Opinion

The art of questioning


Asking questions is an art,” averred a professor of political science I was talking to recently. Having taught in a post-graduate college for more than three decades, he had first-hand experience of being confronted with questions from students in the classroom. His point was that the standard of the answer is commensurate with the quality of the question. To buttress his claim that asking a question is an art, he quoted the Bhagwad Gita. Had Arjun not articulated relevant questions, pertinent queries, and doubt-filled protestations, Krishan would not have expounded the Gita, the embodiment of eternal wisdom. The Gita is not a one-sided discourse. It is a dialogue in which if Arjun had not prompted Krishan with existential questions, perspicacious insights would not have been offered. The beauty of the Gita lies in the intertwining of the questions asked by Arjun and the replies given by Krishan.

The art of questioning has resonance in our mundane lives also as we pose questions, inside and outside the classroom, in different forms. If we do not get a satisfactory response, we blame the opposite person who is replying. Do we contemplate the questions we ask? To get an efficacious response, you have to ask worthwhile questions. As a question launches a dialogue, its tone and tenor lead the direction of the conversation. Question should carry a subtle cue for the responder. Assimilating the art of questioning will stand us in good stead.



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