Advertisement
Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
Outlook.com
Opinion

Always The ‘Second Best’, What Is The Future Of Humanities?

Humanities has been the second or third choice for a huge percentage of students in Indian colleges and universities

Always The ‘Second Best’, What Is The Future Of Humanities?
World’s A Stage | Photograph by getty Images
Always The ‘Second Best’, What Is The Future Of Humanities?
outlookindia.com
2021-09-17T18:42:08+05:30

To ask what future the humanities—variously called ‘arts’ and sometimes even ‘social sciences’ in India—have in our country is also to simultaneously account for its pasts and presents here. For the most part, those of us engaged in humanities education in formal settings like the university have been torn between a sense of despair, and on many occasions, a sense of vindication that nationally relevant issues may well have had their earliest iteration in a humanities classroom. So why the despair? India, until recently, has been committed to public-funded higher education which, des­pite tight budgets, has meant a very high quality of education, at least in some of its colleges and universities. While in many other parts of the world, the effects of privatisation and neoliberalism meant a dramatic fall in student enrolments in the humanities, no such reduction has happened as yet in the Indian university.

However, studying arts and humanities is something that has always been the second or third choice for large numbers of those who make it to higher education. This, of course, is an unintended consequence of India’s postcolonial development agendas, where science and technology were seen as integral to nation-building. Opting for the humanities thus was not merely undesirable, it was also seen as an option for those whose academic calibre wasn’t on par with those opting for science or technology studies. Needless to say, this is demoralising for students and teachers of humanities, always already relegated to the margins of academe, and worse still, the story of national advancement.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Omicron: New Strain Of Coronavirus Escalates Need For Global Vaccine Sharing

Omicron: New Strain Of Coronavirus Escalates Need For Global Vaccine Sharing

'Despite the repeated warnings of health leaders, our failure to put vaccines into the arms of people in the developing world is now coming back to haunt us', wrote former British PM Gordon Brown.

Covid-19: Experts' Take On Omicron And Possibility Of Third Wave In India

Covid-19: Experts' Take On Omicron And Possibility Of Third Wave In India

Though the health experts and scientists in India have advised caution yet they feel that the current immune profile of the majority of the population in India makes them less vulnerable to Omicron as compared to any other country in the world.

1st Test: India Need 9 Wickets To Win Vs NZ On Final Day

1st Test: India Need 9 Wickets To Win Vs NZ On Final Day

From 51/5, half-centuries by Shreyas Iyer and Wriddhiman Saha helped India declare at 234/7. New Zealand (4/1) need 280 runs to win on Day 5 on Monday.

What Is Omicron: All You Need To Know About The New Coronavirus Strain

What Is Omicron: All You Need To Know About The New Coronavirus Strain

After the detrimental Delta variant which took the world by storm in the second wave of Covid-19, WHO recently declared ‘Omicron’ as the latest ‘variant of concern’ (VOC).

Advertisement