What is honesty in its truest sense ? Does not cheating others ultimately make you an honest person or is there more to it ? Why do we feel that our souls do not  deserve the same honesty which we feel the others deserve from us , after all self acceptance is said to be the first step in the journey to success ?

‘These were the questions that came to my mind as I listened  to my maths tuition teacher (who also teaches mathematics to class XII students at a charitable school) humorously narrating how a father-son duo  had stormed into the teacher’s staffroom  demanding an explanation for the boy ‘s poor grades in maths from him, after the class XII results were announced . The boy in sir’s words looked really peevish with his head hung low,  the father on the other hand looked furious and agitated .The boy had nearly failed but managed to pass because of grace marks ,and his father was blaming the school for it he even threatened to take them to court. My teacher tried to explain him that the child had got the marks as per  the C.B.S.E. criterion but the parent wasn’t ready to listen. Then suddenly sir asked him when had  he last paid attention to his son’s studies or if he even knew what he does everyday ? 

The man thought for a while but could say nothing.

“Does he possess a phone?” sir asked

“yes” The father whose face was now slowly turning pale replied

Sir now looked at the boy, who had till now said nothing, and asked him how much he had scored in the online assessments of 80 marks.

“nineteen” the boy muttered .

Sir further asked if he knew that most other students had got marks at least above sixty ,to which the boy replied in affirmative .

Sir then revealed to the parent that after the exam he had personally called the child and asked him why hadn’t he attempted all the questions to which he had casually said “Sir at least I was honest and didn’t cheat”. The boy who now looked as pale as a sheet accepted this in front of his father who on hearing this was dumbstruck and speechless. Slowly he took leave along with his son .’

When I heard this I could not help but wonder , can the “so-called”  honesty displayed by the boy really be all there is to this great virtue ? I believe honesty to ourselves and our work  is as crucial (if not more) as our honesty towards others. We can hence assume broadly that there are three factors , rather aspects of truth :

  1. Honesty we display towards our work : It displays how passionate and sincere we are  about our work. For example take the boy I mentioned in the above incident, there he justified himself by claiming to be honest  saying he didn’t cheat in the exams, but when it came to him being sincere towards his studies he failed. My duty as a student is to study well, an artist ‘s duty is to  paint beautifully and regularly , a soldier ‘s duty is to protect his/her nation from any enemies etc. 
  2. Honesty we show ourselves : Sometimes, in life when we when something unexpected and negative happens especially when we are at fault , instead of accepting the truth, we start telling ourselves stories and blaming others for what happened and this ,in my opinion is the worst thing we can do to our lives . Let us again take the example of  the father son duo, the father in this case knew within that both he and his son were at fault for what happened but he chose to blame the school and the teachers instead of  accepting this and ended up getting embarrassed in front of his son.
  3. Honesty we display towards others : Being a true friend, not cheating in exams, helping others with a pure intention etc. come under this category . 

Though I would say I am no angel, and all of us procrastinate from time to time ,Some of us (like me ) more than the others but we can always keep trying ,and with that I would conclude with these lines by Shakespeare:-

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

― William Shakespeare

P.S. : Do share your thoughts on the topic in the comments. 🙂

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Arunima Ojha

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