Competition that Kills

By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

 There is a reason we say competition should be healthy. Recently reports have been coming of students studying in Kota, IIT’s and other elite institutions committing suicides. Being an engineering aspirant myself I knew how hard the pressure could be. When they use to give out results on the notice boards, people use to compare their marks with others. Those of us like me who were among the bottom of the list would get glares and snubs.

 That was almost 14-15 years ago when students would spend a year after their 12th standard to prepare for medical and engineering exams. It was norm and there were guys who were preparing for 4-5 years straight, some succeeded, some don’t and we moved on. That’s how the world works but now situation is worst then before, kids start preparing from as low as 8th standard for these exams that would shame PhD students of Harvard and the irony is that the environment in the societies, the colonies or in any other typical middle class Indian neighborhood, the family’s reputation depends on the academic success of the child. His ability or character is decided by college rank. Engineers, doctors, MBA’s are current demands.

 We say it’s a rat race but yet because of peer pressure, family pressure and society pressure we have no choice but to run in race. Do we get something out of it, no, we get out and run again for the next race, for job, for marriage and it just goes on forever. The pressure becomes too much sometimes. Who are we to call someone a coward? Have we walked in his shoes? So who are we to pass judgment? I’d ask parents to not make their children in their own image. Let them be what they want to be.

 If Narendranath Dutta would have spent his life time behind a desk do you think he would have been Swami Vivekananda? If Mohandas would have vested himself in the lawyer business do you think he would have become Mahatma Gandhi? I am not at all trying to belittle any work or job and it would be impractical to assume that everyone would turn into Einstein or Shakespeare but still, we all can have fulfilling lives. We can go our own way, at least try to make our own destiny. I have mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that’s important.


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