creation of such a closed and patriarchal atmosphere leaves adverse consequences. In such a father-son atmosphere, teachers can easily punish and exploit students and even sexually abuse them. Many cases of the sexual use of students by reciters and mullahs have been reflected in reliable media reports. In Pakistan, where the media has more freedom of action in such cases, videos of famous Pakistani mullahs have been broadcast, indicating that these mullahs have been sexually exploiting their students for several years. This is because religious schools in Afghanistan or Pakistan always try to limit or prohibit the access of independent media to their students. The managers of these madrasas know that if the events that are going on there are made available to everyone, there will be a backlash among the common people.
Religious schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan are closed spaces where the administrators try to minimize the communication of their students with the outside world, banning access to news, magazines, television, or the internet. Students do not have the right to listen to anything other than the repeated words of the teachers. The leaders of these madrasas use violence to establish order and discipline. They wholly resemble the military and educational camps of the al-Qaeda organization. All the movements of the students are supervised by their instructors being held accountable for any actions they take.
In these religious schools, an attempt is made to expose the students to brainwashing and to instill in them the ideology desired by the administrators of those madrasas. Naturally, young individuals or teenagers who are constantly exposed to certain thoughts and do not engage in other areas, fall prey to dangerous thoughts and are susceptible to being impressed by what others dictate to them. These religious schools focus more on the education of children and teenagers due to the fact that brainwashing them is straightforward and effortless.
Every political power that comes to power promotes and propagates some of its preferred values and behaviors. Now that the Taliban group has resurged, it is natural that it spreads special values and habits in society. The Taliban group has a rich record of promoting violence and warfare. In the Taliban culture, violence against subordinates is one of the most natural behaviors and is not considered an illicit act. Every day, Taliban fighters violently treat vendors, porters, shopkeepers, retirees, students, beggars, government officegoers, young men who don’t style their hair in accordance with the Taliban framework, women sitting in the park, and others. In such an environment, the superior seeks to suppress the inferior. It is reported that the local administration of the Taliban has arrested Qari Qudratullah for this behavior. The Taliban should explain why their violence against the people is considered natural and legal, but the violence of Qari Qudratullah is considered wrong. Perhaps, this arrest is only a show that has been launched to convince the public opinion.
Certainly, children and teenagers who are subjected to intense and persistent violence will suffer mental pressures and will lose their normal state. In the future, these children and teenagers will have to live in society while suffering from severe compulsions. Following the behaviors of their teacher or father, such individuals, whenever they get a chance, practice the same act disregarding whether it is inappropriate or immoral. In this way, the cycle of violence continues from generation to generation, and harms successive generations, thus delivering sick, sadistic, and dangerous people to society. It is not known when this vicious cycle will end.
Perhaps, some harsh teachers and professors are really seeking to serve the students and teach them properly, but because they are not aware of the new methods of education, they resort to violence. It is necessary for people who are in charge of teaching jobs to be aware of the latest educational theories and to learn new methods of education. For a long time now, in other societies, education using violence has been abandoned and new educational methods are used. Treating students harshly not only does not make them learn the lesson but also causes them to hate lessons and education. In a society like Afghanistan, which is in dire need of education and literacy for its citizens, instilling in children and teenagers an aversion to education is an unforgivable sin. This method of education not only deprives the young generation of education but also harms their soul and spirit and produces a generation that, in addition to doing nothing for the advancement and excellence of their country, with a tendency to violence and sadism, makes the future of their country darker.
In the analysis of teachers’ violent behavior with students, we cannot ignore the fact that our traditional culture also considers the teacher’s violent behavior towards students as a good thing. In traditional culture, the teacher is in the position of a father owning a superior position. In this culture, the teachers are assigned to suppress the students to have control over them. The teachers’ oppression of their students means expediency in the work: “The strictness of the teacher is better than the father’s love”.
In traditional culture, disrespecting the teacher is considered one of the major sins, with the children and teenagers being constantly reminded that the teachers own the life and death of their students. People convey a quote from Ali bin Abi Talib in this regard, saying, ” One who taught me a single word, made me his slave.” This approach should be corrected and since this part of the traditional culture is harmful, it should be seriously criticized. A student is also a person and his emotions, feelings, needs, and views should be respected. Giving absolute power to the teacher has devastating consequences and must be prevented.