At first glance only poverty appears to be the common thread between a daily labourer, son of an auto-rickshaw driver and a young boy who lives on the streets. However Mensa, the international high-IQ society, finds that these children are also linked in being uncommonly smart.
According to the Hindustan Times, Mensa, the world’s oldest, largest and the most prestigious high IQ society with members in over 100 countries, has estimated that there are about six million poor gifted children in India.
In the past few months, Mensa India, Delhi, administered its internationally recognised IQ test to over 4,000 underprivileged children in Delhi and NCR as part of a project that identifies and mentors poor children with a high intelligence quotient.
Of the 102 intelligent students selected by the society, most children who scored above the 98 percentile of the population in India, came from an extremely impoverished background. Other achievers who were tagged as 'very gifted', were the sons and daughters of labourers, street vendors, etc.
Kishore Asthana, president, Mensa India, told HT, “Their genius is likely to remain unrecognised and under-utilized in the normal course. This will be a major waste of the nation’s intellectual resources.”
“We have assigned a mentor to all the gifted children we have identified. We will conduct an aptitude test in Class X to determine their strengths and weakness and the kind of vocations they are likely to excel in and do all we can to help them realise their dreams,” added Asthana.
With only 1,450 members in the Indian branch of the Mensa, Asthana explains that a lot of children who do not perform well in academics, could also be very intelligent, adding that it was just a question of "opportunity and exposure".
Mensa, which literally means 'table' in Latin, was created with the aim of gathering a group of gifted, like-minded people free from all political, racial or religious distinction. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2 per cent of the population, with the objective of enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.