DailyPost 2185

Indian is land of merit and talent based educational system, in the most copybook and classical style, leaving aside some of the aberrations that have crept in the last two decades or so. The glass ceilings of marks have long been broken. Thousands if not lakhs score in the late nineties, not to talk of centums either. Delhi University’s cut off has been an academic accomplishment in itself. Marks in boards and ranks in competitive exams plaster every public domain space in the country, from newspapers to schools entrances / notice boards and flex banners etc right in the pubic space. It seems India is completely wedded to academic brilliance.

The love for marks is writ large all across the country, it is an indication of brilliance which can be flaunted for rest of your life. We made a mockery CGPA system in the lust for better and better grades, to the extent it had to be given up. Our boards / universities are in habit of mark normalization, grace marks, cutting down the syllabus etc. The doctorates we produce might be at the highest in the world. It is rare to find a person who failed in his doctoral pursuit. Every family, school, college, social groupings and organizational setting have tales of kids past, present and even future, which make India’s brilliance story. Marks and highest of the academic degrees are our forte. Purpose no one knows.

The route is known, or the rote is known; syllabus, key questions / answers, coaching, congenial milieu and what not? How many flaunt their academic accomplishments till their death and beyond their kids do it. We celebrate positioning emanating out of those marks, rightly or wrongly, directly or indirectly, at time through competitive exams. Marks based academic brilliance has a small shelf life, notwithstanding rare exceptions. It does even provide the fire in the belly, to burn the non-performance around, even on the strength of the position they derived out of it. They start talking of work drudgery, lack of work life balance, me time, weekends, holidays and what not. Such brilliant minds cannot think anything beyond a fixed monthly income and some small fixed increases.

The vortex of mediocrity sucks them over. It was always there but for forced brilliance in the urge to get marks and make a decent living henceforth. If academic brilliance does not show up even in research, where will it show up? The gold medalists end up making a smelting shop of brass. It would be a wild goose chase for academic excellence in our institutions of higher learning delivering worthwhile fruits to the nation. Stipends to doctorates cannot be termed as academic accomplishments. ISBN articles and peer reviews have their own story. Thinking is not our forte. Creativity and innovation are buzzwords for sale. India’s most difficult competitive exam clears super academically brilliant people and see the fate of Indian governance and bureaucracy. Even mediocrity would be a compliment. Can our forced marks type academic brilliance provide leaders in any field? Can this type of brilliance propel them to create organizations of everlasting value? If brilliant people are wedded to mediocrity in their performance and life, the country has no future. People of mind and heart make up a country of promise and not a stockpile of markscards, degrees, award, medals, recognitions and doctorates. Brilliant mediocrity is our destiny.

Sanjay Sahay

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