One of the bloggers I follow with a lot interest and respect, recently wrote about ‘3 Idiots’, the movie. Iditis, being from the U.S., came out of the theatre asking whether Indian parents really were so cruel in defining their childrens’ career paths and whether Indian children, in turn, do not give their ‘pre-destinations’ a good fight. While I myself have never been to India, I can safely assume that the climate is the same, this side of the border.
I think my friend’s questions are well-founded but I also think that these arise because he/she has not experienced what developing nations do. In our part of the world, people do not have the opportunity or the resources to pursue every kind of career. A very basic concern for everybody is that of survival, so earning money is important - very important. Taxation money goes places, but those places are never the homes of the poor or the middle classes; they need to fend for themselves entirely.
Vocational training is usually the answer to many amongst the poor. They cannot afford to aim high. Many people wonder why despite poverty, poorer couples opt for bigger families. The answer is simple: they want more earning hands. These hands enter the job market at the ages of 5, and even lower at times. The only job markets available to them are domestic help, mechanics’ workshops, tailor shops, tea vendors and the sort. (This also explains why terrorists are having a ball in poorer countries. Little children from low-income families can easily be bought over.)
The middle-class cannot afford to aim much higher either. A father might recognize the artist in his son, or a mother might sense a keen researcher in her daughter, but this is as far as they go: dream, and then, let go. At the end of the day, an artist or a researcher has no real opportunities to earn locally, and that is very important in an economically struggling society. Doctors and engineers are always in-demand in societies yet working to decrease infant mortality and death rates, and looking for proper infrastructure like roads, bridges, dams etc. Can you blame the parents?
Having said that, I still support the message brought forward by ‘3 Idiots’, because for me, happiness and contentment of the heart and mind is far more important than that of the physical world. No wonder then that one will find many poor people who always have a bright smile to greet the morning sun, and a lot of rich people who say, “I need to get a life!”