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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.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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