India's Child Prodigy, Also Known As 'Google Boy'

Kautilya Pandit, a.k.a. "Google Boy," with his mother and father.
Kautilya Pandit, a.k.a. "Google Boy," with his mother and father.
Jasvinde Sehgal

KOHAND — At an age when his friends are just learning basic reading and writing, 6-year-old Kautilya Pandit can answer complicated questions about world geography, per capita income, gross domestic product and global politics.

His analytical powers and incredible ability to remember facts have left everyone so spellbound that the local media has nicknamed this child prodigy living in northern India's Kohand village "Google boy."

At SD Harit Modern School's morning assembly, Kautliya's presentation stands out above the rest. To the delight of the young audience, he recites with ease a difficult passage from ancient Sanskrit literature.

Then Kautilya takes me to his class, where it’s my chance to ask him some questions.

"How many people live in India?" I ask. "Today there are 1.27 billion people, but in the census year of 2011, there were 1.21 billion," he replies.

"How many villages are there in India?" I continue. "638,596," he says.

He goes on to correctly answer my questions about the first human to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong) and the name of the U.S. capital (Washington, D.C.), among others.

Kautilya has an IQ of 150, which psychologists say is the same as the late Albert Einstein.

His mother Sunita Sharma, who also teaches at the school, says he has an incredible memory. "He remembers each and every thing," she says. "His mind and body are always in the same place. He only rests when he sleeps. Otherwise, he is always active."

His teacher Sarita says he clearly stands out from the other students. "He possesses a different and very intelligent brain," she says. "We try to answer his questions. If we don't know, then we check on the Internet. Once he's satisfied with the answer, he never forgets."

Word has gotten out about the boy’s abilities. Vandna Gupta, principal of DAV Centenary Public School, traveled 20 miles to invite Kautilya to give a speech at her school.

"The students of my school are very excited about being able to meet Kautilya because they've heard about his genius," Gupta says. "He's so young, but he knows everything. That's amazing."

Kautilya's father, Satish Sharma, is the school principal, and he likes to test his son — this time, with questions about Indonesia.

Q: "Where is Indonesia?"
A: "It is surrounded by Malaysia and Singapore."
Q: "OK, what is the capital of Indonesia?"
A: "Indonesia's capital is Jakarta."
Q: "What are the main islands of Indonesia?"
A: "Borneo, Java and Sumatra, but Java is small."

Sharma is very proud of his son. "Parents are only the caretakers of their children," he says. "The children belong to the country. We try to reply to all his questions and never ignore them."

Like most boys his age, Kautilya also loves dancing, re-enacting scenes from Indian films, and playing cricket. But a recent TV show in which he appeared with famous Indian star Amitabh Bachchan has catapulted him to fame.

As if it wasn't already, his childhood is now very different from that of his friends.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!