In India, it is considered perfectly normal to punish erring students. Some of the means of punishments are to humiliate the student by making him stand up on the bench or to face the corner of the classroom. Another form of punishment is to cause pain by rap on the knuckles using a long scale or stick. But the most ancient and popular form of punishment is to make him hold his ears with hands crossing each other (left hand holding right ear & right hand holding left ear) and alternate between standing and squatting.
It is called “Uthak-Baithak” in Hindi or “Baski” in Kannada or “Thoppukaranam” in Tamil. It is not just a form of punishment in classroom but also traditional practice for many who perform it while offering prayers. i.e Devotees pray to forgive them for any mistake caused intentionally or unintentionally and punish themselves through this process and is hence a common scene in temples in South India.
As with most of the ancient Indian traditions, this ancient form of punishment also has scientific reasons behind it.
For example, previously, we had found out the scientific reason behind Rangoli:
Scientific reason behind Indian toilet:
Indians had believed that it improves concentration and activates parts of the brain which in turn helps one remain alert, improve memory and grasp knowledge and hence was used as a form of punishment for students. In the past few decades, lot of research studies were undertaken by Scientists & Doctors across the world on this method and the results were astonishing.
During the research, it was observed that Alpha waves activity increased immediately after performing this method for just 1 min. Since this method involves squeezing the lobes of ears, it is in accordance with acupressure in which pressing left ear activates the right brain & energizes the corresponding pituitary gland and vice-versa for right ear.
In another study, the result of an EEG showed an increased amplitude in the parieto-occipital region of the brain following the method which resulted in increased brain electrical activity.
Here is a summary of one such research study in pdf format:
Upon realization of the benefits of this method through research studies, most of the developed countries have whole heartedly embraced it and adapted it as an “exercise” recommended by Doctors and implemented in Schools as well. Interestingly, they have named it “Super Brain Yoga” which has become a craze, especially in the USA where special workshops are being conducted to help interested people learn this technique.
Here is a recent news video which shows how this “Super Brain Yoga” is catching up in the USA:
Hence, this apparently simple method is not just a form of punishment but an exercise with scientific background which was discovered by Indians thousands of years ago and has been made a part of the tradition in Indian classrooms.
For more such curious “Why?” questions and interesting answers, visit:
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