“Find your vocation – whether it is art, music, graphics …”

By Vijay Phanshikar:

WISE words these! – Group Captain Varun Singh, the sole survivor of the helicopter crash that killed the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Bipin Rawat and others. These words were written by the winner of Shaurya Chakra in a letter to the director of the military public school (where he studied), intended to be passed on to the students. In this letter, Group Captain Singh had advised that it was okay if the student was poor in his studies, but then he / she would have to find his calling – in taste, in choice. This message should be directed more to parents and teachers than to children. Because they are the ones who usually put pressure on their children to undertake specific careers, even if the children may not be inclined towards the subject. The great thinker finds this message very useful, for he too has constantly promoted this thought. As a teenager, he was very lucky not to have been forced into a career in medicine, even though both his parents were doctors.

He chose journalism, and they allowed him to happily follow his vocation. The result was obvious – a life full of joy and reasonable achievement. But not all children are so lucky. Many of them are forced to follow certain career lines which in reality have little meaning for them. The words of group captain Varun Singh are addressed to such people, to such families who do not allow their young people to follow their respective calls. Granted, kids ultimately do well in whatever area they are pushed into. But if they are allowed to follow their own calls, they lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Of course, in recent years, we have seen young people choose undefeated paths and find their happiness. Some young people are known to have made informed choices about careers such as acting or writing full time (which certainly comes at a cost). Some have even chosen dance – Western pop or Indian classical – as a career. Some are known to have chosen the visual arts or painting as a career.

And that’s a happy trend, so to speak. But that number should be allowed to grow exponentially – so that we have generations of happy young people. In fact, this is the fundamental aim of education: to enable each child to find his own vocation and to realize the greatest possible potential in it. Our young people are looking for such opportunities – to have careers of their own choosing, of their own accord. If this becomes our social norm, we will have a higher happiness index.

Clifton L. Boyd