Impatient children: Indolent leaders


Impatient children: Indolent leaders

Education is not just about learning facts or developing logical skills.  It is also about empathy, imagination, inclusivity, collegiality, and playfulness.  It is not surprising that large number of children who may be academically bright feel lost when faced with situations of ambiguity, ambivalence and uncertainty.  IGNITE competition is organized by NIF every year to uncover the creative talent of children.  On November 10, when Dr. Kalam honours creative children, we will also meet some of the kids who sent absurd ideas and others who were also very imaginative.  Not many people may have read a book of absurd poetry by Sukumar Ray viz., Abol Tabol.  We decided to recognize that children capable of absurd thinking.  Let me share the ideas of IGNITE awardees belonging to class eight to twelve.  Last week, I mentioned ideas of younger children. 

Amab from, West Bengal was pained by the fact that rickshaw pullers face lot of stress when there is a slight elevation on the road.  He suggested a supplementary pedal for the passenger who may wish to share the burden and co-pedal the rickshaw.  Mansi, Jharkhand was equally empathetic.  She noticed that while boarding the rickshaw, many old people and women face lot of difficulty because of height.  She suggested adding folding steps.  Many children notice that elders don’t carry their license with them while driving car.  Krishna Kumar, Tamil Nadu suggested that a car should not start unless a valid license is inserted. Durgesh and Varsha from Bihar and Joyti, Haryana  also suggested the same idea.  Earlier, Ravi Ranjan and Shiv Shankar from Bihar also were concerned about the same problem. Apparently, children all over the country are voting against the irresponsible behavior of the adults.   Survesh, Tamil Nadu has suggested sunglasses with inbuilt camera to take the image of the person they meet first time and record the name.  Next time the image processing software will recognize the person and tell the name to the blind person.  Jeevan Sidharth, Tamil Nadu did not like the burden that workers on the construction site had to face.  He has suggested helmets with cushions inside.  Ankita, Punjab and Himanshu, Gujarat have realized a very serious problem of modern day and that is increasing stress among children.  They have suggested a device to monitor mental stress while studying so that they can take a break at threshold levels.  Ideally, there should not be a stress but the expectations of the parents often rob children of their childhood. 

Given the large pervasive use of mobile, isn’t it strange that we don’t have a device for transferring charge from one mobile to another?  This is precisely what has been suggested by Ravi, Sanjay and Manoj from Haryana.  A prototype is being developed and the patent filing is under process. 

Many people live in very small houses where sparing separate space, say even one for toilet pot is not easy.  People have to use common toilets.  Shweta, Uttarpradesh has suggested a kind of retractable toilets which can be folded into the wall like a closet after use and taken out when needed.  It will need new of fittings but will save space.  Ektapreet, Punjab has suggested a new kind of painting brush in which same brush can have an arrangement for changing the number of hairs at the tip.  One doesn’t need many brushes for the purpose.  Rishabh, J&K has suggested solar panels embedded in the tents, which can become raft when needed.  The tents will also keep warm in the night. 

One of the most difficult problems that traffic police faces everyday is the asymmetrical distribution of traffic load in the morning and in the evening.  Sidharth, Uttarakhand has suggested an amazingly cute idea.  If the road dividers become movable, the width of the road can be changed in the morning and evening to facilitate better traffic flow.   The dividers can be moved left or rightward. 

It is so apparent from these ideas that our children are reacting constructively and imaginatively to the problems, we have learnt to live with.  Many of the problems are well recognized by us but frugal innovative solutions elude us.  The grassroots innovations by children demonstrate how empathy can convert into perception, perception into definition of the problem, definition dividing the problems into solvable parts and creativity converts parts into holistic solution.  I am very happy to mention that the CEO of company, Milind read the last week’s column and decided to gift a mini tablet to every IGNITE winner containing all the past innovations and other content of Honey Bee Network including the back issues of the newsletter for last 25 years.  I hope more institutions come forward to support the platform, purpose, with passion to increase the national and international performance of our creative children. Indolent Leaders be ignored.

Anil K Gupta