Adnan Hilal Gillar had failed in the first semester by getting 28 marks but topped by getting 48 after re-evaluation of his paper. Kashmir lost its future intelligent guy due to some technical fault in the system on 18th June 2015. After 2 years almost! I couldn’t stop myself to write this reality. A humble and ravishing guy who instead of revealing failure to his father committed suicide.
When Adnan returned in the evening, he informed me that he did well in Physics paper. He had asked for a continuation sheet but was not provided.
A pall of gloom descended on the family on June 18 when Mohammad Adnan, a first-semester student of electronic engineering at KG Polytechnic in Srinagar, went missing from the lives of his family members and friends after his results were declared and someone informed his family that he had failed in Physics. Distressed, Adnan’s family published missing reports in local newspapers, asking him to come back home. The students of Polytechnic also held a sit-in at Press Enclave the same week appealing police to speed up investigation to find the young lad. No news of Adnan came in the week that followed until his body was fished out from River Jhelum in Parimpora. That fateful day the 18-year-old student of engineering diploma course had gone out to play with friends, a day before the holy month of Ramadan began. His last call was to one of his friend whom he had congratulated but once the friend enquired him about his results, Adnan disconnected the call. Adnan, despite a curious student and good in Physics, had actually failed in physics and his next step was alarming to end his life. Adnan went with his disastrous plan and vanished into thin air.
Everyone remembers Adnan, a humble and jolly type guy and enthusiast, as an energetic, and talkative young man. His friends enjoyed his company until the last day of his life when he committed suicide by jumping off from the footbridge in Lal Chowk. Before jumping into the river he asked a woman for a glass of water. At around 7.15 pm Adnan dropped a close friend at Lambert lane Srinagar and then around 7.50 pm he jumped into the river and left all and everyone. He was good in Physics too, says his friend who also points out that he was facing problems with the way his curiosity was being dealt with at his institute. He was asking ‘higher concepts’ of Physics in the class. His friend told me that he was like a person to go to IIT. He was that intelligent student.
Who is to be blamed when a student commits suicide due to academic pressure? Is it the educational system, the student who fails to fight against adversity or the ever-demanding group of family and friends?
The prevalent education system is bitten by the dogma that mental growth is far more important and relevant than physical or spiritual growth. The calendar of events at any level of the system shows its unfulfilled hunger to constantly judge the well-being of a student based on a few paltry numbers. And it is because of the system’s addiction for numbers that the whole relevance of education, which is to evolve any youngster into a responsible citizen of the society, is lost and gets reduced to a rat race where scoring is all that matters; by hook or by crook. The level of competition which is prevalent right now is unprecedented. In such times, the 21st-century student is expected to be well equipped with both intelligent quotient (IQ) as well as an emotional quotient (EQ). On the one hand, the student is expected to be creative enough to keep up with the times while on the other hand there are expectations to demonstrate emotional stability to handle the stress of change. But we need to realize that not everyone is a born Einstein or a Newton. Different individuals have different talents and different learning abilities. But the system places so much stress on book learning that all other talents get overshadowed by a person’s ability to memorize facts and then to reproduce them in the examination. There are prospects of having to face unfavourable results. What does a student do in case he/she fails an exam? Is suicide one and the only answer to this problem?
As for poor results, it is very important to put the marks that we obtain in our life’s perspective. Only then we can realize how small and insignificant portion of our life do they cover. They are merely stepping stones towards opening some doors that will help us achieve our goals. There isn’t going to be any shortage of opportunities in our lives. If one door shuts, another is prospected to open soon. One must always keep in mind that the best learning in life usually happens from failure.
Finally, the third part of the system “family”. Although their role is the most downplayed one, yet their impact on a student’s life is usually what determines the way he/she responds to the situations thrown by life. An ever demanding set of peers, who constantly pressurize a child to perform at the topmost level, leave the child with very little choice in case the results dip on the wrong side of the line. On the other hand, parents who are supportive of their wards and are prepared to have their backs in case their pupil stumbles at any juncture, cultivate the importance of support and a never give up a spirit which, in present times, is of utmost importance.
It is important that a child is taught to be competitive and made to challenge his/her abilities from time to time. But at the same time, a student must also be taught that winning isn’t everything. Going out there and giving your best is what matters. Success and failure are just classifications put up by the world to segregate our efforts. At the end of the day, a person’s biggest competitor is his own self.
In the state like ours, which accounts for the most number of suicides in the world (age group of 15-24), something needs to be done urgently. The change in the education system is not going to happen overnight. It will take a good amount of time. The policymakers are too busy with their own fray to stay in power, to undertake definite actions for the system’s enhancement. What we, as individuals can do is to work on the ‘student’ and ‘family’ part of the system? M. K. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It is the time we implement this saying and become more flexible in our manners to stop this uncalled loss of young lives. There should be a serious evaluation and the result should be displayed after proper scrutiny of papers so that we will not lose more intellectual minds and precious lives.
Author is a computer engineer and can be reached at email@example.com.