The Patna Papers


The Patna Papers

Illustration: Saachi Mehta/ Arré

Following the controversy surrounding two Bihar class XII toppers, Weedward & Bongstein travelled to Vishnu Roy College of “Education and Stuff” to get to the heart of the truth.

Since laws are meant to be broken and ethics are for lesser journalists, W&B stole into the college registrar’s office while he was out on a paan break, and came away with a startling discovery about the state of education in the state of Bihar. In a folder simply marked, “For Toppers Only”, they found question papers intended specifically for students who were part of the Paid to Pass Programme or PPP.

Under the sub-heading “Prodigal Science”, W&B discovered the following questions:

– If person A has two Aston Martins and refuses to drive either, do the Aston Martins even exist?

– Name ten places other than Switzerland and the Cayman Islands where you can discreetly store liquid assets.

– If Ramesh has 10 kilos of gold and Suresh has none, should Ramesh give Suresh some gold? Elaborate why, or why not, in 300 words.

– Explain the process by which daal tadka is obtained. Provide quantities in metric and imperial units, with a step-by-step tabulated recipe.

As part of the “Science for Suckers” set, W&B discovered a printout of the following questions:

– If neon is such a noble gas, how come it’s used widely at raves?

– If the Earth is constantly subjected to atmospheric pressure, why do so many people die of stress?

– Explain the process of photosynthesis. Illustrate with selfies.

– If a hydro-electric dam, produces 50 MW of electricity, how much hydrogen is required to triple the capacity? Explain in brief.

When W&B confronted the principal with this explosive evidence, he answered, “Some subjects are tougher than others. All students cannot grasp them. In order to help them overcome these challenges, we sometimes create our own subjects.” He then proceeded to leave for the day.

W&B managed to speak to one of the toppers, whose name has been withheld to protect privacy. When asked if he knew what element the chemical symbol “Na” signified, he answered with a simple, “Nahi.” W&B decided against asking him any further questions.