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HomeEditorialIs plagiarism imbibed in us since birth?

Is plagiarism imbibed in us since birth?

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Is plagiarism an accepted part of the education system in India? In other words, will cultural difference play a role in this? Well, as a writer, there are some measured parameters of plagiarism. The writer should describe his/her ideas or the concept without copying someone’s ideas or intellectual properties and if suppose, the ideas are conceived or copied out of someone’s intellectual property, then one must give them due to credit too. It doesn’t matter whosoever the source is. Taking acclaim for somebody else’s work is theft, whether you do it intentionally or by accident. This is what you will read everywhere when it comes to defining the term ‘plagiarism’.

Let’s go a little deep and think why this is imbibed in our minds and we don’t feel bad about copying or imitating anyone. Since birth, the social conditioning of mind plays a greater role. You are taught to call “BLACK” colour as black, you identify that colour because it’s termed and everyone calls the same. Suppose if a child disowns this conditioning and says that ‘no, for me this colour means RGB that is 255 per cent red, 255 per cent Green and 255 per cent blue’, or he may define that as something else, will we accept that child as normal or as above intellect?

No! We won’t because he is refusing to accept the conditioning, whosoever tries refusing these so-called protocols and parameters, we call them eccentric or lunatic. We are occupied and framed with typical thought process and lifestyle where we are made to believe that what my father thinks is a great thought and what my mother says or thinks is compulsory to follow. They cite examples of my elder sister or brother, who is blindly following so many such people of this society, whom he thinks is an idol. This is the birth of remote plagiarism in you.

Your name, your surname, your identity — everything is availed by so many before you are born but somewhere your parents forget to give credits to the possessor. We act, we think, we are influenced by many and act like many; rarely we realise that we are an independent individual.

Suppose, if you realise that you are independent and refuse to follow others, you are outcaste or awkward. Social conditioning comprises all of the messages and beliefs that you are programmed with over the years of your life. It comes from various sources. Due to Social Conditioning, we are grown with low self-esteem. Your mind is like raw clay and it absorbs everything that is in your environment. It doesn’t matter if you agree with what’s happening in your environment, it doesn’t matter if you HATE what’s happening, your mind will absorb whatever is in your environment and you will become more like your environment over time – and you have no choice in the matter.

This kills your self-confidence. Because rather than looking to who you are on the inside to determine your self worth, social conditioning drills you into the habit. Social conditioning, on the other hand, tells you that how you should live, how you should think, how you should be like, social conditioning also tells you that if another guy has some qualities, you should respect him and must try to follow his path.

The absolute key to having confidence is to define yourself based on your own standards, move through the world by your own compass and NOT by the standards of social conditioning. Average members in our society are a hypocrite and they unwantedly become the moral custodians of your life, you accept them or refuse but they are going to ruin your minds with their rules over your life and freedom.

Plagiarism is the beginning of these atrocities; you are asked to copy answers from the blackboard exactly as your teacher has written, then you copy answers from the brilliant student of your class, and you are compared with the child and asked to follow him/her; in rarest of the rare cases, you are asked to be yourself and be what you are.

Plagiarism on a different level is imbibed in you since birth. Students are the one fondest of plagiarising and they have their own reasons for it. First on the list is the lack of time. Students do not know how to manage time. They are not aware of the extent of work and put it off until the last minute lacking time for original work while others do not trust their own capability. Instead, they get insecure about the work of those professional ones. As they read the professional’s work, they think that they lack the knowledge to come up with as good as their work, and all students aim for a high grade. They tend to focus on what grade they will receive. They do not care whether they learn something from it. Others tell that not only they are doing it, but they are also tempted to do so since others still get a grade or are not punished by doing so without any effort.

Even those very responsible students tend to plagiarise also. It is because they are afraid of getting a low grade. For them, it is unfair that others will get a higher grade by plagiarising. It seems that their effort is useless. The students did not even find time to analyse their topic since their professor did not require a presentation of it. Students should put in mind that what’s more important is how they develop their own style of writing and how they understand the topic.

Dictionary definition of a particular word is plagiarism. Moreover, there are certain things for example — TOP TEN HACKERS in the world, there will be the same answer everywhere. Same names, same descriptions, and same information widely available, now whom to trust? Suppose if a writer refutes saying, ‘Oh suck! They are not the top ten, I don’t think they are extraordinary anyways’, readers or the community members will say, look how stupid is this person. When a hundred writers endorse these ten as the top then why she has to prove them wrong?

If I have to write about “Indira Gandhi” and I have not seen her, then I have to rely on the limited sources those who know her or those who have already written about her. The only difference that I can create is by modifying the existing info. A paraphrase does not always prevent plagiarism. You must change not only the word itself but also the structure of the sentence of the original without changing its content. Paraphrasing is also to lessen the quotations in your paper. It is also more advantageous to put the facts from other sources which you know will support your own ideas to make it more valid. Remember, even a small part copied without citation is plagiarism. You have committed plagiarism anytime you borrow from the original source.

Generally, it is easy to find information about every topic on the Internet and most of us are dependent on online sources. Some are smart enough to modify the content and enhancing the new look to the original. However, when you are not smart, you have to be extra attentive about keeping track of the source of information and thoughts and about giving proper credit to the authors of the sources you use.

So, instead of looking at the point why it happened or in what circumstances this occurred, plagiarism is not accepted in anyways, but there is no check on these issues. Copying some senior’s project and submitting it is common in schools and even no one raises any objections against it; no one is made aware of the seriousness of this subject at the school level. Moreover, this is an easier method of completing every task and unknowingly done mistake.

Cases of plagiarism in India are not restricted to students but even authors, journalists, professors, film producers, music directors, lawyers while making drafts and documents and published researchers have been found guilty of this practice.

In the recent past, such acts are being practiced by the scientists and archaeologists too. There is no specific law or constitutional provisions to this issue. In maximum times, this happens out of an extreme passion for someone’s writing, you try to follow them, their style and remain one like. You cannot call it a culture, India has fewer cases of plagiarism. Look at USA and UK, there are so many high profile issues over plagiarism. No country can ever boast about not having plagiarism issues.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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