Some of India’s top-ranked international schools have become the playgrounds of spoilt brats of the country’s noveaux riche, even if not famous. On February 20, social media was abuzz with reports that a class VII student of the Pathways School, Gurgaon sent an outrageous rape threat to his class teacher on Instagram, and added injury to insult by threatening to rape her daughter, who is his classmate. When the latter reported this criminal intimidation to the school’s management, “the authorities refused to take action or even acknowledge what had happened and allegedly blamed her for missing classes,” according to a report in the Delhi-based online news daily The Wire (February 21). Earlier, another middle school student reportedly propositioned two teachers for “candlelight dinner and sex”. Even this incident was papered over by the Pathways management.
In both these cases the school management — tightly controlled by Delhi businessman and lobbyist Prabhat Jain, promoter-chairman of the Pathways School and Pathways World School, Gurgaon — did not act against these spoilt brat children who threatened and propositioned the school’s teachers, as they are progeny of the wealthy and politically connected in the national capital. A master lobbyist and influence peddler in the corridors of power in Delhi and especially in Haryana, Jain has also promoted an organisation named Alliance for Re-imagining School Education (ARISE) under the FICCI (Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry) umbrella to promote for-profit private schools.
Your editor has good cause to remember ARISE and Jain who is well qualified for a Ph D in oleaginous sycophancy. Invited to chair a panel at the inaugural FICCI-ARISE national conference in which a majority of the panellists were bureaucrats of the HRD ministry and Haryana government, your correspondent was ejected from the panel and displaced as chairman by Jain himself on the ground of being insufficiently respectful of the mighty bureaucrats whom — according to Jain — the assembly had come from far and wide to listen. Evidently, a year later Jain hasn’t been cured of his kiss-up-and-kick- down syndrome and refuses to speak up for his teachers or allow disciplinary action against the spoilt brats in his ‘elite’ school.