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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kota suicides: In this coaching hotspot, stress snuffs out lives - Hindustan Times


  • Urvashi Dev Rawal and Aabshar Quazi, Hindustan Times, KotaUpdated: Oct 19, 2015 18:00 IST
More than 1,00,000 teenagers head to coaching institutes in Kota every year with the dream of cracking IIT or medical exams. (AH Zaidi/HT Photo)

Sohanlal Sirvi had just returned home for lunch from his farm when he got a call from Kota in south Rajasthan that his 17-year-old son, who was taking coaching classes in the small town, had committed suicide.

His son, Tara Chand, enrolled at the Allen Career Institute for a two-year pre-medical coaching course last year. His performance was good, but he decided to take a break a few months ago to prepare for his Class 12 board exams as he was not able to cope with both.

“I still don’t know what drove him to commit suicide,” says Sirvi, a farmer from Dornari village, about 300 km south of Jaipur. “We supported his decision. We didn’t want him to be overburdened.”

Like Tara Chand, more than 1,00,000 teenagers head to coaching institutes in Kota every year with dreams of cracking the highly competitive Indian Institute of Technology or medical entrance exams.

The rigorous study schedule, high-pressure environment, competitive exams and stress of living alone take a toll on many students, pushing some of them to commit suicide.

According to Kota Police data, 72 students have committed suicide in the past five years. Police officer Bhagwat Singh Hingad said many students come from humble backgrounds and are burdened by expectations of parents.

He said, “Parents on average spend around Rs 2.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh every year on coaching. When their children find themselves lagging, they feel guilty and can go into depression.”