Apart from the stigma and bad-mouthing of not being “smart-enough” for the commerce or science stream that one has to face, there are many other drawbacks of being a humanities student in India. The primary one, I feel is of one’s educational opportunities, as compared to students with “humanities” (they usually don’t have to pick a cluster of subjects like we do) in the west.
In the west, one has the option of majoring/graduating in a diverse array of subjects (even within humanities), which range from Religious studies, Global studies, International relations to Public Policy, whereas in India, we are restricted to only a few- Psychology (which is currently available in less than 10 DU colleges), Sociology, Political Science, History, English, Journalism, Economics, Philosophy, Geography, B.A program (which includes a diversity of subjects, but is highly tabooed) and perhaps a few others. Hardly any colleges in India offer gender and sexuality as a subject to major in. The variety of subjects one can chose to study in the U.S are relatively extremely wide- often the choice going up to 500 different majors. In India we are still stuck at a choice of 10, out of which only 4 or 5 of which would be considered “acceptable” in the mainstream.
This lack of choice, I feel also affects our employability. Since those in colleges abroad can chose to major in International Relations, Global Studies or Public Policy, which are more professional and applicable than only theoretical disciplines like History and Political Science right in their Undergrad years, they perhaps actually become more employable than we guys do. I know a lot of students in the country who are studying Political Science because they eventually want to go into IR or diplomacy. They have to succumb to the limited choice of disciplines that there is before they can actually study what they love and want a job in.
It is true that private institutions like Symbiosis, Ashoka, Shiv Nadar, Jindal etc. are trying to change the trend by introducing a few more majors like International relations, or better quality teaching for the other mainstream Humanities disciplines, but I feel that owing to their novelty, they are still lagging behind in providing as many options as education systems in other countries are to their students.