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"It isn't enough to pass examinations; real achievement lies in improving the intelligence. Ravana ruled over the world; such rulers are described as "Chakravartis". Today, even the Britishers have extended their empire, but they cannot be described as "Chakravarti". There are many nations that do not accept British supremacy; they are independent. Even the gods served Ravana. But what did Ravana come to? He was destroyed by his own pride! There was no one to offer him even a drop of water! A man may commit any sin but he must never behave arrogantly. Then, you must have read about Lucifer; he was cast out of heaven because of his pride!"

"You have passed only one class, but that has turned your head! If you give yourself such airs, then it isn't likely you will do well in the future. You must realize that you succeeded this time because luck favoured you, and not because of your efforts. It was blind luck! But luck can favour you only once; not always. You might occasionally strike the billet well in a game of tip-cat but that does not make you a good player; a good player is one who always strikes well."

"Don't draw conclusions from my failure. When you reach my grade you will realize the enormity of the task. You will then find that algebra and geometry are hard nuts to crack. And, then, you will have to study the history of England! It isn't easy to remember the names of the kings; there were eight King Henry's, and do you think it is easy to remember what occurred during the reign of each Henry? If, by mistake, you write Henry VIII in place of Henry VII, all you get is a big zero. There were several James, Williams and Charles. The head starts spinning when you try to recall what you read. These miserable people couldn't even think up new names; they just went about affixing Roman numerals at the end of the same name! If they had only asked me, I would have suggested a million names for the kings."

"And geometry! If you write ACB in place of ABC, you lose all your marks. No one dares to ask these examiners as to what is the difference between ACB and ABC; if you eat dal-bhat-roti, is it any different from eating bhat-dal-roti? The students are un-necessarily tortured for trivial reasons! The examiners want the students to learn by rote: the students are expected to put on paper exactly what they have read in the books. And, this learning by rote is education!"

"You are asked to write a four-page essay on "Punctuality". Who does not know that punctuality is very important? Everyone knows that time is of essence: a person who is punctual is disciplined, he is respected in the society, and he does well in life. But how can you write four pages on such a subject? Where is the need to write four pages when you can describe the importance of punctuality in one sentence? This is ridiculous; it isn't valuing time, rather it is a waste of time! This is unfair on the students. And, ironically, you are asked to write the essay in brief! Their brief means four pages! Else they would have made you write 100-200 pages! It is like asking you to to run fast and, at the same time, run slow! Isn't this conflicting?"

"You will have to face these ordeals when you reach my level, dear brother. You have scored good marks in the lower class and are floating in the air. Listen to me; I might have failed but I am older than you and have much more experience of life. Pay attention to what I say, else you will regret later in life."

It was nearing school time, otherwise the lecture would have continued much longer. I did not enjoy the food, it felt tasteless. If this was the treatment that was meted to me even after I had passed, probably I would have to pay with my life if I failed! The picture that elder brother drew of the education system, scared me. It was a wonder that I did not run away from school in fear! Yet, in spite of all these advices, my aversion for books remained the same. I never lost any opportunity to rush to the playground. I studied very little: only that much which allowed me to complete the tasks so that I was not humiliated in class. The confidence that I had gained evaporated and, once again, I fell back to my timid ways.

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  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu