Indian students archer aim for their future
If he does well, he'll be offered a coveted job with a police force. If not, he might hope to become a teacher. For Somendra and dozens of youths like him at the Gurukul Prabhat Ashram boarding school – which along with archery is dedicated to the learning of sacred Hindu texts in the ancient language of Sanskrit – life holds few simple options.
Gurukul Prabhat is a throwback to medieval times, despite being just 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the teeming Indian metropolis of New Delhi. The school embraces a systematic (or systemic?) program that insists its students cut off all worldly ties, including those with their parents and siblings.
"My parents have visited me a few times over the past 10 years, but that is about it,'' says Somendra, tinkering with his bow. "This is the world for us and everything outside seems alien.''
The archers go through their practice sessions much like others studying at the school, with a quiet confidence and a monastic demeanor emphasized by the traditional Indian dress of dhoti-kurtas (a wrap-around lower garment and a long shirt) in deep yellow.
"There are only some six to 10 students who are selected for archery each year. I came here wanting to study Sanskrit, but became one of the main archers,'' says Somendra, who is banned from
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