This article appeared in the New Indian Express on July 25, 2010.
OF NURSERY RHYMES AND THE EPIDEMIC OF CRIME
The world is a violent place and getting worse each day. Bombings, kidnappings, beheadings are everyday news and several experts have debated this issue of growing violence in great detail. Some believe that we are inherently violent, some that violence is learnt from films made by RGV, and others declare that violence results from repressed sexual desires. But I made a startling discovery while reading nursery rhymes to my two and a half year old. Nursery rhymes sow seeds for crimes.
For instance, the poor kids start off with a section of rhymes dedicated to bullying. Pussy Cat went all the way to London merely to frighten a mouse. Just as Hickory Dickory did. Frighten small people? No problem! The perplexed kids are then introduced to good old Bonnie who lives faraway. Just as they start visualizing a jolly, bonny lass, comes the killer - we don’t know if Bonny ji is alive or dead kids. Kids start weeping at this news. And before recovering fully they get the news that Bo peep lost her fluffy sheep. The knave of hearts stole all the tarts the queen made, Doctor Foster almost drowned, haha and good old Solomon Grundy took ill and died in one week ho ho. By now, all the kids are bawling their heads off in fright.
Now, now, kids, here is that nice old lady who cut off the tails of three blind mice with a knife. And meet Tom the piper’s son who stole a pig and ate it and Tommy Green here who just drowned a kitten in a well. Want to eat a pie made of twenty four cute blackbirds; and there’s the bird that snipped off the maids nose. See, no nose! Usually by this time, the nursery kids are hardened and can strangle a small rabbit or a bird without a second thought.
In the babies section, we begin with Hush-a-Bye Baby. Kids are excited, imagining a cute, gurgling baby listening to a lullaby. Imagine their shock when the bough breaks and baby falls, cradle and all. Isn’t that funny or what kids? And Miss Lucy’s baby is drinking up the bath water, eating the soap and choking on the bath tub – she is being starved heh heh. And you must meet the old woman in a shoe who starved her many children (that she begat from God knows who), and whipped them daily to keep them quiet. By now, the kids are either fainting or getting ready to join a concentration camp as guards.
At the concentration camp, Jack (of Jill fame) will have a broken skull if he climbs hills and Humpty Dumpty will be blown to small bits so no one can put him together again. Future wife beaters learn from Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater how to tie their wives in pumpkin shells.
If someone were to do research, they would find that all serial killers, torture chamber specialists, wife beaters, kidnappers and the ilk, recite nursery rhymes like daily prayers. I am sure Bush loved his rhymes and Osama might have got ideas of bringing down big structures when he first he heard of London bridge. All you need to train terrorists is to grow them up on a staple diet of these rhymes and you have little hard boiled terrorists growing up in your backyard. From rhymes they graduate to fairy tales, and by the time they are done with cartoons they know of every pain that can be inflicted on man. Good God, what’s that child doing with that knife?