Most Indians will tell you that there are only two career fields in their country: engineering and medicine. Many children aren’t asked what they want to be when they grow up — they’re told they’ll be an engineer or a doctor.
With the recent release of “Nanban,” the highest-grossing Kollywood film ever, this phenomenon has made big news. The film follows the college escapades of three friends studying in one of the most intense engineering schools in the country. The main character, Paarivendhan (played by Ilayathalapathy Vijay), is a brilliant student who thinks outside the box and encourages his friends to follow their passion, rather than memorize answers to get good grades.
When the “Nanbans” arrive at school, their professors prepare them for the difficulties ahead — they need near-perfect marks to be successful. From then on, they struggle under the pressures from teachers and competition with classmates. One character asks for an extension on a project after his father has a stroke, but is denied. Unable to deal with impending failure, he commits suicide. Paari confronts his dean, blaming the high-stress system for this death. Through it all, Paari challenges everyone with his passion for creative education, and in the end, the students find success after learning to follow their dreams. No one is happier — or wealthier — than Paari, who has moved to the beautiful natural place of South India to be a scientist-cum-science teacher, instilling the love of learning in his students.
It’s a wake-up call in this rat race of a world that we live in, which we lose, sight of things that matter in the pursuit of success. The film hit home with a lot of Indians and sparked controversy about India’s stressful education system. Many of the things that are said in the movie are right, but a lot of bad-mouthing happens on the education system, which is not a good thing to do. But the fact that many people are able to relate to what’s being said shows that there is a problem, a very big problem.
‘To Hell With What You Want’
Many Indian families see little choice when it comes to earning a decent income. During the industrial age, the global economy depended on engineering. But while the West has expanded its job sector, India hasn’t so jobs in the arts or humanities aren’t as available or as profitable. If you are taking art or painting, there are no careers, there is no good college where you can go and study and do some exhibition — and there is no money.
It also has to do with a lack of jobs. Economically the country has to move, and then we’ll see business start changing. But until then, as long as the focus is on money, I don’t think you can change much because there are not many opportunities. That is where the government can take a step.
I’m a Civil Engineering major, but not by choice. For me, Civil Engineering is an awesome subject which induces the creativity but I thought I can develop myself intellectually but what actually played were just the confined academics and scores. During schooling I was best orator and received many merit certificates, but in colleges I was forced not to think out of box. I started feeling the mental pressure between what I expected with Civil Engineering and what actually happening in the educational system. I lost my scores, but never bothered and concentrated on research works I initiated from the second year of engineering and succeeded in first phase by developing a Structural Standards on Anti-Terrorism for India. You see it’s very tough to convince Indian parents. So I was in hell with what I want, here I struggled to work on my passionate subjects, since I was adamant with the path I chose I proved myself with my research, entrepreneurial and social-entrepreneurial successes.
Students start studying two to four years in advance for the IIT entrance exams, and they know the end of high school will be an extremely stressful time. No one complains about it because everyone wants to achieve a seat in that particular college, which is compulsory to survive in this world. Life is not meant just to earn money, but to enjoy ourselves with our passions. It’s not about counting your money; it’s all about counting good people you earned. It’s not about the race, but the adventurous travel. Follow your passions, feel the humanity, enjoy happily and successfully. ALL is WELL!