In the passage By Any Other Name, by Santha Rau, she tells a story of when she was a five and a half year old little girl growing up in Zorinabad, going through the changes of moving and trying out public schools. Her mother had taught her and her sister up until she got ill and couldn't continue to teach them herself. The girls went to school, and the first day started the disaster of their very short tour of public schools. The head mistress changed the girls' names from their birth-given Indian names to "pretty English names". The girls would go through many more unfair consequences for being Indian. They would have to leave their culture at home and go to school as a different person.
I don't agree with this treatment because I think every person is entitled to flaunt their culture and their own rights as a human being. The girls were never called their real names while at school; they would be referred to with their new names. There were other Indian children at the school that also had to put up with this same unfair treatment. They had to wear the "uniform" that consisted of a plain cotton dress instead of their beautiful Indian clothing.
They were frowned upon for having anything other than sandwiches for lunch, and Santha and her classmate would sneak and show each other drawings that they had secretly done. The girls were going to public schools also because the exams and degrees from entirely Indian schools were not considered valid, which is just one more thing that made Santha's sister, Premila, upset. They had gone to school for a week when Premila had enough. Her class was about to take a test when her teacher told her and the other Indian children to sit in the back of the room and space themselves one desk between each child because, as her teacher told her, "Indians cheat", and Premila walked out. She went into Santha's classroom and got her, and they walked home. Now this was a big deal to walk home, they were from a prominent family who was very well taken care of.
After they got home, she told her mother what had happened and they did not go back. Hearing this story of Santha and her prejudiced school reminds me of a time when I was in high school. I was a member of the Flag Corps, and we had certain requirements that we had to follow. There was a printed rule book that each member had to follow or we would be given marks, and we were only allowed so many marks before they removed us from the squad. One rule we had to abide by was weight restrictions. We were weighed every Friday before the football games, before any basketball game we performed at, and before the Mardi Gras parades we marched in.
Another rule we had to abide by was a simple rule; you could not miss school the day of or the day before a performance. And we had to make a G.P.A. of "C " or better with no 'D" 's or "F" 's. We had big sisters and little sisters that consisted of the members that had been on the team for a year or more, and little sisters that consisted of the new team members. My second year on the team I was an officer, and as a big sister this particular year, we had two little sisters for every big sister. As an officer we got to vote on who was the best performer for the week, I had two very good team members as sisters, and as an officer I was encouraged to vote for my little sisters for Team Member of the Week. Every week I voted for the same sister, who I felt was better than any of the other girls, but she never got picked.
The other officers voted for their friends, and never paid much attention to the lil's is I had tried bringing attention to. Well, my lil's is was voted to go to All-Stars and the highest two officers weren't. I felt my opinion had been over-looked, but I let it be. The captain of the team missed two performance day Fridays in a row so she could stay home and sun-bathe, and nothing was ever told to her. The co-captain was forty pounds over weight and nothing was ever told to her. These were all rules in the handbook we were told we would get marks for, and we would be punished for every mark by not being able to perform at the next performance.
I got one "D" on my progress report and I was kicked off the team. I was told I could not go to the performance in Tennessee that I had already paid for and didn't get my money back from. I felt so cheated that I missed several days of school, and my outlook on school as a whole went down. I feel that every person is entitled to their fair rights. I feel that each person should be treated equally and no rule should be bent for one person, no matter the circumstance. I felt like Santha's sister Premila, I felt I was being judged unfairly.
I didn't take action and walk away from the problem, but I did have the same feeling of disgust in my stomach. I had to pay my price, and I am probably a better person for it in the long run. But to a teenage girl, I felt I had been betrayed by the other team members, the sponsors, and the whole school. By Any Other Name, by Santha Rau.