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Indian 'boy genius' shares skills

By Shalini Joshi
BBC News, Dehradun, Uttarakhand

Aman Rehman teaching at Dehradun's College of Interactive Arts
It's not clear whether Aman's teaching skills match his computer skills

An eight-year-old boy in India who specialises in animation for films has begun teaching his skills to adults.

Aman Rehman, from Dehradun in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, is also seeking to win a Guinness Book of World Records "Young Achiever" award.

Aman learned computers while his friends played in the fields and has made more than 1,000 animated movies.

He is known as the "Little Bill Gates" - famous all over the state after learning his trade as a toddler.

'Fascinated'

Aman comes from a humble background. His father is an illiterate scooter mechanic and has to support four children - Aman being the youngest - along with his wife.

Aman Rehman
Aman Rehman is India's latest child prodigy

When one reaches the clock tower of Dehradun and asks for his address it seems everybody knows him as Computerwala Bachha.

Aman showed interest in computers at the tender age of three.

"His father bought a second-hand computer for our oldest son. We never imagined that it would be remotely interesting to our youngest son. But he was fascinated by it and watched his brother's every move on the cursor," Aman's mother Shabnam Rehman remembers.

"After his brother went to college Aman used to work on the computer secretly. I was scared at that time but by Allah's grace he has made all of us proud."

Aman's father, M Rehman, says that at first he never realised his son's talent.

"My friends advised me to introduce him to some computer experts but they did not take him seriously," he said.

But after a week of immense lobbying Mr Rehman convinced the authorities at Dehradun's College of Interactive Arts to watch his son perform on the computers.

Scholarship

After seeing his skills, the college offered him a place. Within a month he had written his own program and had learnt the animation course in less than three months - it normally takes 15 months to complete.

Aman Rehman and his parents
The child's talents have taken even his parents by surprise

Aman has now applied for an entry in the in the Young Achiever's category of the Guinness Book of World Records.

"I am the youngest computer animator. No other child of my age can make animation movies," he says proudly.

"I am sure that I will get an entry into the Guinness book and am waiting for that big day."

His father claims that an Australian company has made approaches to his son, but both are adamant that they want to carry on working in India.

In recognising his computer skills, the College of Interactive Arts has now provided him with a scholarship, the state government has given him a laptop and 100,000 rupees ($2,073).

"Such is the price of a child prodigy these days," said one member of staff.



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