Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Students and Suicide

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"No pains, no gains"

Before you read this post, read this post = http://pricelessjunk.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/protest-at-pesit-an-account/

There are a few things that can be noticed of late. Suicides are becoming commonplace. It so happened that today's paper showed a school girl setting herself ablaze because she wanted to become a dancer, and her parents insisted on her continuing as a student - and she was made to stand outside class for not completing homework = Petty reason. Then I saw this article... And a couple of days back, my mother told me that a guy who wanted to become a singer committed suicide because his father asked him to continue studying, but then he wanted to become a singer.

So, what's common? Students and suicide. Now, before you get all 3 Idiots on me, let's get a couple of things straight. India is a country with a population of a billion. And India is a country where, like that joke I remember, even if you are a one in a million guy, there are over a thousand like you. Given this situation, and given a situation where the country is embroiled in corruption, nepotism, favouritism, etc. it has become extremely difficult to grow in a field that you like to excel in. There are thousands of people with the exact same profile as you - look around you, compare yourself with your friends and classmates and peers. If not you, him - this is the policy in various companies. Now, let's take singing as a simple example. I don't know how many of you have watched the auditions of Indian Idol or anything of that genre. You will see the whole country is filled with aspiring people - many of whom are filled with talent. And then, the judges eliminate contestants at every level, and finally declare one person as the winner - The Indian Idol - Who also gets a contract, money, fame, etc. Or at least, he is supposed to get. Take Abhijeeth Sawanth - The first Indian Idol. How many movie songs have you heard him sing? He ended up in a comedy show finally - such a good singer, who even got selected in an all India platform...

The same holds good for most other things - sports is known to be full of corruption and favouritism, where your talent doesn't get recognised at all! And when it does, people screw up their chances with drugs. So, it seems like among all the options available, two of them are most viable - at least, they seem relatively transparent. One is through education, where you study and secure a job. And the other is through business, where you need luck, money, luck, street smartness and the most important ingredient... luck. It is not that you can't succeed in the rest - It is just that the chances of succeeding are slim. And in the end, we all do things for the same set of reasons - Primarily, like the early man, food, clothing, shelter and then the rest of the luxuries, fancy cars, jewellery and what not.

Therefore, it is clear that education is one thing that has always seemed to guarantee that for us - An employment. The world outside colleges is not as easy as within colleges. If you are finding both college and work very easy, you are most likely not a very successful guy or you are doing it wrong (unless you are a prodigy, then you shouldn't read this post). Any average guy you pick, he finds that there is a steep learning curve before he is ready to become productive for a company once outside college. This is the reason why companies always have some kind of training programmes for freshers, and they teach you things that you have already learnt or are supposed to have known. Because you don't know. When in college, most students don't take studies as seriously as it is supposed to be taken - maybe they are not interested at all, maybe they are incapable of understanding, maybe they don't understand the importance. If you are the fellow who is not interested at all, then you shouldn't commit suicide even if you fail - because you don't care either ways. If you are incapable of understanding, you shouldn't commit suicide - it is anyway not going to help anyone anyway. If you are the third category, then you should talk to some seniors and see what the transition is like - and talk to seniors of all types, those who went for higher studies, those who work less and earn less, work more and earn more, work less and earn more and work more and earn less.

People often only see the success part of successful people. They don't see the enormous effort that goes into it, the kind of slogging and effort behind it. They see a batchmate successful - Oh, if he can do it, so can I... Wrong! I still remember my school teacher saying "God has given everyone equal intelligence" (If you are an atheist, skip that) But I think she was telling us that just to keep our morale up. In reality, it is not true and everyone knows it. We all don't have the same capabilities. I myself was not able to match the efforts put in by classmates who became toppers. Why did they become toppers? They put in enormous effort and hard work. No pains, no gains. If you say - I don't like the system, let me change the system, then you are most likely wrong. First get facts right. Never compare yourself or your college with a college that is below your college's level. Your college is above for a reason. You should always compare your college with one higher than yours. If their policies are more lenient and they are still above you, then you can ask for a change. PESIT is a fantastic institute, and any civilised, law abiding student whose primary intention of going to college was to study, just loved the college. It is only the vagabond types who normally have major issues. Those who come in through merit seats will never have issues. Go ahead and do a survey.

And suicide is the worst answer for anything. There are people who go through a lot worse in life, getting beaten up for no fault, getting abused, etc. and even they don't commit suicide, they end up getting tougher and stronger. It's all about YOUR frame of mind. Don't blame external factors. I don't see the point of suicide, unless you are in the absolute dead end where you can't pay off an exceedingly large loan, and people are hunting for you with large axes. Maybe you want to die in a painless way, ok, maybe. But for silly things like not being able to complete education? Education, like I said, is considered to be the Rama's arrow of success - It doesn't fail, it never fails. That said, it is not that it is the only way to success. Go and read the book called "Connect the Dots" by Rashmi Bansal. The very first story is about a man who didn't complete education, started washing dishes, grew up serving tea, started a tea shop, pushed a cart with snacks and today is the owner of an international hotel chain. But at the same time, how many other tea stall guys do you think can become hotel chain owners? So fret not, like my friend says, life always finds a way... There are many alternate ways of doing things, and as long as you can do something (legal) to satisfy your necessities and indulge a bit in luxuries here and there, I believe that you already have satisfied the basic purpose of education - Job.

Comments from Facebook

Abhishek Kodankiry: Nicely written man. And totally agree with u..
And I cant believe few idiots resorted to vandalism just coz some coward killed himself.. And I dont even see a reason why they lit candles in memory of him, stupidity..

Aditya Kiran: Super. You just mentioned everything that went through my mind when i heard the news. People will always complain, regardless of how lenient the rules are. I guess it also boils down to immaturity and lack of experience. They just dont realize that there are worse shitstorms out there that they are yet to face.

Vishnu Raghav: ‎"Pranay's classmates produced before mediapersons a letter that was sent by the college to Suresh Prasad Singh, Pranay's father, with his marksheet. Singh had been asked to meet the HoD to discuss his son's performance. College, however, denied any pressure on Pranay to perform. " --> Times Of India, a 19-20 year old should be treated as an Adult and not as a kid. Calling his parents or even trying to write a letter to inform them about his performance is absolutely blasphemous. An adult is responsible for his deeds, and some weak beings take offense to this embarrassment(informing parents) which leads to suicide. Any institute indulging in such ridiculous micro management deserves to be ostracized!

Nikhil Baliga: ‎Vishnu Raghav - Till a person is capable of independent existence, he is answerable to his parents. When your parents are paying your fees, how is telling your parents about you micromanagement? It is not that they are calling for the drop of a hat - poor performance and attendance shortages can lead to losing a year subsequently. Then there would be complaints - Well, you knew he was not performing well, and you made no attempt to tell us...

Even when a venture capitalist invests in a company, he is expected to know everything about the company's performance though the company might be run by seasoned managers with years of experience. They are responsible for the company, just like parents are responsible for children.

Vishnu Raghav: Supposedly the government of india gives you the right to vote at 18! And while voting you cannot even tell your parents whom you voted! That's a crime! Clear evidence that even the Government recognizes the fact that 18 is when you are pro-claimed an adult. Secondly it is the "moral" duty of the student to inform his parents, and not of the school!! It's his parents money after all!

Secondly if the student had cleared CET then he's obviously got a good rank which adds to his defense that he is not a poor performer! However if he was given admission on management quota, then PESIT has reduced its standard by giving admission to such people, and then massively contradicts itself by trying to enforce its strict study policy on a well documented poor performer(he got admission in management quota)! How can a poor performer suddenly perform well over a span of 3 semesters? How foolish can they be to think that such an event is possible!!??

Finally assuming that student did get a good rank in CET, there could be 1000s of reasons for him to suddenly under-perform (I have seen this in many students, some of them my good friends, who have done wonderfully well after graduating VTU at 50 odd % with multiple backlogs).. doesn't mean they are bad!! This does not give the college any right to embarrass such students in front of their parents!! the student previously known to be a great performer probably could not tolerate this embarrassment and committed suicide.. Imagine his father had to come from Bihar to meet that dumb HOD.. I am certain PESIT would have given him a deadline and would have forbidden him from attending any classes... Continuous reminders from HOD + Embarrassment of father having to make 2000km journey + embarrassment of excuses father has to give in bihar for reason of this journey = SUICIDE !!! it is well known among the circle of Bangalore colleges how foolish PESIT and its principal can get, and hope they are taught a lesson this time!! Bunch a fools they have bred as teachers!

Nikhil Baliga: ‎Vishnu Raghav - before joining the college, you had the prior knowledge about PES and its rules, which apparently is well known among the circle of Bangalore colleges. If you are not capable, don't join. The college is very reasonable, being an alumnus, I know how the college is. If you have had genuine issues, they are very lenient as well. I don't know what outdated data you base your conclusions on.

That said, I also know several students who have been studying very well, and then couldn't continue, had year backs, quit college, some restarted in a different branch, some gave up education - It is not that you are being driven to do something impossible. Every year, scores of students graduate - none of them seemed to have any urge. And what is so great about Bihar, when we have NRI students studying in PESIT. Why is that nobody else had any issues? If you are unable to sustain yourself in PESIT, don't come to PESIT. You cannot expect to merely reap benefits of an institute if you cannot adhere to and respect the rules. There are plenty of other, more lenient colleges...

Chiranth Ashok: ‎@Vishnu Raghav: Seems to me that you are biased against the college based on hearsay. Having been part of the institution for almost 7 years now, I have not seen a single rule that is outright wrong.

Aditya Padaki: Great read! When I went to PESIT this May, I was totally impressed with the newly formed education system they had. Whether or not they figure in the "ranklists" of top colleges, I can vouch that PESIT's management is striving very hard to improve the standard of education . Certain schemes introduced were comparable to the one's followed among the best institutes in the world! I totally empathize with the student's parents, but buckling under pressure/under-performance should not go into blaming the system/college.

Moreover, I personally feel, PESIT's management is among the friendliest to students. The top management (leave alone Principal) was easily accessible to students to submit their grievances. I am not aware of any other institute being so friendly. And strangely, people outside PESIT seem to have more problem with the rules than people inside PESIT!!! And as AK said, people will always complain about rules!

Rahul Navinchand: destroying college property to show your condolences to someone who just died just shows what wrong with the world today, pesit has some retarded rules but hey no one is perfect, but i think they need to have full time counselors for students on campus if they already do thats great

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Ron ;) said...

"And suicide is the worst answer for anything." Spot on.
I am CERTAINLY not a fan of a lot of PESIT's policies (the four years I spent there frustrated me to no end, and I consider myself the studious type). That, however, does not warrant vandalism, and DEFINITELY does not warrant suicide. There may be many factors (work pressure, societal expectations, personal problems et al) contributing to a person feeling depressed, but ultimately, if he or she has the will to live, they will. To hold the college responsible for this incident is absurd - finally, there is only one person responsible for a suicide.

Niranjan said...

Yeah true the success rates are less in other fields than education. You need lot of hardwork, dedication and luck. That's the reason all Parents say Study Study..

nik said...

very true It's all about the persons frame of mind and its all his action, how he reacts to the situation ,for a sane person it makes no sense to blame anybody else..but again how many sane people can you find in our "billions"..one in a million..

arb said...

being somewhat of an impartial observer..i find that most of the pesit alumni seems to have a bit of a bias towards defending their college because their experience at college was more or less good(as they were Not vagabound types sic..btw this is a pretty derogratory way of clubbing the ppl truly Not so bright with the junkie crowd) and thats how most schools and colleges work in india..as long as majority students do well ..to hell with the bottom feeders..letters are sent to expel the student..now tell me one thing..at time of cet if you thought the student was good enough to study there..how can you suddenly absolve yourself of all responsibility and just expect the student to go to a different college if he cant cope..i have personally seen many such ppl suffering due to the blatant disregard for the below average student..

Prashanth N Bhat said...

I don't think Nik here is classifying the 'truly not so bright' with the 'junkie' crowd. You are misunderstanding that. For many of it's students, the rules don't seem to be very unreasonable. For the second part of your comment, yes, many schools and colleges cater to the top half of it's class only. They don't say 'to hell with the bottom feeders'. There will always be multiple opportunities for the not so bright to cope with the studies. Of course, if they are doing badly, they must always find ways to improve or change things because if the institute is lenient, and the student continues at the same level, it is not benefiting the student at a all, s/he is just wasting his/her time.

Nik said...

A point that I am seeing people miss quite often is the fact that CET is not the only means of getting into the college - Jai Management Quota and Jai Reservation!

arb said...

Yes, Jai management quota for people like me, where the state laws are such that I was considered non state candidate by 1 institute and state candidate by another.
As a result couldn't write CET or apply for DASA scheme at NITK.
So yeah, we're both partially guilty of painting with a broad brush.