There is a television quiz program for school children called “India’s Child Genius”. The children who qualify to participate in the program are extremely bright and clever, good in academics (They invariably introduce themselves as “ I always top in my class”) and seem to have an extraordinary memory for facts and figures and obviously have a very high Intelligence quotient.
But is this what genius is all about? This is the etymology of the word:
genius - 1390, from L. genius "guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, wit, talent," from root of gignere "beget, produce" (see kin), from PIE base *gen- "produce." Meaning "person of natural intelligence or talent" first recorded 1649.

All these children obviously have a natural gift for learning but still genius seems inappropriate to define them. It seems to me that a true genius would never be able to qualify for one of these competitions because if a child is able to conform to the demands of a structured educational system and these type of competitions , his genius would have been numbed  if he was born with one. That explains why a mathematical genius like Srinivasan Ramanujam actually failed in their school (of course not in math but in English and History and all other sciences!) R.K.Narayan failed twice in his university entrance examination. Einstein failed the qualifying examination for Engineering studies!!
Genius cannot be acquired, taught, developed, practiced. You have to born with it. An advertisement for Apple Computers defines genius best:
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. You can quote them. Disagree with them. Glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

So it may actually be good news for kids who did not qualify for these programs - they may not know who invented the telescope or what the parliament of Russia is called but may actually have genius for something else. Parents, please do yourselves and the world a  favour - stop pushing them to be "like" others and help bring out the best in them! No television program or competition or examination has yet been designed to discover a genius!!


1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    hey usha u did great fantastic write.iam nayenah from bangalore. in fact working for a programme on child achievers in karnataka . its due in a big channel. but write is a real eye opener on this topic. thanks.