Friday, February 23, 2007

KBC - unfair question?

I happened to watch KBC last night - and there was a question for Fastest Finger First -

Arrange these periods in ascending order:
a>Ek Ghanta
b>Aadha Ghanta
c>Sava Ghanta
d>Pauna Ghanta

The options were written just like that - Hindi words in English.

Now, if I, for example, had been a contestant, I would have had to first translate these into their English equivalents, and then sort them in the right order.

And this is me, who is pretty familiar with Hindi, and can speak and understand it with ease. But yet, it is not the tongue I am most comfortable with, and so there is a definite time lag between reading these words and translating them into a more familiar tongue. And that leaves me with a major handicap.

So what about those people who do not even know what Sava and Pauna is?

I think that these type of questions are very unfair to the non-Hindi speaking contestants.

What do you think?

[*Ek Ghanta - One hour
Aadha Ghanta - Half an hour
Sava Ghanta - One and one fourths of an hour
Pauna Ghanta - Three fourths of an hour]


Payal said...

Hmm. it seems tricky lets try.

1) Sava Ghanta 25mns
2) Aadha Ghanta 30mns
3) Pauna Ghanta 45mns
4) Ek Ghanta 1hr

Seems like I have done :P
Where is my money ;)

Anonymous said...

Payal ...sava ghanta is 1hr 15 mins..proves shruthi point

I completely agree with shruti..hindi is my first language but still it took me a second to comprehend..however the show runs in a hindi channel and primarilt meant for hindi viewing population so i guess its fair..some people may not understand 1 hr, quarter hour half an hour and so on

Full2 Faltu said...


It seems unfair but KBC is a hindi program and we do not have Pauna ghanta in English.

I remember one episode where a person from Karnataka used a life line for the question

"Complete the following "Riste main toh hum tumhare baap lagate hai, naam hai .......""

A person who follows Hindi movies would get it in a second but then I guess its fair and we cannot categorise questions in term of launguages.


Shastri said...

[hello after a long time :) ]
it is unfortunate that even with Sidhartha Basu, you can get a question like that which is purely biased towards a person who does not use Hindi extensively. I presume Mr.Basu is busy counting the money and have let someone else run the show.

Being a quiz enthusiast in college, I had seen several examples of such kinds of questions.

Some to my advantage of course.. like "what is the hero riding in the picturisation of this Kannada song 'cheluve elliruve, manava kaaduva roopasiye'". For someone who has not seen on DD-Bangalore's Chitramanjari with young Anantnag pretending to fly the helicopter, this is just insane. And for someone who has seen, its 10 free points.

Yes, I am digressing. For a quiz show, to be entertaining and fair, they should choose questions carefully without regional/linguistic bias. I think Mensa claim to have their tests not culturally biased.

Had I been in KBC, I wouldn't have got the answer right too. With all my profiency over Hindi as a language, I still dont seem to be able to get the counting numbers right in Hindi. I cant tell 'sattar' from 'assi' without applying a contorted logic. Forget about 'pachatthar' and 'untalees'.

On a broader scale, I think its the issue with the system of things we are used to. For someone like me who has spent all his like in Metric units,its very difficult to figure out if a 'mile per gallon' blue or pink. At the same time, when I tell someone that Mysore is 140 KM from Bangalore, I get a puzzled look in their eyes till I devide the number by 1.6.
Its just a cultural thing may be. But the quiz masters should know better.

Bit Hawk said...

Completely agree!
Ek and Aadha are pretty easy. But, it took me full 5 seconds to comprehend what savaa and pauna are!

But, dont you think its difficult to frame questions that is not biased in terms of region, religion, gender or age group?

Sudhakar said...

This is not that unfair, considering the fact that It's Hindi show. But yes, there are some unfair questions which they ask from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Imagine ,20% of Indian population is non -Hindus. How do they expect them to answer those questions?

Supremus said...

The whole game is afterall based on luck. So bad luck if you were not good at Hindi and you happened to get this question. Technically, i could be a handicap selected to be in the top 10 - but if my handicap proves to be the deciding factor in fastest finger first, should I say that fastest finger first is biased towards healthy people?

All luck game shows have these and other kind of problems i guess.

Sandesh said...

We get many questions related to language, religion! I always hate that and hate to comment on such things!

Its of no use commenting coz they wont make it better even after we comment! Still we wont stop commenting!

Thinking as a Kannadiga, i feel its bad to make quiz linguistic, but thinkin as a neutral person, i say thats what a quiz is for! You're just tryin yo luck! Its just similar to Gambling! If you got it right, its yo day! If not find anotha day!

If you consider this post and related comment itself, even the Hindi speakin population dunno correctly whats sava or pauna! (Check out Payal's comment) Almost all use English terms fo these! So the competition becomes neutral. Hindi people dont have an edge on this! This is purely based on yo memory n luck!

Same thing holds good fo religious questions!

anandanubhava said...

I think its a pretty stupid show. I have an extremely low opinion of the show as being one for the masses, totally unintellectually stimulating! My house-mates watch it like their religion... :-)
What happened to the days of the rapid fire quiz show...these time pass shows are killing the time of millions of ppl.. many of whom just dream about getting rich by texting answers to these shows!!

Viky said...

Oh, if you start, there are a lot of things quirky about the show, WITHOUT comparing Shahrukh to Bachchan.

For example I don't know why he is so insistent on "...Boys and Girls", or why he is blowing his own trumpet "Queen hee ho sakta hai, kyonki KING to main hoon", or why he portrays himself as a big shot by giving away gifts "Koi baat nahi aap ne kuch jeeta nahi!!! Main aapko ye ghaDi deta hoon".

And why does he have to attempt to hug every female around? so much so that they have to SAY ONSCREEN "Mujhe show mein aapse gale milne ka koi shauk nahi".

The whole flavour of the show has deteriorated. The questions have fallen in standard, and it hurts that they aren't informative anymore. It isn't the same anymore.

Samahitha said...

You can argue it both the ways.

It's fair because Hindi is our national language and you are supposed to know this if you want to become 'carorepathi'.

It's unfair because as we know, India is a country of 'Unity in Diversity', with so many languages and unless it's your mother tongue, you would have never used "Sava", "Pauna".

Sandesh said...

@samahitha - Is Hindi our National Language???

I dont think so! Nowhere its uoted that Hindi is our national language! We've being misguided that Hindi is our national language! I dont have any problem accepting that Hindi is our national language but i see its technically not our national language! It might be official but not national!

Anonymous said...

don't make me guess the only state whose people can claim this question is "not fair, not fair." but those folks would not be watching kbc anyway.

and if - as anonymous # 1 says - it takes a second even for those whose first language is hindi, i guess everyone is in the same boat, innit?

if you want fair, you need to run the "who wants to husband mrs. crore" contest in india, and anyway, that contest was recently won by a tree or lord vishnu, depending on which rag you read! :-)

- s.b

veena shivanna said...

Its a fair expectation prof. The translation mostly takes the time.Now that we are used to reading different language written using its literals some may find it easier too :-)

Well, didn't get a chance to watch KBC offlate, though I have read enough about ..
What ever it is, KBC had highest TRP long back..

Well, to me every question that I knew answer was fair enough to ask but if it had very ambiguous choice , I would say to myself.. ee question ella KBC li yaak keLtaarappa!;-)

Shruthi said...

Payal, no money :) You got it wrong :D

Anon, is it really meant for a primarily Hindi population? I am not so sure about that!

Punds, again - if it is a Hindi programme, then I think the questions should be in Hindi too :) It is more of a bilingual programme, I guess.. anyway.
Yes, you are right, they sometimes ask you to complete Hindi proverbs too - it is a cakewalk for someone who knows Hindi - the others have to take a lifeline!

Shastri, where have you been? :)
I have trouble with Hindi numbers too.. my biggest trouble is with Ded and Dhai. And yes, you do have a couple of valid points.

Bit Hawk, you are so right. It is not easy to frame questions without a bias... but still, there is a limit, isn't there?

Shruthi said...

Sudhakar, that is true. On a sidenote, I have a Muslim friend who knows the Hindu epics probably better than I do!

Suyog, if you look at it that way, it does make sense!

Sandesh, thanks for your comments. Btw, I don't think Hindi is universally the official language either, is it?

Anand, of course, there is no question about that!

Viky, that's a different issue altogether! Btw, you haven't compared Shahrukh and Amitabh, but you have anyway gone ahead and dissed Shahrukh! ;) Btw, a word on his behalf - I don't think he is that bad after all - he does make you laugh. [Note: I am NOT a Shahrukh fan]

Samahitha, yes Hindi is not the national language - it is just one of the national languages. You can call it the most widely spoken language, though.

S.b., everybody is not in the same boat - at least Anon 1 knows the meaning.. what about those who don't?

Veena, :)

Sandesh said...

Not in South India atleast! Hehe =)

Sandesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samahitha said...

Sandesh, Shruthi,

Agreed, Hindi is not our National Language, but Official. However, Hindi (or Hindustani) was proposed and to some extent accepted as National Language. I think it was not formalized due to unacceptance from some of the states!

However, it's a fair question if you want to become 'carorepathi'. Isn't it? The key here is 'carorepathi'!!! - So you are challenged to the extent possible.

Dulhan # 1 ^^ said...

I dont think it's an unfair question at all. It would be unfair if the question used Kannada, or Marathi, or Punjabi, for instance, because these are not national languages. If anything, it is unfair to have ENGLISH questions on there since this is a Hindi show.

Just my two cents/paise :)

ps: This has NOTHING to do with my knowledge of Hindi, because if you've guessed who I am, then you know how bragworthy my Hindi is :)

Anonymous said...

"S.b., everybody is not in the same boat - at least Anon 1 knows the meaning.. what about those who don't?"

no one was likely blogging back then, but did anybody (contestents or others) complain about the western classical music clues in siddharta basu's quiz time in the 80s? probably only those who went to the so-called elite schools like the saint-somethings probably ever heard those pieces of music before. you will probably say that those were countered by the pieces by carnatic and hindustani artistes who the participants were required to name. but then, that was an indian program, why were contestents required to know western pieces?

i, for one, will have no clue when i hear western classical pieces. of course, i have to also shamefully confess that i would be shooting darts in trying to name indian classical artistes as well (but then, that is precisely why i am not a karodpati :-).

- s.b.

Shruthi said...

Samahitha, I don't know those details but the fact remains that it is not the national language :) If it has been touted as a purely Hindi show, then its fine - else? :)

Dulhan, that is the very point - is it a purely Hindi show? That question is foremost in my mind now!

S.B., I think you are mixing up issues.. Here we are talking about the medium. Not knowledge. Non-Hindus might not know about Hindu epics and you might not know about music - that is connected to your knowledge and awareness. The questions can be interpreted as unfair - and I have no issues against that. Just your luck. But what about the language in which the question is asked? Is this truly a Hindi show? If yes, then why not make it a completely Hindi show so that there is no confusion? Otherwise, such questions must be avoided.

Prashanth M said...

thats unfair. Though I can speak/read/write Hindi (pretty fluently), I would take a guess to answer this question :|

Samahitha said...


Being a kannadiga, I have not watched many of these KBC shows. Once in a while I watched it for AB. I have not watched the new ones, as I don't have access to right now. I can get it on google videos, but you need some time and patience for that.

But, when I came across this blog, I just felt that it can be very well argued both ways and there is no end for this argument.

Chandra said...

good topic to debate.....
KBC people should at least remove questions related to Hindi language from "Fastest Finger First"
Its very difficult for south Indian guys to get through these type of questions....
after all they can't judge a person's general knowledge with a language related question which can be answered by grammar experts....
I completely agree that they should not ask language realted question in "fastest finger first" ...

Viky said...

Yeah, I am dissing him, because he is not being himself in the show. Or may be this IS his real self and he is guarded while speaking to the media otherwise.

Handling a show is not about making the people laugh once or twice. It's about the whole picture he portrays - you know, there is no need for him to pull out his phone to answer a call which we all know isn't there. Or using the "narkunda" for every telugu guy he gets on the show.

Either it is that, or the head and the hands behind the show want to show KBC in an entirely different manner under SRK, thereby making him come across as a different person altogether - than what he is seen and heard of thanks to the media!!!

Sachin said...

To add to the confusion, let me add one more time metric to the list: Pau ghanta!! (Evil grin) Btw, thats 15 mins!!

I agree this question was confusing - but not necessarily to only non Hindi speaking people. Though I have been speaking Hindi throughout my life, and have always lived in Mumbai, even then it did take me some precious seconds to get it right. But I do feel that this particular question should not have been a "fastest finger first" question because it does give the Hindi speaker a definite time advantage.

There have been many comments to this post which have called this show a Hindi show on a Hindi channel. And also that some questions could put non-Hindu participants at sea.

I completely disagree with both these sentiments, this is a quiz show and it is the participants on the show who are more important - and they are definitely not all Hindi speaking, in fact we have a cross section from across the country. There is really no question about fair or unfair here - do we really feel that questions about a specific temple in say, Thiruvananthapuram could be answered by someone from the North? Well, yes, it all boils down to knowing more stuff. The more one is well versed with things around the world, the better his or her chances are.

And a quiz show is meant to test one's general knowledge, it could be on any topic at all. If a question about whether the Sphinx is in Egypt or Africa could be asked and expected to be answered, then so can questions about the Ramayana, Mahabharata or the holy Koran! It is not a debate about religion at all!

I agree that this particular quiz show is highly commercialised and its format is very different from a normal quiz show. Have we ever questioned anything in Quiz Time, the all time favourite hosted by Siddhartha Basu himself when we were kids - guess it was liked and watched by all and sundry who liked quizzes even though many questions were so complicated to the mind of a 10 year old boy (me!!!) But at least when the answers were revealed, I added one more to my increasing database of answers....

And Shruthi, I agree with you...SRK is good in his own way and though I don't like him much, I still can see the man has some class....

Cosmic Voices said...

YES!!! This is a conspiracy from the Hindi hinterland to prevent south indians from becoming ten-millionaires (you see we dont use indhi words)....

I am getting my Ramdoss brigade to stage a hunger strike at Jantar mantar.. like to join us..?

btw......whats this "ghanta" word?

When is used with sava, aadha and puna it becomes minutes....and when used with Ek it becomes hour.. strange qustions

lorraine said...

"So what about those people who do not even know what Sava and Pauna is?"

That would be me. I think in English, so had I been a fastest-finger contestant, I would have missed the bus on this one. In a similar vein, I'm left clueless with a lot of the questions based on Hindi sayings/Bollywood culture.

Which is unfortunate, because it's apparently not just me who is out of tune with these kind of questions - people from other parts of the country aren't necessarily in to Bollywood et al (as is quite apparent with many of the contestants).

On the other hand, if there was a new criterion for choosing questions, say, Western popular culture, or something of the sort, KBC would be accused of being too urban and westernized. No matter which category you choose, some one's going to be left out.

By the way, (if you get to the bottom of the comments - you seem to be a blog veteran here!!) i'm glad you liked the Enid Blyton post - it was something I felt pretty strongly about. And like you said, some childhood memories are too sacred to be touched by what some skanky critics say!

M O H A N said...

You are 100% right. This is one of the stupid reasons why i dont watch KBC.

Interestingly the word verification threw up a good word "lsgzyrth" wondering if its the new wonder drug on the block for hallucinations!


Shruthi said...

Prashanth, yup, that's what I mean!

Samahitha, that's why I put up this question - see how many viewpoints I have received! :)

Chandra, you got it just right. Language based questions should be a strict no-no, according to me. At least if such a question is one of the actual questions in the show, the participant has an option to use a lifeline, or he has time to think about it. They don't get either here.

Viky, it is, I think, his prerogative to behave as he wants to! Like I said, I am not much of a fan of his, so I don't know how he is elsewhere. And I don't think when you are doing a show like this where you have to comment on your own, and use your presence of mind, you can put up much of a show. I guess you tend to be your natural self. Of course, I might be totally mistaken too. Some of his gimmicks might be silly, but then that's his style, I guess. Anyway, I haven't watched it for too long to get irritated, so I may not be the right person to comment either.

Sachin, I completely agree with you. It all boils down to general knowledge. You either know something or you don't. But how will participants react if a simple question is asked to them in some other language, say, Spanish? They would have known the answer to the question itself, had they understood the question! That is exactly what happened here in this Ghanta question!
I remember Quiz Time too, or India Quiz or whatever.... and I enjoyed it so much! Besides, there were dozens of questions in half an hour... not ten questions in one hour like these game shows.... those were full of action! Anything for such shows again! :)

Cosmic Voices :D

Lorraine, yup, like someone has said above, it is very difficult to set non-biased questions. Then of course, there are different interpretations to whether a question is fair or unfair too! Difficult!
Liked your other posts too! Keep writing :)

Mohan, heh heh... quick, get a patent for it ;)

Amodini said...

It is unfair, in the sense that it gives an advantage to the Hindi-speaking folks. However, I think that all that emphasis on Hindi (SRK keeps prodding everyone to converse in Hindi) is because it is the national language. And if you argue that this is an unfair Q, you are also questioning the role of your national language and that whole debate.

Usha said...

Already the contest is only open for people who can speak Hindi or Englishand then there are some questions on Hindi proverbs and serials - so looks like the rules are very clear!

Roshan R said...

so true - saw that episode and was thinki the same thing.and ya, i had no clue too of the terms.
it seems so unfar to those who came all the way to contest but may have weaker hindi, doesnt it ?

praneshachar said...

yes the gameshow must be fair enough to allow all people to understand the Q at the same level. questions which related to a knlowledge of hindi are definetely not fair. If they ask who won Noble Prize for literature etc.,
it amounts to testking your GK but if you are asked a proverb or gade or time in a langauage it is very difficult. all these time Q in hindi will be answered by people of North Karnataka very easily but not others in karnataka and forget to the fate of people from TN Kerala!!!!
a very interesting discussion with so many view points. even though if can be argued both ways finally if it comes fairness or natural justice shruthi's view points are to be upheld
let good senses prevail to KBC and
SRK can well contribute. some one rerlated to KBC should read this

Emma said...

Totally agree with you - in fact, it gets to me that ShahRukh Khan always asks the contestant to speak in Hindi. Why? Why Hindi? Why not, English? Or some other language? Why assume that everybody who comes to the show or watches the show actually knows Hindi?

Suresh Tulshyan said...

For Heaven's sake folks please understand that KBC is a quiz show.. and if you are competemt enough you've got to have be better than a lot... would you go and ask CAT to remove the maths paper because some engineers sitting for the exam have an edge over people without a maths background??? i hope u got my point.. dont make it a LANGUAGE issue...enjoy the show

Raj said...

This is very unfair because Hindi is not the national language of india.
India does NOT have a National Language

Part XVII of the constitution:
This part 17, defines an OFFICIAL language, NOT a national language.

Article 345: This gives the State govt., power to decide its own "OFFICIAL LANGUAGE"

Article 343: This defines Hindi in devangari script and English to be the "OFFICIAL LANGUAGES" of union govt.

DIFFERENCE between National and Official Language:

NATIONAL LANGUAGE: Defines the people of the nation, culture, history.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: A language that is used for official communication

While a National language by default can become the Official language, an Official language has to be APPROVED legally to become the National language.

All languages spoken in India, starting from the most populous to the least are our national languages, because all of them define the people of this nation, culture and their history collectively.

India has NO LEGALLY DEFINED NATIONAL LANGUAGES ONLY 23 OFFICIAL languages as per the constitution.

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