Saturday, December 30, 2006

Getting good grades can be immoral too!

Starting with inspirations: For this blog, it was an Ethics lecture where we were given a case and asked to decide on whether the guy (the protagonist, if u will, of the case!) should pay the bribe or not...the said bribe being towards getting a contract. Our discussions happened in spurts, like this:

A: Abey kaise justify karenge?
B: Bol dete hain ki bribe de de saala.
C: Pagal hai kya, grades ki vaat lagwayega kya?
D: Yeh to hai.
E: To phir kuch soch na, ki kaise lapetein.
B&E (together, and taking a lot of pleasure in it): C ko hi bolne dete hain...mast phenkta hai!
C (in consternation): No way !!!

And this is how it always went...for us, for many others too!

Got me thinking: What was more immoral? The fact that we believed that the guy shd pay the bribe or that we said one thing when we believed in sumthng else...esp. in the ETHICS lecture. Which brings me to a more pressing point: Are we wrong in the first place? For, believing in something like we did (that the guy shd pay the bribe) can't be unethical...for it was just a viewpoint we had. The only action that we performed wrongly could have been...Saying that the guy shouldn't have paid the bribe to the prof when we believed in sumthng else. And in this case, whose fault would it be? Ours or the prof's, who did not create an atmosphere in the class where we could freely speak what we felt and thought(or is it just one of the umpteenth cases of ppl blaming the system!). I dont have answers to these...

But this got me thinking on somethng else entirely. Something which is a part of our everyday lives (and for many of us, the sole purpose of existence)...GRADES!

What would u say if I put this forth: Getting good grades can be immoral !

Sorry, that was just a cheap Mktg effort..of course, I wont justify anything as definitive...for its not something like science where u get anwers at the end. All I can do is present scenarios and let u judge for urself.

Some societies/individuals consider pre-marital sex wrong. Others don't. In one society, indulging in it would be immoral, in some others it would be pretty common. So what is morality? It all depends on one's premise. U r immoral when u do what u don't believe in. But then, does that justify a thief's stealing? Again, I won't go into the fact that most of the world's biggest loots in history have very often been considered good and have been read by us as such in our history textbooks. However, there are some Generally-Accepted-Principles, going against which would be immoral and very often a crime like thievery, corruption etc.

Grades, though. There are no rules written down on whether getting good/bad grades are moral/immoral. However, deciding on what is right and what is not depends on one's premises. One person believes that the very purpose of going thru 4/3/2 yrs of studies is to get good grades and hence good placements/jobs/money. These guys study and slog it out over every subject,not giving thought to the fact that the prof is a fool and what all he has taught amounts to zilch and that in the subject we would be better off reading by ourselves, topics we consider important. Not giving thought to anything else except for their goal: Grades.

There would be others still who would study and do well in subjects they actually like and at times, go deeper into some of them, while in "many" others, where the prof's dishing out a pile of shit ( and considering the fact that teachers are what they are and that law of averages would lead to a conclusion that there would be scores of average teachers and a few which are good or bad...the "many" earlier could very well be "most") they would hardly study. They would be believing in: U don't study just for the heck of it for it doesnt gain u anythng, u study wat u find interesting and worth spending time over and which knowledge gained, u wd want to carry thruout ur life.

There would be a 3rd class of students still. Their aim is to have fun and live life to the fullest. They would hardly study, party most of the time, get low grades and be pretty pleased with themselves. Maybe they have a secure future; maybe they were forced into the place by their peers/parents and find the whole thing a sham. They believe that studies won't give them anything worth the effort. Maybe they are right; being in their shoes, maybe they dont need the education or the grades.

All the 3 classes have their own premises. Who am I or anybody else to say that one of them is right and the others wrong? They all have their own beliefs. And since, noone is affecting anyone else, none of the premises is strictly right or wrong. Which of these is the correct premise depends on you. Whether there is just one or more than one which are correct is again for u to decide. What was the reason u came to the present place? Did u come for the correct reason? Is the reason u believe in as being correct, actually is? All questions for which only u know the answer...

Finally, is there anything like a "moral standing" and can morals be associated with grades? I believe that they can and hence have written this. U might choose to believe otherwise. The whole moral-immoral thing is, in fact, your call entirely...

However, as I said earlier: Getting good grades can be immoral too...


mathai said...


A masterful expose. But what is YOUR position? What if there is no RIGHT position except like a house of cards we stand together, leaning this way and that. Yet keeping the house together?

Manish Khamesra said...

i have always believed that there are only 2 kinds of ppl who study hard in every subject that they are made to study:

1. Those who are foolish
2. Those who are unsure about their own capabilities and intelligence and try to make up for it with good grades

and unfortunately, i have my 24 years of experience on the back of which i say this. I have seen all toppers that there ever were and each of them, invariably, fall into one of the two categories. and more often than not, in the 1st category...for those who turn out to be toppers are very rarely unsure of themselves (atleast not obviously). and no, am not being anything other than honest (as i see and believe it)...

AjiNIMC said...

Came to your blog from , the blog hunt for business school.

Shailesh said...

Hey Manish,

I read most of your recent posts. Must say your thoughts are strikingly original and different.

Happy blogging.

- Shailesh

Manish Khamesra said...

Thanks Shailesh...just try to reason things out common-sensically :)

harsh said...

similar thoughts plague our ethics course too! Dot on target! :)