Oct 18, 2012

The Great Indian Lie

You might have heard of a certain Derp doing a PhD in music in the USA; another working hard to be a professional footballer since his childhood in France; a Derpina somewhere trying to be a ballet dancer. Not in India. The general belief in India is that a child can be deemed successful in life only if he excels in academics! True, we have seen the likes to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam achieve such great recognition on the basis of sheer brilliance and hard work- but among half a billion young people in this country, only few get to such heights!

Yes, Indian parents love boasting about their kids. 'My son stood first in class'; 'my daughter can sing very well' ; 'This was painted by my kid'. However, this lasts only till their childhood.

Once a kid is past the teenage, no parents would be happy to say that their kid is a painter, or probably a singer! In this country, which boasts of growing GDPs, is there no respectable professional other than a doctor or an engineer? Why is a child, born in the upper middle class society, punished by being forced to study Science and Mathematics?

So unfortunate are the kids that even when they are not able to conquer these difficult subjects even after trying repeatedly (and might I add, sincerely), they are forced to study even harder. Think about this- if you play Zidane as the goalkeeper instead of his usual position, is he ever going to do better than Oliver Kahn? Why else do you think we have such a low tally of medals in the Olympics? Interesting fact, if Michael Phelps was a country, he would have been ranked higher than India, which ironically has over a billion people!

Add to it the fact that everyone has an opinion on the education system. Since time immemorial, every parent in this country has been preaching about the importance of matriculation to the next generation! However, as compared to the importance given to it, the matriculation has very little or no effects on a child's career! Are you given a job if you get a perfect score in a subject? Certainly not. The important thing here is that if you get high marks, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are a genius, and on the other hand, getting lower marks doesn't mean you are a fool!

Forget education, let's talk about something else. Can you name who comprises the majority in India? Do I hear 'Hindus'? Let me tell you how wrong you are. We might talk of progress, but there is none. Do you see any unity between the people? How many languages does this country have? And there's something called Caste! Do you think a so called Sudra can marry a Brahmin. In fact, what's even hilarious is the existence of sub castes within these castes! There is no group (or sub group or sub su group) in this country which can say that it is the majority! Take the matter of the national language for instance. Hindi is taken as a official language, but when it is officially stated that Hindi is the most spoken language, people fail to understand that the huge number of dialects taken in to incorporate it are pretty different from each other. But can you blame our leaders? Certainly not. The next widely spoken language, Bengali, has its own diversity in terms of the dialects!

Let's talk about something else. Being in Roorkee, where quite a lot of the people are vegetarians, I have noticed this issue. Our mess serves only vegetarian food. There was a proposal for starting non vegetarian, but it is being delayed because of many things, including and not limited to, the reluctance of the vegetarians to sit at the same table and using the same utensils! I would like to ask them one question- what would you do when you are in a foreign trip?

The constitution gives a citizen the right to go and settle anywhere in the country. Barring the ten biggest cities, do you think it is easy to go and mingle with the people? There are just too many barriers. Even in the cities, you tend to form groups of your own community. Same goes on in college- Telugus, Bengalis, Delhiites- just name it.

Sadly, child marriages are still prevalent in many parts of the country, even when there are strict laws against it. Dowry is something that goes unsaid in Indian weddings. Why else would parents not want the girl child? Why does the Gram Panchayat behave as kings right under the nose of the constitution? Untouchability, a word that Blogger points out with a red underline meaning it is not present in its dictionary, is still there. Take a look at this video, which shows how strong the urban and rural divide is!

We blame the politicians for every wrong thing going on in the country. I am not defending them, but does anyone realize that deep down, even we are to blame? Talking of progress, showing a growth in income or adopting a western lifestyle doesn't change what you actually are. People are getting educated, but these core thoughts have not changed at all!

I know I have asked too many questions and provided very little, if at all any, answers. I just wonder what would it take to change? Is it something so difficult?

I would like to conclude with two R K Laxman cartoons on the Education System.

No, I couldn't get admission. I got 82% in Math, 83% in Science, 91% in Social Science, 89% in ...
It is sad to see youngsters hanging around like this for admission, Remember in our days, we just walked in and got the seats?

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