‘The world annals is filled with numerous luminaries who rose to the apex of their professions and passions with no guidance from the people around them’
The results of X and XII classes of CBSE and most of the state boards have now been published and there has been mixed reaction of jubilation and frustration among the students, parents and the various stakeholders. The social media has been abuzz with brouhaha of the historical achievements of marks ranging from as high as hundred percent to a negligible lesser than it. In the meantime, frustration of students due to failure to enter the elite league of hundred-percent-marks-achievers led to fatal depression and 21 students of XII class students of Telangana state board committed suicides. The last year also witnessed such cases of suicide by the students who had failed to crack the examinations.
Killing ones lives in case of failure or not having been able to score the magical marks with flood of applauds in the examinations has now grown to be the latest national worry and social menace which calls for serious soul-searching. As per the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau, in India, one student commits suicide every hour due to depression caused by failure in examination. Thus, on an average 27 students take their own lives every month due to examination-failure-induced frustration and depression.
The consistent increase in the suicide cases of students in various professional coaching institutes across the country every year also presents a very ugly picture. At the crossroads of this alarming trend of suicides, a string of questions of self- introspection rise.
The most striking soul-searching question we need to seriously answer is - After all what ails our education system which has badly failed to motivate and teach our students a few timeless lessons like ‘Nothing is more important than life’, “No examination can be greater than life,’ ‘Good results and big marks do not always mean most-coveted and blessed life’, ‘Suicide is not answer to any problem of life, at least of shattering of dreams’ and a lot others.
There is no denying the fact that good percent of score offers not only a good socio-familial and individual recognition but also proves to be the golden passport of the admission into reputed colleges and universities. Good results also open wide the doors for a host of promising career courses and lucrative job opportunities both at home and abroad. But, unfortunately these assumptions are not universal truths and so do not always stand true.
The world annals is filled with numerous luminaries who rose to the apex of their professions and passions with no guidance from the people around them. Nor had they any outstanding academic excellence. They were all alone yet made epoch-making changes and achieved seemingly unbelievable victories. They were the self-made people, they were the self-taught people and, most importantly, they were exceptionally self-confident people who earned unprecedented fame and fortune they had not ever thought of even in their wildest dreams.
The USA’s most famous writer and humorist Mark Twain is as famous as for his beautiful classic novels as for his strange life journey which started from the job of a printer. They say that he had had only a minimal formal education in his life. He used to spend his entire evening in libraries after day’s job. He had had a very short stint in the Confederate army after which he travelled across the country. During this travelling he started writing what proved to be the beginning of the famous odyssey of a very famous writer. His life is a practical epitome of the bitter truth that only formal education and high percentage of marks are not everything for a bright career and well-settled life.
Steve Jobs was the co-founder of Apple. Do you know he did never finish his college education? But he was blessed with superb and sharp technological mind? Can you believe he had had only six months of college education in his entire life and this virtual disqualification did not prove as the obstacle in the introduction of a few sophisticated devices like iPod, iPhone and iPad? This was the miracle of unparalleled will power and determination for shining in one’s life in spite of insurmountable problems.
Can you name the most noted US industrialist and entrepreneur of his time? Yes, he was none other than Henry Ford, the great visionary who virtually single-handedly created the automobile industry of the United States of America. He had also not a very high formal education. He had left his home at the age of seventeen and joined a job of an apprentice in Detroit. Very people then knew that this job of apprentice would carry the seed of what would prove to be the dawn of an industrialist and entrepreneur creating a historical miracle in the automobile sector in the later years in the world history. The absence of formal education of Henry Ford did never come on his way to the journey of making the city of Detroit- the Motor City.
William Shakespeare, arguably the most famous name in the history of English literature as poet and playwright, is such a literary legend in the chronicles of English literature that much is not known about his early life from any authentic source of record. The records are also not available which can prove that he had received some formal education. It is assumed that he had not gone to any formal school after thirteen. Is it not amazing that a person with not more than middle school education background could invent more than 1700 words in English and pen a host of master pieces?
Winston Churchill is considered as one of the miraculous political figures of the twentieth century in the United Kingdom. For his wit, he is called as the quote machine. He was born in a rich family where he was provided with all the facilities for the formal education but he was very poor in his study. He never found the formal education enjoyable. He used to be punished due to his dismal record in his school. He had to suffer in military services also due to his poor academic performance and could only be selected for cavalry not for the infantry because of his lower grade.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US President, is the most unique example of a historical personality who battled an array of predicaments in his life before having been at the helm of affairs of the most developed nation of the world. His life is the saga of self-made and self-educated person who was known for his procrastination. He got the job at a junk shop where a lawyer sold a few old books of law. They say that he went through those books at that shop only and he turned out to be the reputed lawyer of his time. He rose to the US President and the credit of this historical achievement goes to his forbearance and self-taught lessons which he learnt from his life beset with difficulties and misfortunes. Marks and percent did never appear to prevent him from reaching out to the highest post of the US Republic.
The great scientist, Nobel Prize laureate and physicist Albert Einstein was truly a genius who had more than 300 scientific papers published to his name. He propounded the ‘Theory of Relativity’ which made him one of the legendary figures in the realm of science. Would you easily believe the man behind such a spectacular achievement was actually a high school dropout? Yes, he was - you must believe it. He wanted to go for university education but failed the entrance test. Finally, he took admission into a college and got a degree but this fact that the greatest intellectual super mind of the twentieth century was a high school dropout is yet hard to digest.
Thomas Alva Edison was the famous US inventor and thinker. He has to his credit many inventions which earned him the unprecedented popularity. Do you know he had got only three months’ formal schooling? He was sent back home by his headmaster with the written note addressed to his mother that the boy was not fit for the formal education. But his mother was very brave and she took a vow to teach her son at home.
Edison himself has narrated the story of exemplary behaviour of his mother, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” Do you know that the child Edison had a hearing problem at an early age? He used to sell newspapers and finally rose to become the greatest scientist of the world. His quotation about numerous failures, which he had to suffer during inventing the electric bulb, has become the source of inspiration for millions of those unfortunate people who fail in their endeavour despite their best efforts, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
It is hard to deny that good results help secure promising career avenues in life but only this is not the gate to enter the world of profession of one’s choice. In fact, what ultimately matters is earnestly pursuing one’s passion. What matters most is identifying one’s inborn talent. The famous melody queen of India, Lata Mangeshkar knew very early in her life about her flair for singing. The Bharat Ratna laureate and the world-famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar identified his natural talent of playing cricket better than others and this made him reach out to the pinnacle of his stardom.
So what matters most is not the marks. What matters most is not the grade. What matters most is our earnestness and never-say-die attitude to passionately follow the dreams, live with the dreams which we die for realizing, despite myriad setbacks and finally we end up ruling over the world.
(Author Is Principal Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Dinthar Veng, Mamit)