The social media, like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook are becoming dominant factors in what we think and communicate today. A whole new culture is evolving around them. It needs another blog post – perhaps several- to deal with them.
Now I want to speak only ab0out a picture with a message that went viral recently. A post in Hindi I got on W-App last week said a picture posted on Twitter by Suren of Hyderabad vent viral and got prompt responses from several, including the Telangana Minister for Education who, along with the HRD ministry at the Centre, were tagged in the post.
Suren’s post showed a KG student standing in line for the school morning prayer, with a half-eaten paratha peeping out of the uniform’s pocket. “Morning’s unfinished breakfast in pocket and sleepy eyes — kindly think of school from 10 to 5,” the tweet said.
Years ago the country was shocked by stories of children in villages of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu being woken up long before dawn and loaded into buses, to be taken to fireworks factories to work long hours — and perhaps die in frequent fire accidents. It was a tale too deep for tears.
But today’s urban, affluent children rushed to school-buses very early in the morning do not touch our hearts or set us thinking.
Peer pressure is one of the biggest problems our school children and their parents face. The race for smarter children, better grades and surpassing others is resulting in atrocities against tender-aged children robbing them of their carefree childhood.
The tweet was responded to by the minister, K. T. Rama Rao (who is also son of the Chief Minister), saying the photograph was touching and that children need their childhood and “not the pressure-cooker atmosphere.”
No one knows what future has in store for him or her. Every parent wants his child to study more, get better grades, get admission to the best college and then go abroad for further studies. They want their children to fulfil their own unfulfilled dreams and goals in life.
That the child may have its own dreams and aspirations, its own aptitudes and talents different from those of the parents does not occur to them. Even if it does, they are helpless. Society measures success by examination grades, posts held and salaries or money earned.
So sports and arts are considered a waste of time and discouraged. Everyone wants to be a doctor or an engineer (or a politician, if they fail in academics). A first class or is nothing great. The child must get more than 95 per cent marks. I know a boy who got 99.1 per cent marks, but could not get the No.1 spot; a girl secured 99.2 per cent a beat him in the race.
Aamir Khan’s film ‘Three Idiots’ revolves around the academic rat race and parents foisting their own choices on children. How many potential writers became unwilling engineers or poets don the doctor’s stethoscope just under pressure is anyone’s guess.
In just one year I spent out of 58 journalism – as Registrar of a group engineering and other colleges, I found a lecturer of the Architecture Department calling out, during roll call, a student’s name “Dr P…”
Curious, I called for the attendance book, found that she really was a doctor and asked her. She was good at art and always wanted to be an architect, but both her parents were eminent medical practitioners and wanted her to be a doctor. She obeyed them and got an MBBS degree. Coming from a well-off family she then joined the architecture course.
How many have the courage – or the means – to do that?