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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A glimpse into the life of a studious male youth in India...

Reading Dilish Daniel's candid account of the distress he felt regarding his future ( GREAT RELIEF! ) has weighed quite heavily upon my mind!  Thus, I thought I would jot down exactly what I know to be part of it, and only part of it, so you the reader would also get a glimmer of his reality!  Never would I know to actually realize just what he is going through, at his young age!

Being a youngster these days, I dare say, must be much more difficult than when I was one, and to remember those days, I must travel back in time quite far!  Nevertheless, there are similarities that even today will always permeate adolescence, be it they lived in the 20th Century or in Adam's or Noah's day; in the USA or in India! 

Within us, within most of us, I pray, there is a need to excel, to ingratiate ourselves in the eyes of those we hold in high regard, such as our parents, our teachers, God, our peers… to prove ourselves worthy of their love and/or respect and consideration, perhaps even, admiration!

And in process of time it came to pass, 
that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock 
and of the fat thereof. 
And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. 
And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Genesis 4:3-5 (King James Bible)

Indeed, our countenance falls, our self-esteem is badly bruised when it is we don’t live up to the expectations others may have of us, or we of ourselves!  Thus, we endeavor to do a whole lot better, and we push ourselves… sometimes well beyond our capacity, for the fear of failure in us is a deterrent to our doing better!

In America, even in the Western World, excelling academically is quite an accomplishment for which the student is complimented and furthered in his/her ambitions!  But, scoring the very highest marks is not viewed as THE ONLY possible alternative.  Many, most, are quite happy to be “average,” and lead an average, fruitful and happy existence on all levels, provided we know we gave it our best!

Not so, in places like India!  There, the ONLY ALTERNATIVE for a student is to be AT THE TOP, to be THE BEST, the very TOP scorer in an exam!  Failing to do so exposes the student to ridicule within the family, from the town, a hardship impossible to bear and most unfair for any youth.

Never mind that to even compete he has to travel up and down the country, paying to take exams in selected universities, of which there are so very few, with even fewer openings per batch tested, from just one to perhaps half-a-dozen, praying and hoping he will place in be it one!  I know there is not a single person in this country that can even begin to imagine the pressure of having to study in the harshest of conditions, while traveling in over-booked trains that take him from one university to another!  India extends some 2,500 miles, north to south, and 2,100 miles, east to west.

Now, picture, if you will, that you have a new-found faith, and you have come to believe in the ONLY begotten son of God Almighty, in Jesus Christ himself, but in your travels you are sure to find not many such, if any, most praying to idols, even those in your own family and town; others just atheists!  Thus, you stand out, as it is, and failure, at any level, is absolutely NOT an option allowed you!

Once in an University, study is very competitive, and partnering with others is very difficult!  For then, there is also the language problem, as well as cultural differences to overcome, and a handful of religions.

South Asian Language Families.jpg

According to Wikipedia:

"The Indian census of 1961 recognised 1,652 different languages in India (including languages not native to the subcontinent). The 1991 census recognizes 1,576 classified "mother tongues"[21] The People of India (POI) project of Anthropological Survey of India reported 325 languages which are used for in-group communication by the Indian communities.SIL Ethnologue lists 415 living 'Languages of India' (out of 6,912 worldwide).

"According to the 1991 census, 22 'languages' had more than a million native speakers, 50 had more than 100,000 and 114 had more than 10,000 native speakers. The remaining accounted for a total of 566,000 native speakers (out of a total of 838 million Indians in 1991).[21]

"According to the most recent census of 2001, 29 'languages' have more than a million native speakers, 60 have more than 100,000 and 122 have more than 10,000 native speakers.

"The government of India has given 22 'languages of the 8th Schedule' the status of official language.

"According to the 2001 census,[1] Hinduism is the majority religion, with 80.5% of the population of India. Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%) and Jainism (0.4%) are the other minor religions followed by the people of India."

Can any one American brain, even a Western brain, begin to comprehend the above, much less actually envision living in one such an environment?  This a country which language structure continually morphs at the will of the politicians!  Through what sad isolation these live, in what is such a crowded place!  Such irony!

Thus, as I was saying, whereas we can go to most any university of our choosing in all 50 States, where the language spoken is always English, granted with different regional accents, very easy to overcome, in India one such student will seldom find another that speaks their language, having to resort to English, which is the one language in which the universities deal!

Now we come to what can be said to be the worst problem in India, for which there is no solution, which is the overcrowding! 

Consider the Population Density per Square Mile alone:

                           Population    Land area (sq mi)    Density per sq mi
India         1,095,351,995           1,147,949                   954
USA            298,444,215           3,539,225                     84

In simple terms: the USA is more than three times larger, with a little more than a fourth of the population, therefore, only 84 people per square mile versus India's 954 in the same area!  Such figures are simply mind-boggling for us, yet, such IS the sad reality of the daily existence of these incredibly burdened people!

Our brains cannot begin to fathom such figures as part of our daily existences!  Yet, it is we who seem to do the most complaining, nowadays!

For the end of semester vacation to be had in mid December, Jithin Matthews booked a ticket on a train in October, to go from Guwahati University, in the north-easternmost of India, to his hometown in Kerala, in southern India.  He had no assurance that there would be room, and had to wait for it.

Such notification never came: there was no room for him, so he had to forgo his visit home!  His mother, of course, was heartbroken!

Would we ever experience such frustration here in the USA?  Hardly!

Regarding such vacations, while it is that many pagan festivities are observed with holidays, in India, classes usually resume on December 25th! 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: 
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (King James Bible) 





  1. Dearest Helga,

    I can not even comprehend the language barriers, let alone, attempting to live crowded, pressed to the limit to be 'best in class', having those closest to you shun you for either being a Christian or not being at the top rung of the social/scholastic scale. And, not being able to get proper transportation when needed! These young men truly have a difficult life! Thanks be, however, they are saved by our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. My prayers and praise to God for these brethren!

    1. Indeed, Wendi, they need our constant prayers and encouragement! May the Holy Spirit give them strength and guide them, always!

      The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
      Psalm 9:9 (King James Bible)