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Video clips: India: Unofficial chastisement

Army cadet receiving punishment

With comments by C. Farrell

India - Unofficial punishment of army cadets

Two clips.

CLIP 1 OF 2:

This is a 40-second video clip showing a military cadet being beaten over the seat of his uniform trousers with a hockey stick. The youth has been made to adopt an "all-fours" position. The film came to light in 2014 but may date from earlier than that. Its appearance has excited controversy in Indian military circles because there is supposed to be no corporal punishment in the army. This in any case looks as if it could be bullying (in India they call it "ragging") rather than proper punishment. The picture quality is poor.


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CLIP 2 OF 2:

This video from 2016 lasts nearly 3 minutes and shows a mass caning of half a dozen Indian army cadets across the seat of their tracksuits. An unusual method of holding each recipient in place is by standing on his hands on the ground. This somewhat breaks down towards the end of the scene and things become rather more random. The implements used are not proper rattan canes but rough switches, which disintegrate quickly with use. What looks like a folded rope is also being wielded by one of the trainers. Each youth receives around 12 strokes in all, though clearly nobody is counting precisely.

It is interesting to note that, though clearly not an official punishment, the action is taking place in full view of all who happen to be passing. It may be more in the way of a hazing or "rite of passage" (initiation) ceremony than punishment. Or possibly recruits are chastising members of their own unit for letting them down, or for a failure of some kind.


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