Kota Factory- Educational satire or reality?
“Jab itni kacchi Umar me kisi cheez Ko chaho na, toh do hi cheez Hoti hai, agar mil gayi toh sukun hai, chill hai par agar nahi Mili toh phir milta hai Self-doubt, Jealousy, bhaisaab confidence gir jaata hai. Phir jitna duniya nahi samajhti na utna aadmi khud Ko loser samajhne lagta hai. Tab phir koi bhi accha college mil jaye, accha nahi lagta. IIT toh nahi hai na.”- A dialogue from Kota factory.
Located on the beautiful banks of Chambal River, this small town is distinctive in its nature having stunning paintings, palaces, museums and places of worship! Kota, a small town situated in Rajasthan doesn’t only stand out having number of quality coaching centers and IIT institutes but also breaks the record of having highest suicide rates in India. And why not? With having such marvelous study centers it also invites stress, pressure and tension which frequently results in suicide. TVF originals, the ‘Kota Factory’ too directly stresses out the question on our educational system depicting the harsh truth students face once they enter the town. But is Kota Factory just an educational satire or have something more to tell?
Raging suicide rates in Kota!
India ranks second on student suicide globally. Close to 800 000 people lose their lives due to suicide every year; this translates to one person every 40 seconds. And this does not even include failed suicide attempts. About 20% of teens develops depression before they reach adulthood and sadly only 30% of depressed teens are being treated. It’s like a widespread malady that had eloped the whole world like a smoke dark enough to doom.
According to the police report of 2014, a total of 73 students committed suicide in past 5 years in Kota. A girl in her last note wrote that the coaching institutes here ‘sucks’. In her 5 page long suicide note, she disclosed the chilling details of her life which includes hopelessness, not meeting the expectations of her parents and most of all not cracking the IIT! We wonder how tough it would have been for one to take their own life just because of an exam. So many aspiring engineers of the country fails to live just because of our disturbed education system. According to the Counsellors, they get more frantic calls in the night when students are unable to sleep because of high stress and tension. Another horrific fact of this menace is that even parents themselves don’t realize the pressure their kids been put into.
In one account, a doctor from psychiatric hospital says that she received a 17 years old patient who was diagnosed with acute depression. The parents found her suicide note in her notebook and took her to the hospital while she was kept on 24*7 suicide watch. Her grandfather hoped that the doctor could treat her sooner so that she could not miss her examination! The Doctor said that very often it’s the parents or the guardians that needs counselling more than the child itself. Additionally these coaching institutes can cost up to 200,000 rupees which is a significant amount for any middle class family of India. But despite of such a huge amount, parents willingly force their kids to join them in order to crack such IIT’s and IIM’s. It’s like a protocol every Indian parent follow which says that either their child can become a doctor or an engineer, anything apart from it doesn’t falls in the list. Breeding on this stigma, the coaching institutes in India, today, has become a multi dollar business. Government data revealed that this is a $4bn industry. And why not? Almost 1.4 million students every year take the admission exam for the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology. But fewer than 10,000 are accepted! ‘See the pressure’. Many billboards across the city of Kota are highlighted with big pictures of the students who excelled and cracked the examination, and seeing those several others are pressured to walk down the same path, willingly or unwillingly. Even the teachers are portrayed as star teacher who taught them are praised like celebrities. All these together sums up into a misery which is forced upon the students.
Thousands of Indian students didn’t just hit youth and grow up, majority of them lose a part of themselves in these muddy roads of coaching institutes, dusty piles of guiding manuals resulting in becoming faceless members of an horde branded ‘failure’ at the simple age of 15 to 20. In easy words such coaching institutes are nothing less than a battleground shedding sweat and tears! The TVF original ‘Kota factory’ tell tales of the life of students in the city of Kota, and their efforts to get into IIT! This eye opening series shows how a teenager, who is still not an adult, had to concentrate on studies despite of all sorts of pressure, their friendship and the infatuations. The best thing about this show is that it beautifully portrays life of these students away from their home and the hard hitting question- How are they going to choose their aims before their relationships? In the words of the series itself – “ye age hi esi hai ke hamein aage kya hoga woh nahi dikhta. Jab ek saal dosti ke baad end mein result nahi aata na toh un memories ko bhi yaad karne ka mann nahi karta!” So, now you know where the misery lies, and the question is up to you- will you choose the same or fight back on it?