The punishment

Sunita Giri 9:58 PM |

Maya Joshi * , could have been around twelve, when she was suspected of stealing Rs. five from a nanny. The nanny who saw her entering her room, coincidentally also lost the Rs 5. So she reported it to the housemother, Sabitri Basnyat. After hearing the nanny’s complaint, housemother called Maya for interrogation. Maya, denied instantly but when the housemother resorted to insist she must had taken the cash, then Maya, also kept denying that she had taken that five Rs.

My guess, today when I am full grown up now, that the housemother insisted because the room Maya, had entered was so smelly that no one would want to enter without a reason as important as cash how small ( or big ) the figure is. Because that room particularly housed three adult male. Out of three, one was I guess was well above 30 years and a serious case of down-syndrome and the other one also mentally retarded but at least could walk and go to toilet on his own and third one was handicapped with limped hand and legs but he could go to toilet and could eat on his own. Other two guys must have been well above teen age but I am really having hard time to guess their age now. I was not at that kind age to look at the person and figure out their age. The first guy was like in a vegetative state of health. He had no sense that he had peed or pooped on the bed so keeping it clean, specially odorless was definitely not easy task for the woman who was appointed to take care of those thee adult male.

As a teenager, I have mastered not to breath in front of that room and hold it for about a minute when the room came near. Luckily once the room get crossed, there came the small corridor leading towards the front and back yard at the same time. I used to hold my breath until one of the yard came, and once I am in open space of a yard I used to inhale a long fresh air.

May be because of that reason the housemother and the nanny must have connected the loss of money with Maya’s quick in and out of that room. Sabitry Basnyat, firmly believed in punishing for every mistake one made. It could have been because she had such workplace to learn. Prior to her job in Bal Mandir, as a housemother, she was in the police force, where punishing to maintain discipline is strictly followed.

There was a badminton poll, in the big round shaped front yard of the Bal Mandir, where children played badminton after schools, during summer. But this particular morning Maya, was tied there by a long itchy jute rope in one side of the poll. The housemother, took the pleasure of doing it, she was not just tied, she was tied there nude. As if tying her nude on the poll was still not enough to her, so she also sprinkled sugary water all over her, so the flies will hover around her; because she had stolen cash.

Maya Joshi, must have stolen five Rs., anybody who have been child once in their life, must have stolen this or that. Reason of stealing could vary from every individual child but every body must have stolen something. what should not be stolen is perhaps absolutely different case with different people.

It was the sunny morning, before school hour. She was left tied on the poll for an hour or more, so that; all the children see her and remind them what will happen to them if they even think of stealing in future.

Some girls had gone down to talk to Maya, to comfort her in their own way. They even tried to hide her just appearing breast buds with the help of that itchy jute rope as much as possible. But all she had on her body in that morning was that slinky itchy rope wrapped around her body as tightly as possible. It sure was; not easy moment for Maya, as well as for we girls to watch it.

She was tied up on the ground floor of the building and that was all boys floor. The three side of that yard had boys rooms - four in total and one side was the main kitchen, dining hall and store area. Rooms for the girls were mostly up stares. It definitely was not the eye candy moment for the teen boys also, to watch Maya Joshi, in that condition. It was height of humiliation.

I really don't know how many of us got the clear cut idea that we should not steal, I am quite not sure about it. That method was way beyond teaching children ‘values of moral science.’ It only nurtured so much hatred in our hearts for the housemother who tied her and the other housemother who pretended they did not see what was gong on, under their nose and did not intervened to give such harsh punishment for the sum as small as Rs. five.

After 20 plus years of that incident, one more thing is, its not easy for me to figure out how big the Rs. five was then and how many stuff it could bought for us. We grew up in an environment no money was needed to buy stuffs, as everything we needed was available. Some people might find it strange but everything in life is just habit right ? if you have it you are used to of it but if you don’t have it, slowly it becomes a habit.

I am not against punishment or saying punishing is bad idea or the big issue here but how much a child should be punished for sum of Rs five, should be matched the punishment one get.

Looking back at the incident, I think that, the punishment was too much. Such punishment can only begets hatred in our heart for the adults around us, not sorry feelings for the mistakes we ever made. For a two tight slaps mistake, she was not only tied on the poll; for more than an hour and that too nude in the sunny morning hour but was also sprinkled sugary water all over her body at the area which was surrounded by all boys rooms.

That punishment was just way far too much.

Note: * Maya comitted sucide couple of years ago.

read other articles to know more about Sabitry Basnyat. Why hate, when Yamraj loves his work and The new hair style


Henry Scobie said...

Is this the Sabitri Basnyat that left Bal Mandir and founded the Helpless Children Protection Home?

A very controversial home:

Sunita Giri said...

I know she is been running one orphanage like home but did not knew the name of it, thank you for the link. but they give children for adoption, in fact, lets say; they sell them at very high price about 3000-5000 dollar per child. "some foreigners would not mind paying that much money for a child." This has been revealed by her husband, once we had a lunch together sometime around 2005-06. Oh, yes he did picked my lunch bill then. But she and her husband are Basnyat not Basnet.

Samakhushi, is where her husband's home is and when I was doing my 2nd year of college, I had stayed next to her home for about 6 months.

Henry Scobie said...

Sabitri appears in this documentary film:

She comes across as a very unsavory character.

Sunita Giri said...

Have you read my other article the new hair style it might also give you why she is so unsavory. You sound so hi-fi calling her unsavory, where I come from, we call her plain bitch ! But as a teenager we gave her nick name LLTT ( looking London, turning Tokyo ).

Henry Scobie said...

I see what you mean -- "she was very abusive and never hesitated to bang or smack girls for the drop of the hat."

Henry Scobie said...

What's depressing is that Sabitri is on the executive committee of the Child NGO Federation Nepal -- the "child protection" federation:

In the West, she'd be in prison.

Some of the other CNFN board members are just as bad:

What does "Looking London, Turning Tokyo" mean? I don't know the expression.

lava said...

perfect write up author, hats off to you

Henry Scobie said...

Last year, an American volunteer reported bruised babies at Bal Mandir:

Another American volunteer is reporting physical abuse of infants (April 2011):

So what is the story here?

Physical abuse or Mongolian spots?


Henry Scobie said...

The Paper Orphans documentary (on NCO/Bal Mandir) is now posted on the web:

Sabitri appears in the last part of the film.


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