Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something to ponder about

If you haven't read it yet - the son of a shoemaker - Abhishek Kumar Bhartiya - has made it through IIT with a fantastic rank. Having failed at an attempt at IITJEE and then consequently ending up at IIT and having seen how difficult life is for even a middle class student in India is, I can appreciate the achievement of coming from his background and making it through JEE exams and the subsequent opportunities he would have in improving the life of his family, and potentially the society around him. Hearty congratulations to him and I wish him all the very best.

Having said that, I want to show you a picture of his family (minus the father) (photo source: Rediff.com):


Do you spot anything odd here? Anything at all?

I do - I see a family of four kids - been conceived by a shoemaker somewhere in the early 90s time period. Let's dissect it a bit. Coming from his background, the shoemaker wouldn't have had too much money to survive and afford a reasonable, hygienic lifestyle for himself, but he thought nothing of procreating 4 kids.

And he did it despite the time being 1990s (the eldest son should be around 18 and hence I am backtracking his procreation dates to 90s), which was about a decade and a half after Sanjay Gandhi had become infamous for pushing family planning. By early 1990s, as a 10-12 old kid, I was exposed to so much messaging about family planning that I fail to believe that he didn't see it, unless he was in a cave all along.

And even the standard explanation of "he wanted a son" doesn't stand here. All his children were sons - so that doesn't work too.

So, in a society where the government clearly is warning against having too many babies, and when you can't afford it, and when you have procreated 2 sons already, you still go ahead and have 2 more babies!

Now, let me be clear - this kind of behavior isn't isolated to this person, or to this strata of the society, or to this time period. (Even a classmate of mine decided to have 3 kids well into the 2000s AFTER being educated at IIT). I am just trying to highlight the fact if this is the mentality of our populace, we don't have much chance of improving our nation. We should at least learn to do what our government is telling us, whose benefits are clearly beyond doubt.

But in a country, where people routinely die (and quite often kill others) because they don't have the basic sense of following traffic rules laid out by the government, I guess I am asking for too much.

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