A viva examination is an oral test wherein a candidate is supposed to showcase to two good men, his knowledge of the particular subject. Involved in the viva are two examiners and the candidate. One examiner is from the candidate’s own institute department and the other is an external examiner from a different institute.
Happenings from a recently conducted Viva triggers this post and raises important questions about two other questions. Little patience from here will clear obscurity. The internal examiner for this particular subject had been selectively sending pupils for a ‘re-viva’, which means, the candidate is sent back to spend additional time with his/her book and re-appear at the end of the day. The criteria for Re-viva NOT being the candidate’s knowledge of the subject but a complex Karma evaluation of the candidate which involves consideration of past instances of (mis) behaviour by the candidate. That the list of ‘mis’ behaviour includes finding digging one’s nose a far more consequential thing to do between lectures will be subject of another post.
Among the herd of fellow pupils, two specific souls caught my attention. Two souls who for me symbolize two very important attributes of our life. If we understand these two individuals, we understand the basic fundamentals of our actions both as individuals and as a nation. While one bloke claimed that he did not mind being sent back a zillion times as long as he was assured of passing the exam, the other soul simply didn’t want to go through a re-viva and was all arms for whatever the examiner offered in terms of his result.
For me these two mortals symbolize two eternal questions: The ‘What’ & The ‘How’.
While we see clear obsession with “What I want to achieve” with one, the other is clearly scrupulous about “How I achieve it”. For one, all that matters is “What he attains”, for the other “How he attains” is of prime importance. This certainly is not a “How vs. What” debate if that is what you expect, for subjective thinking has completely drained off even the slightest of definitive judgement in me but if we look at things around us we find a natural propensity to the “What” more often than not.
“What do I have to conduct?”: The Commonwealth games. How I conduct is immaterial.
“What do I have to attain?”: A distinction score. How I attain it does not matter.
It is our clear obsession with “What” and the ignorance of the “How” that helps flourish corruption in this otherwise wonderful nation. There are precisely four fields where we Indians put big emphasis on the “How” and quite surprisingly these four end up as India’s biggest four brands:
1) Bollywood: I had the privilege of attending ad legend Prasoon Joshi’s talk where he in reply to one of my silly questions said and I quote:
“If you look at our movies you will realize we are all about “How” and not the “What” like the west is. One can never expect a story from our movies. We showcase the same story over and over again but where weÂ differ is the “How”.
2) Cricket: Very often India’s victory or loss is not the sole reason for celebration. A few questions one can immediately expect from any cricket bearing fellow after the obvious “India Jeeta Kya?” is “Sachin ne Kitna maara?” “Sehwag ka strike rate kitna tha?” “Bhajji ne kitna wicket liya?” Our love for “How” we win or lose the match is clearly reflected in the above questions.
3) Religion: If Ganesh Chaturthi was just about paying respect to the Elephant lord Ganesha and not about “How” we expressed our reverence, Ganesh Chaturthi would never become one of the biggest assemblies of human celebration in the world.
4) Sex: 1.2 billion mortals in one nation. I leave the description to the reader’s imagination.
Next time, do not forget to How the What.
I think this perfectly speaks for what I want to say. I leave you with a video below:
The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz. He is also the Founder of Annanymous a startup that speaks the story of an Indian engineer through T-shirts.