March 7, 2013

RohanNaidu: The death of a dream

“I’ll be this, ten years from now…” my class-teacher’s neat scrawl sat at the top of the banner.
 Underneath it, a collage of handwritings wove to proclaim:                                                            
“Astronaut!—Poet—Dirt Bike Racer—Economist—Cardiologist—Editor—Writer—Nurse”

              Today, two years from that day the Cardiologist, the Astronaut, the Economist—all of them are gearing up to take the IIT-JEE(Joint Entrance Exam to the Indian Institutes of Technology). What happened to the dreams they dreamed and the hopes they harboured?  You might ask. Well, they’re just a couple more casualties on the “dream-death-toll”.
              Welcome to my country, where lakhs of dreams are slaughtered each year on the altar of “Engineering” at the hands of bloodthirsty parents. Whatever be your interests, skill-sets, aptitude or lack of aptitude for Math and Science , you will be made an engineer. Ask the average parent, “What do you want your son to be?” and more often than not you’ll hear “Engineer”.
             I do not have a problem with engineers or engineering per se. What I have a problem with is the national parental obsession of forcing kids into an “arranged marriage” with Engineering. I have a problem with the genocide of dreams.  
            Thanks to this mass murder, it is hardly a surprise then that a nation of a 100 crore people has produced a measly five Nobel laureates across the past century. The Nobel-deficiency isn't a mere statistic. it symbolizes a murderous parental mentality that perpetrates dream-genocide generation after generation.  In a country of a billion people, there is no lack of imagination, no dearth of talent, no paucity of ingenuity. It’s just that we are too busy sculpting children into engineers, we’re too busy murdering their dreams.
             Thousands of buds are blooming in the Indian society. Why is it then that parents blinded by the cobwebs of conformity choose to let these flowers wilt? Why do we allow this fiendish fire of Engineering to raze the buds of aspiration to ashes?
            The current rapacious generation of parents continues its mindless slaughter unabated. If anything’s changing, it’s the numbers…with every passing year there are more and more sacrifices at the altar. To these cold-blooded murderers, I’d like to ask—
“How do you sleep at night? How does it feel to kill a dream? It must not be easy. Because when a dream dies, it doesn't go down alone…attached to that dream, there’s another one you need to kill and then another, and then another. It’s like killing a tree. You can’t just saw off a twig. You need to chop off the branch and then slowly make your way to the bark. And only when you have finally unearthed the root, your job is done. Only then does a dream die.  You have robbed my generation of its childhood and denied us the fundamental right to dream. College shouldn't be about doing what you’re “supposed to”, it should be about chasing what you “want to”.It isn't about “arranged-marriage”, it’s about “love marriage”. It’s about getting a chance to live your dream, not watching haplessly, helplessly as it is massacred.”

             To my generation I’d say –
 “All we can do is promise that when it’ll be our turn as parents, we won’t turn murderers. When someone’ll ask us “What do you want your son to do?” we won’t answer “Engineer”. When someone’ll ask us “What do you want your son to do?”  We’ll answer “Dream!”.”

- Rohan Naidu