The mania for becoming doctors and engineers has been giving the expression ‘at all costs’ a new meaning of late.
There are factory-scale cram shops in different parts of
( India Kota, , Delhi prominently among them) which annually send around touts to small towns like mine to hunt for potential ‘students’. It is part of their strategy to find out the names and addresses of well-known schools and tutors in the town, and approach them with offers of ‘commissions’ in return for persuading their current pupils to join those tutorials to be ‘coached’ for various engineering- and medical-entrance examinations. I have often been visited by such touts myself, that’s how I know. I also happen to know that they have many takers… Hyderabad
A few years ago an old boy, who was then studying in a certain private engineering college down south (let us mention no names, for they are all alike), came to see me, and said he was looking for some ways to make money, his dad finding it difficult to support him on a government salary. At first I was enthusiastic, for I have been fending for myself from a very early age, and encourage young people to sit lightly on their parents’ shoulders once they are past school. But then he turned me off by saying that he had become one of those touts himself, as the college had promised to give him hefty concessions on his own fees if he could rustle up a certain number of freshmen in his turn, and he offered me so many thousand per candidate if I could help him in this ‘job’. I shooed him away without much ado, telling him that in my book crooked wheeling-dealing was not the same as doing honest business. He couldn’t make out why I was so furious. I wonder what he is doing now.
I was reminded of this incident by this news item in today’s newspaper, which says that now things have come to such a pass that one such student-cum-‘recruiter’ has been killed by members of a rival gang, who had earlier kidnapped one of his newly-recruited milch cows!
And still the parents of my current pupils will not listen when I keep telling them that they need not utterly ruin their children’s bodies and minds all through teenage by pressurizing them to ‘study hard’ (which has come to mean merely turning them into dull, disenchanted and dishonest robots who can only cram and then cheat in examinations, excusing themselves with the plea that they are all doing it), seeing that – so long as they can pay – their wards cannot be poor enough students that they cannot become engineers these days!