HSC Urdu paper shocker: ‘Write about father’s death’

"AAPKE waalid ke achanak inteqaal hone par apne chhote bhaai ko taajiti khat likhiye..." (Write a brief letter to your younger brother informing him about your father's death. (04 marks).

Shockingly, this was a question set for the Urdu language students of Class XII .

The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination in the state started from February 21. Between 3 pm and 6 pm on Thursday, when these students appeared for their first paper, Urdu (Index No 05), and attempted question No 9 (B), some were visibly shaken while others were enraged.

Syed Saba, an Urdu teacher with Abeda Inamdar Junior College for Girls, Pune, said the question left many of her students "confused and nervous".

Mushtaque Ahmed, a Class XII student, said, "The question left most of us amazed and confused. How can the board expect us to answer such a question. How can they ask us to imagine the death of our own father. I and all my friends attempted the optional question on writing to uncle about your plans for summer vacation. Who would like to imagine death of one's father?"

Anees Chishti, a Urdu language academician, who also served on the board of studies of MSBSHSE, said the incident only highlights the poor understanding of the board about the adolescent psychology. He commented that asking someone to write a condolence letter to his relative or friends on their personal loss was acceptable, but asking teenage students to write about the imaginary death of their father or mother was "crossing the line".

"This only shows how the paper-setter is insensitive and ignorant about adolescent psychology. I would suggest that as a punishment to the Board, it should be made to give away 10 marks to all students, whether or not they attempted the question. Suppose a student did answer the question, won't attempting to write such a letter leave him or her in a state of shock? Will he be able to sit for the examination in a right state of mind," said Chishti.

MSBSHSE secretary Krishna Kumar Kadam said the chief moderators of the concerned subjects have the authority to decide on the fate of such questions. "Chief moderators of Urdu will meet and review the question. If they find something wrong with it, they will take a decision on it. It will have to be considered the motive of the paper-setter in asking such such a question."

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