The middle class student
Asif Ahmad Bhat
What actually I mean when I say a student of middle class. The middleclass in itself is a class of compromises. In every aspect of life, a person belonging to a middle class has to compromise on almost every opportunity or at every stage of life. Whether that is choosing a shirt (or Kurta) from a showroom or to purchase the same from street vendors or to compromise on his needs to fulfill the wishes of his family members. And what not!
This middleclass person is usually shy and respects elders. He doesn’t know how to say ‘no’ and is usually bullied. At every point, he has to go through the pain of ‘choosing’.
This bullied person pops up before my eyes. He has to take a pick between science stream and humanities. He could have opted for the former, but due to the economic instability, he couldn’t help opting for the Arts stream. He abandons his dream of becoming a doctor. After compromising at this crucial juncture of life, he again has to choose between taking care of family (due to lack of economic means) and career. And the dilemma is endless.
A middle class boy/student has to bear the brunt of so many things since he comes out of his mother’s womb. He is being forced to choose the toys from those selling on streets when he wishes to get them from the nearby showroom.
Quoting an example of my friend: “Sometime back, I was in classroom but my friend was absent from a couple of days. I asked him the reason, he replied, ‘My Grandpa is suffering from cancer, and due to family issues, there is no other one except me to take care of him’. He had to postpone his first semester examination to take care of his Grandpa”.
Similarly, a student from a middle class has to go through pains while he/she likes falls for someone out of love. He has to curb that very feeling for the sake of his career or family. At times, these compromises made land him in his company of bad people.
Actually, it is not just the compromises that have ill-effects on the student. But the education system or to be precise the policies have been unfortunately framed in such a manner that a student thinks or treats education as a tool or gateway to financial stability (employment) which otherwise is not been the case.
But the social system around a student is created in such a way that he has to take education or any opportunity keeping in view the financial progress. In our social system, particularly in Kashmir, it is a belief or norm that you will not be able to get a better partner until you get a government job, and in case you get one (partner), that is surely not to the person’s personal wish.
He is being pushed to walls when he is not being allowed to look for his dreams. But an order is being given that you have to do this and that without realizing whether he is interested in it or not. If he did not, he will have the guilt within himself regretting not opting for it.
These factors ruin his stability/happiness. Even though those compromises make him socially mature, they lead him to a world full of sorrow and grief. When he looks around the people of his age enjoying, wearing branded clothes, going to tourist spots (trips), doing what they like to do. This all brought to him despair and nothing else.
No doubt our elders have taught us to look at those weaker than us, but still it hurts. When you desire or wish for anything, and it is said, “No beta, it’s out of budget; we can’t afford it”.
Even in the twenty-first century, you will find people who were once good at schooling but left education due to weak financial conditions.
• We as a society should not overburden students.
• We must stop seeing education as a gateway that leads to solutions to financial problems.
• To nourish a student, state should give a stipend to each student which would fulfill his basic requirements, so that he would not find himself in pool of despair. This will enable him to use education for the betterment of society not to fulfill his needs.
• These efforts of society and state will help him to grow physically, mentally and, emotionally.
• This will also lead to a society full of peace and betterment rather than crises that are present in our society.
“Capability is in them too but they need a back that would support them to rise and shine.”
(The author is a student pursuing his master’s degree in History from KU)