Monday, February 22, 2010

Let the Light Burn!

All right, I have had it. I just cant take it any more. Today's parents need some serious counseling. The following extract from yesterdays Telegraph newspaper will make it clear(note, I have shortened the original article):

'...The 21 year old engineering student hanged herself yesterday because she wasnt doing well in her studies. Pragati Singh wanted to study commerce but her widowed mother wanted her to be an engineer, police said. It was the 32nd suicide by a student in Uttar Pradesh since January 20........ Cities like Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur and Varanasi recorded the highest number of student suicides, the report said.
.... She wanted to study commerce and felt she was losing out on a career....'

Dozens of students are committing suicide each day. Throughout the country. And nobody is doing anything about it. Everyone is blaming the system for this, but at the end of the day, the suicides continue unabated.

In this post, I will only be posting the parental pressure aspect, even though there may be hundreds of reasons for a person to commit suicide. Parental pressure is a prominent reason. When a child fails to meet the expectations of his/her parents, he feels stigmatized and gets a strong inferiority complex, so much so that he loses interest in everything, including living. He/she considers that suicide is the only option open to him. Parents are to blame for a very large extent for failing to understand the psychology of the kid. All they want is an outstanding performance in studies, sports, extra-curriculars, forcing the kid to do something which he does not want to. The reason being: They can boast to other people that 'See, my son/daughter is so good, blah blah, has won so many medals, blah blah, achievements.' Whereas the poor child feels ostracized from the amiable social life he deserves.

The second clash occurs when a child is about to take up higher studies, or is about to make a career choice. The parent feels that its his/her natural duty to guide the child into taking the right path, and almost always ends up doing something catastrophic instead. Its not that the father or mother does not have the child's best interest in mind. Certainly they want their children to prosper. But what they do not understand that the child may want to do what he likes, instead of following his parents wishes.

For the parents, the top priority is given to job security, they want their children to settle down into a good job, and earn a decent salary. Which is why they force them to become engineers and doctors, with the age-old belief that engineers and doctors are better off than everybody else. True, we certainly need good quality engineers and doctors, but forcing someone to do engineering, or medicine, just for a degree or job, is an outrageous act. But unfortunately, even in today, the 21st century India, the mentality of most middle class people is that their children should not do anything besides engineering, medicine or management. Fortunately the upper class have realized the importance of following an all around approach, and are letting their children do whichever course they want to. Of course they have the financial resources so they can send their children abroad, where he/she has thousands of career options. India still lags behind heavily, especially in imparting quality education.

No wonder so many students end up committing suicide. They feel that they have been pressurized into doing something they never liked. They loose interest in their subjects, and ultimately in life. So what can be done to avoid this situation? First of all, career counseling must be made mandatory in all primary schools, as is done in the US. Parents should be involved in this process and should be ascertained that their child will be happy and prosperous by following the career which he loves. Parents should understand that one cannot automatically become secure, by doing engineering or medicine. If one follows his passion, he will definitely become successful, whether that passion being becoming a wildlife photographer, or a comic book writer. Every child is special- He/she has many talents within him/her. Those talents must be nurtured and allowed to expand. He/she should be guided into making the right career choice.

Of course, many students blindly opt for engineering, since they believe it will give them a job. Moreover, many of them have not heard of colleges besides the IITs and NITs(or AIIMS). Much remains to be done in this regard, to make more high quality Arts, Commerce, Law,etc colleges to come up.

If both the child and the parent understand each other, life will become much better. This bonhomie is required in the present day India. Always follow your passion folks, and let your children do the same. Its for their own benefit.

Keep reading, signing out.


sammythewizzy said...

Hey Satwinder!! Interesting read and great blog :) Agree with you about most points, something needs to be done about student suicides.. but what???

I wrote a similar article on my blog some time back.. check it out when free

sammythewizzy said...

btw i have a similar blog about current affairs.. Know how hard it is sometimes to write this kind of stuff.. really appreciate the work :) keep blogging!

Satwinder Singh said...

@Sammy: thanks a lot for the compliment and taking the pains of going through my blog. :)

Most of my friends write about themselves- like an online diary. But I prefer writing about current and social affairs.

I will start reading your blog as well. :)

Take care, buddy.

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