On punishment

We were punished a lot. Even before India, at children’s camp, we were often given very unreasonable and bizarre punishments. I’ll go into those children’s camps again soon… Sometimes I think GNFC was actually a haven from those camps – once we were sent off to school, we didn’t have to go to camp anymore.

As I process a jumble of memories from that time, when some of us were as young as six years old, I think of our bizarre, and well, cruel and unusual punishments. The most common corporal punishment for the small children at GNFC was murgha (rooster). Murgha was humiliating – we were often singled out by the teachers, sent to the corner and ordered to crouch down, wrap our arms under our knees and pinch our own ears. There were times that a group of children were ordered tot do murgha – when it became a little easier to bare, but then the matron or teacher would still manage to single a kid out and make him or her perform the punishment for a longer, more unreasonable amount than others. The position cuts off circulation to the legs and head and caused dizziness, headaches, and leg aches. If the kids rear-end wasn’t low enough, the teacher would hit it with a cane – more punishment.

What were the provocations that led to murgha? Geez, I can barely remember – I remember it being ordered almost randomly, and because of the tiniest infraction, like being last in line or losing your toothbrush. I was actually a good kid, and like I said in previous posts, I managed to stay under the radar. But I remember having to do murgha all the time! It didn’t matter if you were a troublemaker or not – the punishment was across the board and systematic.

Murgha is a tradtional punishment (and when I say traditional, I mean, yes, they still make kids do it!). The most sadistic part is that it really only can be done by small children, who are still flexible and skinny!

So I wonder how this Indian tradition fit in with the ideologies of 3HO. When we told our parents what we had to do, they shrugged it off. They had already used other, perhaps less torturous, yoga poses as punishments, and they were already conditioned to throw us into a cold shower, clothes and all – and they thought those things were okay to do, because Yogi Bhajan said it was and in fact was the one to teach it to them.

All three: Murgha, Yoga as punishment, and cold showers ALL fit under the same umbrella of corporal punishment, and in America corporal punishment is abuse. Perhaps it was more convenient for YB to have us be in a land that hadn’t considered that yet.

One Reply to “On punishment”

  1. Even I remember getting murga punishment in 2003-2008 peroid. I don't think it has ended till now. The most difficult part was when it was given in front of girls and we had to face a lot of embarrassment. I don't think you would have got this in front of girls as u were in a boarding school.

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