Excel at Any Cost

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 8 Jul 2024

Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Most people would want their children to be the best — to excel — be it in studies, sports, music or politics. In academics, if a parent is a scientist, doctor or an engineer, they usually want their child also to follow their profession. In physics there are a few examples of a child following the footsteps of their father/mother scientist . Perhaps the best example is that of the Nobel prize winning couple of Pierre and Marie Curie who together won a Nobel in physics. Their daughter Irene also subsequently (1935) won a Nobel prize in Chemistry along with her husband.

Similarly in music we see a few examples of father and son excelling and becoming well known musicians in their own right. Films are no exception with the   Kapoor family in Hindi films winning awards as actors or film directors for four generations starting with Prithviraj Kapoor. Raj Kapoor the son of Prithviraj is best known as an actor and also as Director of Hindi films.

In sports also there is equally an unrelenting desire to be the best — to get a medal — at least a bronze if not gold or silver. We have read about the exploits of the athlete Usain Bolt who keeps on winning and reducing the time to run the 100 m race by a fraction of a second. There are other examples of athletes or boxers or gymnasts etc who are winning awards for their sterling performances in various games or events.

What comes out from this desire to win at any cost, is of course their hard work, training, perseverance  etc to boost their performance.

Today, in order that the students may be able to get admission in IITs or IIMs or medical institutes for engineering, management or medical courses, there are huge advertisements in newspapers and other media for specialised training and coaching programs that are available. Parents who may or may not be engineers or doctors themselves  have  a strong desire that if they could not make it as engineers, or doctors, let their children get the opportunity to fulfil their own unfulfilled dreams.

A similar situation exists for admission to a college after passing out from school. The number of students seeking admission to so called good colleges is increasing from year to year without a corresponding increase in number of seats available in these colleges. Competition for seats is severe and sometimes unethical methods are used to win a seat . There are some school boards that deliberately enhance the marks so that students passing out from these Boards may have better chances of getting admission to prestigious colleges.

Suitable adverts or hoardings are legitimate business practices. But they hide a rather unhealthy or  even a sordid situation. Where a single mark or a fractional percentage determines whether a student will make it or not make it to a College or desired course.

Politics or the business sector also have fathers wanting their children to follow their professions. We know the case of   Tata Sons which has through its dedication and business acumen excelled not only in many sectors  including airlines and IT, but also in providing welfare schemes for its numerous employees. We also know the case of Sushma Swaraj earlier a politician, whose daughter Bansuri  Is now doing well In politics. Similarly the family of Nehru is well known in India. Both Jawaharlal and his daughter Indira became Prime Ministers in India. The  families of Kennedys and Bush(s) in USA are equally illustrious with their children also excelling in politics.

But to covet  Important positions in politics or business, unscrupulous methods are sometimes used . This is because not only the parent wants his children to follow the same profession, but methods — often unethical, are used. Bribes or corrupt practices are not uncommon  to garner important positions in politics or business. All practices are followed for obtaining desired positions.

One wonders if there are straightforward or clean practices for this purpose.

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Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Jul 2024.

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