Why is it that in India, students who study science are given more respect and considered smarter than students who study other things? Obviously its not because the elders in society have some personal grudge against other disciplines, but because there is a historical and economic context that strengthens this stereotype/bias. Lets trace it.
- Historical reason: Post independence, the government, under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru gave a lot of emphasis on heavy industry as a means to achieve development. This obviously incentivized the masses to study/get degrees in engineering, physics or science related subjects. Hence, in order to get jobs, people started values degrees in science frantically.
- Globalization/Demand and supply: Since India’s labour is “cheap”, as compared to the labour in other countries, outsourcing of jobs is done the maximum here. Rising MNC’s and Call centers opening in the country are a good example. This gives individuals more incentive to study tech related subjects.
- Culture: Being a doctor means to serve people, which is considered the biggest virtue in many ancient Indian texts. India also has a rich history of scientific innovations and discoveries, hence people may have a soft corner for those studying science. However, India also has a rich history of artistic and design innovation as well. Perhaps science wins as it is also more economically advantageous in this neo-liberal and globalized context.
Hence this is where the greed of wanting to become an engineer/doctor and having a “good life” that many of us Humanities students judge/detest comes from.