Are we proud of Education in India?

Below are the excerpts from old newspapers.

KANPUR: A 23-year-old Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) student, Shailesh Sharma, on Wednesday committed suicide by hanging himself in his hostel room. A resident of Pande Mohal, Nariya in Varanasi, the deceased was a final year student of dual degree programme at the chemical engineering department. IIT-K officials claimed that the student might have taken the extreme step under depression after coming to know that he had failed in two courses —advanced thermodynamics and advanced fluid-mechanics.

LUCKNOW: Pankaj Kumar, 23, a student of Bachelor of Technology (electrical) in Babu Benarasi Das College in Chinhat, committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of his rented room in Chinhat area on Monday. He belongs to Etah district. An elaborate suicide note was found in the room. According to the suicide note, he had done badly in his first semester exams.

NEW DELHI: A college-girl in west Delhi Thursday committed suicide a day before her English exam, police here said. Heena Singh, 20, who hanged herself in her Uttam Nagar home, was a second year BA (Bachelor of Arts degree) student at the Delhi University’s School of Correspondence Studies, the police said.

BANGALORE: At 85 per cent, Nandita Nandkishore is among the rank students of the CBSE Class XII batch of 2005-2006 of National Public School, Indiranagar. The results were declared on Tuesday, but it was too late for the 18-year-old. It may be little solace to the grieving family of the “meritorious and ever-smiling” Nandita — as the associate principal of NPS, Shantha Chandran would like to remember her — that their eldest daughter scored a high percentage in her board exams.

Do you notice a pattern here? You do? What is it? Death? Of course. But what else do you notice? Look harder. You will have to do better than this. I request you to please look harder. You will have to look beyond this article, beyond these headlines and into the lives of hundreds of such stories in our country that happen at the same time every year to be really able to see the pattern that is stitched into this disturbing fabric.

You will have to go beyond the news to comprehend the mindset of these individuals. Young men and women destined to bring glory and unsurpassable intellectual fortune to our nation. Bright minds with strengths untapped and options unexplored. Buds that never really got a chance to blossom since they were busy nipping themselves off. They now remain as mere names in a forgotten headline with other peers who took that path. Bodies dangling from a ceiling fan somewhere or a carcass that resurfaced from a grim lake outside the city.

India, to the world, is a fascinating place. A place where snake charmers roam free and temples protrude out of thick woods majestically. A country where ‘everything is on sale’ and everyone is a genius. A gentle reminder of the fact that magic and logic reside in the same bosom like two faces of the same coin. This was not supposed to be India’s future. Not based on the predictions the super powers had made about a decade ago anyway.

With religion being India’s curse and poverty being its only visible shadow who could have possibly imagined that this starving nation of a billion would leapfrog into a future that the world was not prepared for! Not a soul could have appropriately prophecied the strong manpower and stronger willpower India has now become synonymous for.

American television is having a field day with the endless speculations of when is it that India will emerge as a super power. The international market is showcasing us as the powerful underbelly of the knowledge pool that floods the subcontinent.

Special television programs and economic forums are going blue in the face debating how India’s fortunes have changed overnight. The Indian movie industry is getting a lion’s share of all this attention and is raking in big moolah while the technology sector is said to be at its all time high. Ah! What a time to be alive, is it not?

Or is it? The people mentioned above in the headlines certainly did not seem to think so. For had they been even remotely enthused by the apparent publicity India is getting in all fields across the world they would not have taken the extreme step that they did.

On an average India loses at least two dozen bright and potentially priceless minds every single time an examination result is announced. Be it Kanpur, Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai. Some young adult somewhere has decided to call it quits.

When I used to read patriotic tales of our beloved freedom fighters who were not more than 21 when they took to the gallows with a proud smile on their face and an enviable shine in their eyes I always wondered what invisible force drove these seemingly regular people to find bliss in death. Today when I read the same aged young men and women end a precious life for something as trivial sounding as an examination I cannot help but start getting a better picture as to where India really stands.

There are many factors that drive a person to do such an unthinkable act. Strict parents who condition their children from Kindergarten that succeeding is everything. Failure is not an option. That component of fear is what grows into a monster within them, eating away at their soul bit by bit and eventually enveloping them and gobbling them in one giant gulp.

The kind of parents who have time tables of study for their children when they are in elementary school. The kind of parents who are so insensitive to the innocent mind that in the process of making a better adult they manage to successfully kill the child. The kind of parents who make the child feel worthless if he/she were to get, what according to them, is a ‘bad performance’.

The second obvious factor is our beloved education system. A cruel and heartless soul laundry of a factory that heaps loads of work for the young minds without leaving them any other option except to memorize the most mundane details about some meaningless piece of information. The monster-manufacturing unit that works 24/7 day and night tirelessly dishing out new assignments and new ways to torture the developmental process. With time this process has only become more meaningless and more abundant.

While these seemed like internally manufactured electric chairs the third factor is the world outside. The global community that is expecting India to keep pushing the envelope in this insane race towards an unknown goal. Is the need to succeed so important that it is becoming unbearable by the child and the hands that rock their cradle?

The competition in the current market in almost every field is so ridiculously Herculean that there is no way to even start to comprehend its solution, as it were. With changing lanes and growing pains this factor is only becoming worse each day. You are either in or you are out. No other choices offered.

The only question I have for all these factors is – Are we training these individuals to live or to die?

What use is this ‘cutting edge’ concept making in India if it turns out to be an evil which is cutting the throats of our future? What is the point of such a meaningless rat race if it is going to end up becoming one vicious never ending cycle of distress and suffering? What is it that eventually matters? And who decides that?

The aim of this article is not to offer solutions since the solutions are not out there. They are within us. Each one of us who is a cog in this systematic eradication methodology behind applied by the education and economic system in our country. Solutions that need to start at the grass root levels of our up bringing and social platforms. Solutions that will hopefully lessen the burden on the child who now takes a bag-on-wheels to school like an international tourist in an airport. Solutions that help the future understand that succeeding is not everything.

A solution that hopefully teaches a child to follow its own heart and not that of a looming shadow. Could this scene be more tragic? Is there a way out?

I leave you with these questions to ponder on. Meanwhile we lost a few more Einsteins, a couple of more Kalpana Chawlas and one Sachin Tendulkar this year. All hail this successfully implemented educational euthanasia

18 thoughts on “Are we proud of Education in India?

  1. u r blog looks gr8!

    yes. true! i read this cover story in one of the recent issues of “india today”. india has the largest no. of teen suicides.. an avg of 16 per day.. the major trouble over here is the education system and parents’ disregard for the kid’s ability to cope up. every kid has his/her own saturation point. likewise, the kids, these ays have less time to play and be happy. the competition is more. every1 just has to be an engineer or doctor.
    i really wish this to change soon!

    gr8 read!

  2. the main culprit is teh status phobia – the phobia of the parents about their kids not being bette than kids of the neighbour / club mate. I dont see teh point in driving the kid to achive the top, and denying him all teh pleasures of childhood…
    all this pressure instills a fear in teh child – a fear so deep rooted that, he/she is not able to see through it – the fear about failure. When this coupled with the peer preassure and anxioty factor, makes them stand at teh brink – a smal push is enough to send them to eiterh side…

    I am NOT proud of the education system… and i sincerly hope to raise my future child alieanated from all these preassures…

    good blog, sandy.

  3. @Matangi: Yup! Pathetic state in our country… Many kids dun even enjoy their childhoods.. In prev years, like 60-70 yrs back, the childhood was killed by child marriages but now I guess tuitions and IIT entrances are worst than weddings.. Parents have to realise that at the end of the rat race u r still gonna be a rat.. We can keep citing examples like this.. Until parents realise that their pressures on the children is only gonna make them lose the kids, there is no viable solution for this issue

  4. I just have one thing to tell the parents… Does your kid compare you with other parents? Do they ask you why you never got a salary raise/promotion this year?Learn to accept children and love them the way they are. If a child fears failure… then we have a stupid system of education…

  5. Sandhya,

    “Are we proud of Indian Education ?” that’s indeed a tough question may be tougher than solving Laplace Transform.

    I strongly feel that we can’t compare the Indian way of Education with the way of Education in Developed Countries.As India is still a Developing Country we are still lagging behind which I am sure of overcoming in the near future.Even Developed Countries had gone through this phase.Mind you,Oxford,Harvard,MIT,SUN are having an history of Centuries(Oxford was established in 872).If we start looking from that perspective I guess we are doing better.

    By the way from where did you get that Monkey Cap,nice one(you have one in your pic,do you remember ?)



  6. @Kiran: The demands!!! Todays demands is taking a toll on the kids.. I really pity them.. Someone shud take some step.. How long is India gonna be a developing country.. We had universities such as Nalanda and Taxila dating back hundreds of centuries!! So dint we prosper that time?? Its all our mindset..

    And BTW the snap was clicked at OOty.. I bought that monkey cap for ten bucks 😀

  7. Hey Sandhya.. I have a huge confusion… the Anoop who cooments on ur blog is NOT the Indiblogger team member na… then.. how come he took credit for it that day.. on the day of the Mumbai bloggers meet.. I mean.. were u confused? Why din’t he say its not him.. I’m sure the two are not the same.. the faces don’t match yaar…

  8. @shruthi: Yeah I was damn stupid!!! and he was taking credits.. I realsied it only a couple of days back.. next time wen i meet i ll kill him 😛

  9. hey… the pattern i see in the event is suicide and i also notice that you are very suicidal. so buckle up …and prepare for glory…what i meant is face it , face death.
    after all it is fun to live and more fun after death. i’m sure all those kids who had committed suicide are happy now… (brighter side is what i always see)
    and moreover for the sake of making anoop a victim of mis identity … you can revisit your thoughts on suicide…
    take it easy!!!

    Keep blogging !

  10. @BG: hey no no.. the pattern is suicidal in the post.. but definitely i am not suicidal.. thats wat i am trying to tell.. life life come wat may… let not education be the deciding factor of ur life.. 🙂

  11. I feel I should chip in…

    I was almost an example there (sshh, don’t tell anyone! only a few of my friends know it). Later turned out there was something genetically wrong with my head – got on Meds, and thing are alright. That too, needs to be considered.

    However, just being “spit out” of the “School” education system, I can say that it was designed from the ground up to produce Clerks for the British Bureaucracy, and it still does an awesome job at that. If only we realized that…

  12. A solution is already working the rounds in the IITs and IIMs… havent you heard ??

    its a very powerful, simple workshop (YES!+ workshop) that has enabled following practical changes:

    Enhanced sense of self-worth (and not at the cost of belongingness)

    Better grades without getting stressed or burnt out

    Improved memory…plus! a mind that is “FOCUSSED AND RELAXED AT THE SAME TIME”

    Participants become more responsible towards themselves and the social and environmental issues at large.

    A VERY HIGH QUALITY OF MIND (” The quality of our life depends on the state of our mind”)

    …it is now part of curriculum at the Hravard and Stanford too !

  13. A thought provoking article and it is a serious concern. peer pressure, parent pressure, faculty and college all compound a weak heart’s ability to withstand pressure. Amidst all this is the personal ambition to excel and prove ones worth to the others and prevail over all expectations. This makes one wonder about the kind of emotional strength that should be a must to overcome such setbacks. the mental grit and courage to never say die. does it come from one’s upbringing, educational system, friends, religion or any other.
    A need to continuously pull oneself back from difficult situations comes lot easier an average student who has seen and gone through failures and is better equipped to deal with them.
    There are sites like Extramarks who are doing a great job of giving online access to resources to prepare the students for facing up to the challenges of exams and do well enough so that they do not resort to such extreme steps.

  14. i think the cbse people are either actuall deaf or turning a deaf ear to the needs of the students.The FAKE promises of distressing never come into effect.On the other hand they come up wid loads of increasing syllabus and never to forget the trillion sucide attempts in the contry…………….With all hopes lost we constantly walk into an endless competition………The only way of destressing is to reduce the syllabus and change the pattern of studies,school timings etc

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