The disastrous zero

  • Episode 11
  • 03-11-2022
  • 10 Min Read
The disastrous zero

Many people ask, ‘why are there too many miscreants in this world’. It is also clear that all the efforts to change them positively have not yet yielded expected fruits. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is known for his parables. This question was raised before him also. He replied that the whole world is only a stage and a big drama is going on in which we all are actors. Truly, I could not make out anything. Plays are possible even without villains. Paramahamsa continued saying that we need all sorts of characters to make this play, quite entertaining. He also said that the absence of one of you itself spoils the charm greatly.

Anthony de Mello in his book of stories, ‘The Prayer of the Frog’, says about a very religious lady who did not ever miss the morning Mass in the church. On her way to the church, she was not seeing or hearing anything from around. Her eyes were half closed and neck half bent. One day when she reached the church, she found that the front door was closed. She pushed it again and again, but to no use. She stood hopeless, staring at the door and she saw a slip hanging on the door. It read, “I’m here, roaming around the compound.” I think that Anthony de Mello also is endorsing the Paramahamsa view.

The story told by a foreign student who was studying in the Moscow University is highly thought provoking. He was astonished to see at the marks teachers used to give students in their interim exams. The maximum was 5 while the minimum was 2. This is what the foreign student could not digest. There, even a student who submits a blank answer paper got this minimum 2. Quite intrigued, this student asked his teacher, Dr.

Theodor Medraev, for an explanation. He asked the student how a teacher could give any one zero. He continued “Every student appears here in the class at sharp 9 AM, listens to all the lectures and for the simple reason one could not answer properly, how can we give him a zero? In these cool winter days, remember that he came for the exam travelling in a public vehicle. How much time he would have spent learning his lessons, how much money he would have spent for stationery and a computer. Also, he should have postponed many other better possibilities too.”

After a small pause, the teacher continued, “Listen my son, simply for the reason that a student could not find the right answer, we do not give him a zero. We believe that he is a human being and he has a brain to think and work. Our appreciation is not based exclusively on what he has answered. We respect him and consider him as a human being. He always deserves some marks.”

The student said that he was sweating when the professors completed his answer. Personally, I also don’t favour distribution of zeros in Schools. It will definitely put off the enthusiasm within anyone. Sometimes, it may even prompt one to change profession. It shows that any human being deserves some marks. It is to be remembered that he also has acted vigorously in this universal drama scope play.

All sorts of characters should be there as integral part of any society. Actually, the villains show us our weak points and loopholes to mend. The professor said that it is important that we acknowledge all developments with an attitude of gratitude. I think what Paramahamsa said is slowly blossoming within.

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