A famous short story by Munshi Premchand —Kafan (The Shroud) — has exposed an anomaly in the MA exams being conducted at Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University in Agra.
Dozens of students appearing in the MA Hindi first year exam have allegedly written the same answer — word to word — to a question on the character portrayal of Gheesu, the protagonist/antagonist who is ironically a thief and a liar.
According to Professor Bhagwan Sharma, who evaluated the answer sheets, every answer starts with “Gheesu was a careless, lazy and insensitive person,” and ends with almost similar descriptions, in the process betraying a trend of mass copying in the exam. “It looked like a plot straight out of the realistic stories of Munshi Premchand. Gheesu eats roasted potatoes even as his daughter-in-law is dying of labour pain. After her death, he drinks off the money he collected for her shroud from people. The biggest irony of the situation is that even a realist writer like Premchand would not have imagined that a character like Gheesu would end up highlighting ‘mass cheating’ by those who are supposed to critically analyse his personality,” said Professor Sharma, former Head of the Department of Hindi of St. John’s College.
Prof. Sharma said the answers to several other questions were also similar and appeared to have been “copied from the same source.” “There were copies which had similar answers right from the first to the last question.”
Sources in the university told The Hindu that it looked like the answers were being written on a board and the students were copying them.
Pushpendra Singh, the head examiner of the evaluation centre, has reported the suspect answer sheets to the authorities.
“We are trying to investigate more into this matter. We will report more copies for unethical practices if we find similar answers,” said Dr. Singh.