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Perspectives: Maths and Masculinity, the obsession with Science subjects among Indian Parents

Taking up science subjects for your plus twos is definitive of having a career in the future. Humanities is considered as a leftover option for students who are weak in academics or aren’t ‘interested in studying’. Commerce stays as still a dignified alternative,definitely not as venerable as the Sciences but not as  unreputable  as the Arts either. The obsession with taking up Science is real for most Indian parents and children. This, in spite of there being several vacant job positions that require liberal humanities graduates the country. Not to mention, the several unexplored dimensions of work relating to the Humanities that are under crisis because the youth is either not not aware or opportunities are lacking.

Humanities is a feminine discourse, Man Up and take up Science!

Science and masculinity have always been correlated. Humanities has always been seen as a feminine discipline. Commerce  has forever  remained the in-between option. In fact, boys taking up Arts or Humanities  are quite often derided and believed to be failures in high school due to their choice of stream. Less ‘masculine’, not intelligent enough, since Maths and Science subjects are considered the benchmark of intelligence. Ambitious girls who have fairly scored well all throughout their school careers are inspired to take up Science since the choice of Humanities is linked to  an obviousness to weak unambitious students. The fact that Humanities sharpens one’s emotional sensibilities, artistic aesthetics, creative skills and is more connected to the  culturally refined ,bright, sensitive minds eludes the Indian imagination. Humanities is associated with rote learning and lack of intelligence is the general notion.

There is no pay in the Arts

As a society, we largely look down upon the need to question the status-quo in this country. We forget that artists and poets are the keepers of a civilization’s conscience. We also don’t see the monetary value of the Arts and how preserving the artistic and cultural history of us as a People can be capitalized on too for commercial interests. We still are stuck with the mental blockage that vocational courses like Law , Medicine , IT or Management are the only avenues for generating good income and living good lives. We forget about the general happiness quotient of the people and how suffocating it  simply for the need to earn when one doesn’t love their job can actually be detrimental to long term well being and goodness. From a very early age kids are taught the value of money and profit and not of the labours of love and passion for what one does.

Invisible professions

Professions like archaeology, conservation architecture, material heritage preservation, art and antique curation, gemology,museology, musicology, ethnochoreology, animation are scant to non-existent if we count the number of individuals who pursue them. Neither are there  any kind of good formal institutes that are cost affordable for the ordinary middle or lower middle classes. A lot of bright minds harbouring  talents in these fields grow up believing themselves insufficient fits in society because they can’t afford the privilege of knowing their talents are actually capable of being monetised. Animation Studios work in understaffed and underpaid capacities putting enormous amounts of stress on those already present. Bright young artists shrivel up in the lack of monetary assistance to conduct exhibitions for their work. On the other hand, IT companies witness cut-throat  competition with thousands left out each year finding no place for themselves in these highly merciless fields of work.

The need of the hour is  to open our eyes to the hugely diverse field of Humanities which is  no less challenging or fulfilling  than  it’s scientific  or commercial counterparts.

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