A second suicide within a span of 20 days rocked the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in West Bengal last week. A 22-year old fourth-year student of aerospace engineering, hailing from Kerala was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his room in the Nehru Hall of Residence.
A suicide note found in the student’s room read ‘let me sleep’. The kid who decided to call it quits would set his alarm at 2 am every night (probably to meet deadlines of a rigorous course). Early last Friday, the alarm did not stop ringing. Other students suspected something amiss. What they saw when the police opened the locked room was the dead body of yet another ‘bright kid’ hanging from a ceiling fan. His friends claim he had been depressed during the past few months. He did not take an exam on the day he decided ‘to quit’.
This is the third student to commit suicide on the campus this year and second within a month. On April 1, a fourth-year electrical engineering student from Andhra Pradesh decided to end it all before a speeding train on a track not far from the IIT campus. Though the police blamed depression as the cause, the boy’s father has called for a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe to rule out harassment by his classmates.
Is there something wrong with IIT, Kharagpur? Is it a jinxed college?……a slaughterhouse?
Absolutely not! What is jinxed is the skewed parenting in modern-day Indian society.
The blame for these so-called ‘bright kids’ deciding to ‘sleep’ as demanded by that 22-year old aeronautical engineering student lies entirely on the door step of their overambitious and overzealous parents. Who, the minute they realize their offspring is unfortunately ‘bright’ academically, prime them; rather indoctrinate them with the idea of pursuing much sought after and ‘prestigious’ professions like engineering and medicine from sought after ‘premier institutions’ of the country like IITs for the former and central institutes for the latter. This, often through extreme cajoling, and even physical threats and emotional arm-twisting, caring two hoots for the “bright kids”’ aptitude and dreams. Parents adopt the academic brilliance of their children as an opportunity to realize their own dreams that failed to actualize. A method To compensate their own failure through their ‘bright children’, who might not be equipped to go through the rigors and stress of demanding courses in those seeming torture chambers, where friends are competitors, enemies and backstabbers. Where teachers are their tormentors, torturers and highjackers of their dreams. Their dream to become a photographer, an artist a designer or a musician is replaced with night mares of having to become a rocket scientist, a chartered accountant, an engineer, or ‘at least a MBBS doctor’! They are programmed to bear their parents’ dreams and ensure their realization.
This, as if only engineering, medicine and Chartered accountancy are the only professions that has the society sit up and take notice. All other profession are considered ‘below dignity’ (also called ‘infradig’ by Generation Now).every profession has its innate sanctity and respectability. The problem lies in the way people choose to look at them. Children, these days must be told this. It is not to the doctor who the Prime Minister of the country would prefer to approach to have one of his suits in his well stocked wardrobe repaired. He asks for a tailor. The president does not ask for the services of a rocket scientist should his footwear needs to be repaired. He will call the services of a cobbler for sure. This because the chances of buying a new pair of footwear is rather slim in this nation in which shops are scared to do business, thanks to hartal or bandh being called for every other day! You might turn around to ask me if I would be happy if my children choose to be cobblers, tailors and umbrella repairers. If they are happy being them, so will I be too. If not, they need to switch to whatever gives them happiness or contentment in life.
The ‘bright kids’ are put through rigors of having to go through highly competitive and high-strung entrance examinations, which cannot be cleared without being coached to. A seat is booked in one of those numerous coaching centers (read manufacturing units) the very moment the urine of the mother tests positive for pregnancy!
In case the ‘bright child’ fails to qualify in these tests, much to their chagrin and disgrace the parents are called to face in society, they approach one of those numerous ’institutions’ and ‘colleges’ for a seat by paying sacks of currency or a heavy cheque. These ‘colleges’ ultimately churn out graduates bereft of aptitude, attitude and interest to pursue the profession forced on them. They graduate as engineers and doctors for sure from these substandard ‘centers of learning’, with the flicker doused off their eyes, around which already are dark circles of disillusionment.
If this fails, then the bright kids are packed off to ‘phoren lands’ to secure ‘phoren degrees’, where they are called to go put up with racial, cultural and social upheaval that is imposed in their lives as the result.
After all the trouble, the ‘bright’ kid having run out of ideas to trust himself in the mess decides to call it quits even before completing the mornings of their supposedly ‘bright future’, using various methods available at their disposal. The parents in the mean time have to contend with the shattered dreams of their own and those of their wards’, for the very fault of their own. And the shattered lives of the ‘bright kids’, from whom a lot was expected.
Things could have been much better if modern-day parents take time to listen to their bright kids sing that song from the Bollywood blockbuster 3 idiots: ‘give me some some sunshine, give me some rain, give me another chance, I wanna grow up once again.’