Stress position

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Captured Viet Cong soldier, blindfolded and tied in a stress position by ARVN during the Vietnam War, 1967

A stress position, also known as a submission position, places the human body in such a way that a great amount of weight is placed on very few muscles. For example, a subject may be forced to stand on the balls of their feet, then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates an intense amount of pressure on the legs, leading first to pain and then muscle failure.

Forcing prisoners to adopt such positions is a torture technique that proponents claim leads to extracting information from the person being tortured.[1]

Types of stress position[edit]

Murga punishment[edit]

A boy undergoing the murga punishment

Murga (also spelled Murgha) is a stress position used as a corporal punishment mainly in parts of the Indian subcontinent (specifically Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) where the punished person must squat, loop their arms behind their knees and hold their earlobes.[2] The word murga means "chicken" or "rooster",[3] and the name reflects how the adopted pose resembles that of a chicken laying an egg.[citation needed]

It is used primarily in educational institutions, domestically, and occasionally by the police as a summary, informal punishment for petty crime.[4] The punishment is usually administered in public view, the purpose being to halt the offense by inflicting pain, deter recurrence of the offense by shaming the offender and provide a salutary example to others.

Hands up punishment[edit]

The hands up punishment is a stress position given out as punishment in schools of the United States as well as the Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan).[citation needed] In this punishment, one is made to raise their hands above their head for a period of time.[citation needed] The recipient of the punishment is not permitted to join their hands above their head, and if they do so punishment time may be increased. The hands up position becomes painful within ten or fifteen minutes. The punishment is usually given for 30 minutes or more at a time. Sometimes one may be required to keep one leg up along with hands. The student is not allowed to change legs. The hands up punishment can also be done two other ways. It can be done with the hands in front of the recipient or out the sides and they cannot raise or lower the arms, only hold them out for a long time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graham, Bradley (2004-05-15). "New Limits On Tactics At Prisons". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Madan Mohan Jha (1 September 2010). From Special To Inclusive Education In India: Case Studies Of Three Schools In Delhi. Pearson Education India. p. 51. ISBN 978-81-317-3217-5. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  3. ^ Rai, Pramod Kumar (15 August 2020). TUNTUN - Pursuits of education in the dowry land. OrangeBooks Publication.
  4. ^ Srivastava, Arunima (June 29, 2006). "Public prosecution: Crime and instant punishment!". The Times of India.

External links[edit]