But the Obvious!

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Bureaucratic parlance – What Vs. Why

Posted by Irus on June 11, 2007

What is what and what is why? why is what and why is why?

Which of the above two question makes grammatical sense as it is ? It’s quite obvious the former question.

It is stated most often in this world that he who goes to the root cause is the one who can deal best with the issue. At other times it is said not he who asks ‘what’ but he who asks ‘why’ is miles ahead. Let’s take a simple example to prove the importance of what if not its superiority.

Suppose an IPS/IAS officer faces trouble with a mob vandalizing his district. He comes to the scene and tries to take a note of what happened.

The “What” route.

Q1 What happened?

Q2 What is to be done?

Q3 What does the rule book say?

Q4 What does the senior say?

Q5 What does common sense say?

Finally apply the solution and the situation is resolved.

The “Why” route.

Q1 Why did it happen?

Q2 Why was this not averted?

Then if the person in charge is smart he takes the ‘What’ route and otherwise he gets bogged down by the reformist stand. In case he continues the ‘why’ approach eventually he will fail at serving the system sooner than later.

‘Why’ is a right wing reformist word associated with reformers, researchers and academicians. Not with people who have to be spontaneous fast and effective and have to perform on the spur of the moment.

So which approach is superior? In my opinion proclaiming the superiority of one approach over the other is initially, on the face of it for “what” approach. However realistically all answers to “what” questions have to be answered with “whys” and only then the next step follows.

Both questions beautifully complement each other, without one assisting the other most mysteries of this world would have remained unresolved today.

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Posted in aspirant, civil service, decision, what, why | 2 Comments »