David: Nanhe munhe bachche teri mutthi mein kya hain.
Children: Mutthi mein hain taqdeer hamari, hum ne kismat ko bas mein kiya hain.
David: Bheekh mein jo moti mile, loge ya na loge, zindagi ke aansuon ka bolo kya karonge.
Children: Bheekh mein jo moti mile toh bhi hum na lenge, zindagi ki aansuon ki mala pehanenge, mushkilon se ladte bhidte jeene mein mazaa hain.
Reminiscing the past, Shailendra’s lyrics can be useful in capturing the sense of Nehruvian’s socialist era, which was marked by shortages, frugality, idealism and the contentment of living with less.
About 62 years after it was first played out in R K Productions Boot Polish in 1954, socialist India has seen a transformation and has today given way to consumerism, materialism and pragmatism where flaunting of wealth is now even celebrated in certain quarters.
As the foundations of the nation strengthen so does the aspiration of its billion plus citizens and the philosophy today is hunger for more than contentment with less.
While this aspiration and hunger has given us likes of Virat Kohli, who continues to excel in his game and has become a role model for his generation, unfortunately many youngsters of his age group and below are not able to cope up with the hunger for more in their respected fields which either is not of their liking or of their unsuitability in it.
The pressure of competition and the need to excel in it is now taking a toll on the demographic asset of our country, among the three major D’s described by the prime minister that makes us Incredible India, the other two being demand and democracy.
The spate of suicides by budding engineering students in Kota may have put to light the enormous pressures faced by students in dealing with admission to India’s premier engineering institute but the issue of suicides and mental pressure is not restricted to Kota alone, which attains its popularity as being ‘Mecca’ of IIT.
Delve deeper and you begin to unravel how a large part of demographic asset is getting affected mentally, physically and socially in a bid to become something big professionally, affecting the students’ past, present and future.
Areas around IIT Delhi, such as Kalu Sarai, Munirka and Neb Sarai have become popular for coaching institutes preparing thousands of students for getting through tough competitive examinations. Each part of the city has its own set of unique centres, whether it is near Mukherjee Nagar for IAS preparations or Sector 14 Old DLF Colony for preparation of MBA and GMAT examinations in Gurugram.
Preparing for IIT JEE, Anuj Maheshwari, a class 11th student says, “Till class 10th my main motive was to work hard and study science. I achieved it and now my intention is to get through JEE.”
While further discussing his priorities Maheshwari says, “I will not completely abandon my school classes but since the workload for coaching classes is super rigorous, my main priority will be my IIT classes.”
When asked about his confidence and if he has a plan B in mind, Maheshwari added, “Suppose I do not make it to the IIT, I will do my engineering and then try to do an MBA but I will be headstrong in facing failure and not take a wrong step even though a lot is at stake for me and my career,” referring to the mishaps in Kota.
Anuj will be among the list of 1,30,000 students vying for IIT selections. While he may put a brave front in dealing with his challenges, Anuj Goyal puts a more saddening and cynical apprehension.
In choosing Delhi over Kota to save on the cost of coaching, Goyal highlights that he has a father who is a heart patient, a mother who is diabetic and a young sister to take care of.
“Reality always bites and the fact remains that if I need to rise up the hierarchical order in any field I need to be graduated from the best college or I will be among many professionals struggling to meet the ends with low salary and no raise, a situation, which I cannot afford at present or in the future”, he added.
This insecurity and the fear of failure in Goyal today can also be seen in lakhs of other students.
Out of 10,65,179 candidates that appeared for class XII CBSE examinations about 90,000 have scored more than 90 per cent. Out of 2,70,000 students vying for 54,000 seats of Delhi University (DU), many would lose out because of high cut offs that will be on offer. If that’s not all, about a million students compete for 50,000 plus medical seats as well. Five lakh and three lakh students try for limited UPSC and IIM seats respectively. Many in doing so also end up dropping seats. Even in the field of media, thousands of students apply for a total of 180 English Journalism seats at IIMC.
A disappointed parent recounting her daughters’ struggle points out, “My daughter had a dream of getting into top colleges of north campus at DU but she could not make it as she got 82 per cent. After graduation she worked for a while and decided to pursue CAT for which she dropped a year but unfortunately she could not get the required percentile for it as well. Today she is back at her old job but feels sad about herself.” Highlighting the increase in cases of depression amongst the youth, Dr Deepak Kumar, Deputy Medical Superintendent of Institute of Human Behaviour and Applied Sciences (IBHAS) said, “Suicide by young students is just one part of greater mental disorders of depression.
In relating stress to depression, Kumar added, “Hyperactivity, emotional outbursts and lack of concentration are a few symptoms which can lead to depression and often increases among youngsters amidst stressful and adversarial situations.”
In providing views on the state of youth’s troubled mindset with respect to their careers, a professor at IIT Delhi says, “The problem with the job set up in India is that we are still a service-driven economy than a manufacturing one, therefore you see even an engineer would subsequently do an MBA and try to be a corporate professional. In the longer run there will have to be more emphasis on skills, vocational and creative endeavours. India is a growing economy so there will be continuous demand.
The question is that is the youth courageous enough to change her/his mindset and create a new path that backs her/his creativity and skills or continue to be defensive with tried and tested options?”
Narendra Modi may have advised students to be satisfied with the marks they’ve achieved in the 20th edition of Mann Ki Baat, however the tough journey involved for many students to evolve into successful professionals might always lead to unsatisfaction and pressure. Structurally there is a need to create more jobs in order to absorb 10 lakh freshers every year because there will always be a change in the mindset, the will and the courage to explore new options.
Perhaps another advice from our PM can hold greater relevance amongst the youth which would be to “aspire for becoming something rather than aspiring to do something.” As one began from the music of Shankar-Jaikishan and lyrics of Shailendra to denote the trend then, indicating to today’s times, one ends with music of Shankar Ehsaan Loy with Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics that explains the beauty of childhood within creativity, enthusiasm and innocence, the qualities that must be propagated than be ceased.
“Dhoop ke sikke uthakar gungunane do usse, baingani kanchey hatheli par sajaane do use.
Bholi bhaali bholi bhaali rehene do, zindagi ko behene do”