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Does your child feel pressured to excel?

May 09, 2006

Four-year-old Budhia Singh is no ordinary child.

On May 2, he entered the Limca Book of Records by running a marathon covering 65 km -- the distance from Puri to Bhubaneswar in Orissa -- in seven hours and two minutes.

Forty two kilometres is the normal distance for a full marathon run by adults.

What Budhia did was awesome, for man or child.

But at the end of the run, he collapsed and grew breathless, raising concerns from Orissa's state-run Child Welfare Committee. It is now probing allegations that Budhia's coach Biranchi Das is exploiting the child for personal gain.

Das and his wife adopted Budhia from his poor mother, who lives in a slum in Orissa. Orissa's Child Development Minister Pramila Mallick accused Das of exploiting Budhia; Das won a court injunction against Mallick for 'tarnishing his image'.

What does little Budhia have to say? 'During my (daily) 10 hour practice, I don't feel the pain; I enjoy it,' the little boy said.

Budhia's story is echoed in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indian children, who are under tremendous pressure to perform in various facets of life -- at school, outside, in extra-curricular activities, etc.

Every years, there are cases of students committing suicide due to the stress caused by board exams.

Are parents putting too much pressure on children these days to excel?

What are the long-term repercussions on children?

Can we as a society work towards improving the situation?

You may be a parent or a student who has fallen prey to a competitive system, or an expert with a solution to offer.

Tell us what you feel, your suggestions, your experiences, your tips and more.

Books: Creative Child Advocacy now available on Rediff


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 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 57

Sub: Child exploitation!!

In my opinion Budhia's parents are absolutely ignorant people. Which person in his right mind would train a 4 year old child to run such ...

Posted by roopa

Sub: some pressure is good

I think because of the pressure we are intellectually ahead of the western world. Our parents did pressurize us to study well and hence Indians ...

Posted by Rahul Sarma

Sub: bright boys

if child is extraordinary then why not support him,lets come togather orissa gov as well as his mentor to make a future for our olympic ...

Posted by ravikant

Sub: this is nothing as yet

hehehe... if your child is a non-quota (read unprivileged) candidate when he would be seeking admission to the professional courses in future(in INDIA), or seeking ...

Posted by sam

Sub: Pressure and Stress

The syllabus for children has definitely increased and so has the stress. In India we are used to compromising quality for quantity. Schools tend to ...

Posted by Anand


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