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How I taught my son his Fundamental Rights!

April 10, 2010 15 comments

The Indian Constitution, the venerable very amended tome that it is, dictates these as the Fundamental Rights of an Indian Citizen.

  1. The right to equality
  2. The right to freedom of speech and expression
  3. The right to freedom from exploitation
  4. The right to freedom of religion
  5. Cultural and educational rights
  6. The right to constitutional remedies

Why am I talking about this now? Well, I had to read, recollect, revise and drill them into my son’s “short-term memory” so that he could regurgitate it appropriately if they appeared in his Social Studies examination, the last of his “exams” before he moved on to Grade V.

Finding it near impossible to get him to list them without missing at least one of them, I racked my brains for a nice metaphor, a mnemonic, some hook that I could employ, willy-nilly, to get him to remember them right.

And, this is what I came up with.

I am talking to my son here… He is in blue!

Let us take the two hands… As shown below. One hand with five fingers laid out open, and the other made into a fist.

The First Finger:-

Let us start with the little finger of the first hand. What is special about the little finger, and what do you think it would say if it had a mouth?

“That I am the smallest? That I am not equal to the others?”

Yes! There you go! The little finger represents your Right to Equality!

The Second Finger:-

Next, move to the finger next to the Little Finger. What do they call it?

“The Ring Finger?”

Yup! What ring? Why ring? Who wears ring?

“Christians wear rings in that finger”.

Great. So, we are Hindus, Matheeha who visited us today is a Muslim. And, Christians wear Rings. So, The Ring Finger must remind you of our Right To Freedom of Religion!

The Third Finger:-

What is the next finger in your hand?

“The middle finger”.

(I make the “middle finger” gesture, and confront him). What does this mean? (A sheepish grin and a semi-shyness takes over). Come on. I know you know. I am sure you have seen this being shown, at school, TV, movies. What does this mean?

“Some senior-class friends at school do this Dad! Not me.”

I know. I know you don’t. But, this basically means I am not happy with what you are saying, and I am going to express my unhappiness about it. A rude gesture, the showing of the middle finger is to express your irritation and that is why, we will use this finger to remember our most important Right. The Right to Freedom of Expression.

The Fourth Finger:-

What is the next finger?

“The Index Finger”.

Do you remember, we all went to the voting booth recently, and came back with a dye mark in our index fingers? What did we do?

“Voting”.

Great! So, when you are unhappy with the government, and when you are looking for change, you go to the voting booth and express it. You are looking for “remedy”. A constitutional remedy. So, this finger will remind you that we have the Right to Constitutional Remedies.

“Great pa. Thanks pa. We have two more to go!”

The Fifth Finger:-

Yes, what is the next finger?

“The thumbfinger”.

What is the most common signal you give with this finger?

“The Thumbs Up sign”.

When do you give it?

“Exam time!”

Why do you give exams?

“Learning. Education”.

So there! This finger is going to remind you that you have Cultural and Educational Rights.

The Fisty Hand:-

We have just one more to go. The Fist symbol.

What does this Fist symbol remind you of?

“Fight!”

Yes. So, this fist symbol must remind you of your right to Fight Back. Against something bad. Your Right Against Exploitation.

“Wow. Thanks pa! I will never forget pa!”

I am not sure how many parents and teachers from around the world will approve of a mnemonic like this…….. But, what’s much more important? – My son aced the question when it came up in today’s exam, and called me up to say “Thanks pa! I listed all six correctly!”

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