Many students have seen their peers or themselves face parental pressure about studying Science, we look at why the older generation has a bias for the Sciences and whether it is valid.

Many of us have come across phrases such as “Acche marks aaye 10th mai, Science lelo” (you got good marks in 10th, take Science), “Humanities wala hai, pakka padhayi nahi karta hoga” (they are from Humanities, they must not study), and so on. In Indian middle-class society, the classification of those who pursue humanities as intellectually inferior to those who are in Science is constant.

While Science is an essential part of human life, there are many fallacies one can point out in the Indian education system even in the Science stream, the hyper-competitive nature of it being the very obvious call out, with children being enrolled in coaching and preparing for entrance exams from a very early age. The other being how the learning administered in many colleges does not make graduates employable. A report by India Today in 2019 stated that out of 1.5 million engineering graduates every year, around 80% of them are unemployable. The basic reasoning which one can gather behind this preference for sciences is that people look at it as the safe option, one through which they can find a steady career and future. We have heard older generations say, “Hamare time pe options siraf doctor, engineer, aur lawyer thhey” (the only options we had were doctors, engineers, and lawyers). This mindset still plays a vital role when parents and their children decide which stream to pursue, with many parents still asking and/or forcing their children to take science.

Miley, a second-year student from Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), whose parents told her to take science said, “My parents felt the only reason to not take Science as if you were not smart enough and it’s supposed to be a trophy for them. They cared little if I pursued a career in Science, I just wanted everyone to know that I was “smart enough” if I wanted to. I ended up doing Honors in English from one of the best colleges and yet all they think I do is a B.A.” Shivam, a student preparing for his JEE Mains said, “My parents always wanted me to take Science, and it’s something which I have always wanted too, so I would not say it was forced. Yes, preparing for competitive exams takes a lot of time and dedication but it’s time I am willing to put in to secure my future.” Now while Shivam and many like him strive to break into the topmost colleges in their streams, the stereotype of humanities kids being their opposites falls flat. To get into Delhi University (DU) and many other universities, students have to compete against extremely high cut-offs and unpredictable board examinations. The This obsession of Indians with science leaves one with the following conclusion, just because something is followed by the majority, does not mean it’s in everyone’s best interest. There’s no Mantra that can guarantee you success, but doing something out of pressure for the sake of approval definitely won’t help. And this kind of obsession is certainly unhealthy and will become problematic in the long run, given the current economic conditions of our country. It’s high time that we introspect our basis of decision-making, because even if this obsession with science helps someone achieve success, it doesn’t guarantee happiness that was lost along the way. idea of Humanities being for those who slack off or are not willing to work as much as other streams immediately takes a hit. In the end, one can see that the stream does not decide a person’s employability or worth, and the larger problem itself lies with the education system in India. A system which places rote learning and education without questioning as its foremost agenda, a system in which arguably the very idea of knowledge is lost in the quest to gain that extra percentage points or a higher rank than others, a system which prefers pitting students against each other and propagating ideas of intellectual superiority on the basis of streams rather than allowing students to learn from each other.

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Prabhanu Kumar Das

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According to a press release, the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) formed an open forum for ‘scrutiny of undergraduate curriculum’.

The Delhi University Students’ Union formed ‘Student’s Open Forum for Scrutiny of Under Graduate Curriculum’ (SOFSUGC)  for ‘Scrutiny of Curriculum’. This move comes after the controversy over the English syllabus, which the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) opposed as leftist propaganda.

Through the open forum, the DUSU will submit its report to the Heads of Departments of English, Sociology, Political Science and History, after seeking students’ views on the syllabus. In the press release, the DUSU urges the head of departments to review and consider the committee’s suggestions. The forum is expected to submit its report by 30th July, just five days after its formation. The DUSU expects the Heads of Departments to hold a meeting of the syllabus drafting committee only after the DUSU submits its report. 

DUSU President Shakti Singh said “It is important to listen to the suggestions of the students in the context of syllabus and to implement the relevant suggestions as the students are also stakeholders in the decision of the University and any decision has a direct and first effect on them. This committee will democratise the process of syllabus drafting.”

DUSU Joint Secretary Jyoti Chaudhary said, “We have already made it clear that students should not be on the losing end. If the syllabus drafting committee had adopted democratic process in the past, the students would not have suffered like this. We hope that the syllabus review committee of above mentioned departments will discuss the suggestions of the students and the false propaganda made by the left will come to an end and we students will be on track to study.”

However, students seem to be disgruntled by the move. “I think the syllabus offered to us is quite alright, and as for students we actually do not  know what syllabus we actually need, so consulting the HoD is needed,” said Suman, a third-year Political Science student from Ramjas College.

 “The demand to alter or change the content being studied is not only an attack on the academic right of a student but also on the core fundamentals on which a University stands. Personally, I have no confidence in the ABVP backed DUSU, therefore if a student forum is formed by DUSU, I doubt that the suggestions made by the forum will be free from bias. Moreover, I do not think it is appropriate to change or alter the syllabus which has been recommended after years of studies by eminent scholars based solely on suggestions made by a student forum,” adds Noihrit, a second-year History student at Ramjas College.

This puzzling move leaves one wondering why only four departments from the humanities and social sciences were targeted for this students’ forum. The accessibility of this forum and the details of its members are still unknown. DU Beat reached out to Sidharth Yadav, the media secretary of ABVP who remained unavailable to comment. 

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Jaishree Kumar

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University of Delhi (DU) took the decision to increase the number of seats under the sports quota without exceeding the 5 percent limit in the intake. This was only applicable to extra curricular activities (ECA) quota till last year, and now has been extended to the sports quota as well.

In a meeting held last week, the varsity decided to increase the number of seats, in case there was an increase in demand of said quota at the department level.

This gives colleges complete freedom to decide the increase in the number of seats for either sports quota or ECA category. They can allot particular number of seats according to the demands and needs of the college.

An official was quoted by The Asian Age as, “Usually, it is seen that the students in the sports and ECA categories opt for humanities and social sciences programmes, rather than science, since they feel they may not be able to cope with the pressure in the latter. So, in case there are no admissions under the sports and ECA categories in the science department, the vacant seats can be transferred to another department where there is greater demand, but without breaching the total number at the college level.”

In the situation where the seats allotted under the categories in the departments are vacant, then the college can shift these vacant seats to other departments, where the demand is more. Hence ensuring that the students fill all the vacant seats, and the demand for a particular course is also met. This step also ensures that the five percent cap of intake is not breached by the colleges.

According to a circular issued by the authorities, “However, in case of greater demand in a particular course, up to a maximum of double the number of seats sanctioned under the ECA and sports categories in the said course may be admitted by a college, subject to the overall ceiling of five percent.”

Rasal Singh, member of the DU Academic Council, assured that this move would pave way for only the deserving students to get admission in the university.

Lavanya Ratauri, a football sports quota student said, “This move allows more flexibility for authorities to allot the number of seats but also at the same time it should consider the demands of the student. I hope this move gives students more liberty to take only that course which they want.”

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Antriksha Pathania
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This article attempts to probe into the reasons that have long rendered humanities as a discipline to be looked down upon.

“When my relatives ask me what I’m studying, it generally ends up in an awkward situation when I tell them I’m pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in English”, said a second-year English Honours student from Daulat Ram College when asked about the reaction of her other family members on her choice of career.

Humanities has, for a long time suffered the scrutiny of conventional minds. The conception that it is good for nothing prevails even in today’s millennia. Students having an inclination towards the discipline struggle to explain it to their parents and society and are more often than not, forced to study traditional courses. Not only does it result in the deterioration of one’s personality, but it also results in frustration that is unhealthily harboured for a lifetime by the students. This article shall look into three reasons as to why humanities are looked down upon.

1. It is thought to be “easy peasy”

It is a truth hard to digest that subjects such as philosophy, English, Political Science, Psychology, etc, are thought to be “very easy” despite their extensive and in-depth readings. Not only does the older generation hold this view but students of our generation into fields such as engineering are often seen/heard making fun of Arts students. The next point will elaborate on why the discipline is a victim of such a stereotype.

2. The subjectivity in and of the discipline

The un-objective nature of the subjects that a Bachelor of Arts course offers acts as a major force of demotivation among students (and their parents). Students who are just out of the school system, used to the lenient marking face a tough time since the subjects welcome a variety of interpretations and are never graded too high, like sciences. Despite this, the subjects are thought to be easy and viewed as rather ones that don’t require too much time. A third-year student studying Philosophy recalls, “Some elders in my family believe that I have a lot of free time since I’m doing arts. My parents and I have stopped making them understand what the subject really asks for”.

Non-arts subjects can be (in comparison) easily be moulded into questions with multiple choices but such a circumstance is difficult to achieve when Philosophy, Hindi, etc, are cases at hand. And though it is true that objective approaches are being given more priority nowadays and continuous attempts are being made to transform subjective choices into objective ones to make things easier, the truth boils down to one simple fact – the true spirit and essence of the subjects that the discipline of humanities consists of, is in its subjectivity.

3. It doesn’t offer an immediate outcome like sciences or commerce.

The scepticism surrounding the discipline seems to stem out of the Darwinian approach of survival – that man will go to any extent to survive and that life is a test of survival of the “fittest”. This “survival” in today’s time is dependent mostly on a financial basis. And studying humanities doesn’t exactly guarantee a job prospect immediately after the completion of the program. This creates a feeling of insecurity and doubt in students and parents. Gradually, it leads to pressure and frustration and the student taking his/her own life.

Humanities, as a discipline teaches life’s philosophy, the art of critiquing and analysing stuff, and a lot more than books can ever hold. It teaches one how to look at the broader picture of life rather than focusing on short term gains and losses. And though all these values do not directly culminate into a monetary outcome, it teaches us also to be patient. Money and jobs are important, no doubt, but at the cost of what?


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Akshada Shrotryia
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As is rightly said, books are a person’s best friends. Books help you evolve, shape your thought process, argues with your limitations and finally, conquers your ignorance. There are certain books that have broken the boundaries of pages and have made their space in the history of everlasting thought that a student of Humanities can never dare to skip. Read below to find a list of 10 such books:

1. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – As the book begins with Marx’s words- “I am not a communist.”  This is certainly something you must read to better understand the political and economic landscape of the past and upcoming years – not just in terms of Marx’s view of history, but in terms the impact of his thinking on others and how the society has evolved on basis of class struggle.

2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu- Twenty-Five Hundred years ago, Sun Tzu wrote this classic book of military strategy based on Chinese warfare and military thought. Since that time, all levels of military have used the teaching of Sun Tzu to warfare and civilization has adapted these teachings for use in politics, business, and everyday life. The Art of War is a book which should be used to gain an advantage of opponents in the boardroom and battlefield alike.

3. The Republic by Plato- ‘The Republic’ is either reverenced, reviled or just plain ignored. Though it keeps resurfacing, it has been pushed back often, being accused of bigotry, racism, elitism, casteism, anti-democratic nature, the list is endless. But it is beyond doubt that this is one of the preeminent philosophical works and has been quoted, referenced, or adopted by almost all of the major thinkers since. The practical influence of The Republic is more difficult to gauge than its impact on the theorizing of later thinkers – over the centuries, individuals have discovered in Plato’s works the inspiration for undertaking political or social or educational reform and have used it as the springboard for much revolutionary thought, and deeds.

4. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee-  When a court case threatening to disrupt this life came, the court system knew only one person who had the courage to be a defense attorney: Atticus Finch. Despite having a decent chance to win, Atticus realized he had no chance because a jury would never favour a black man over a white regardless of the circumstances. Maintaining the same values at court and home, he told his children Jem and Scout to hold their heads high as rougher days would be ahead, thus, instilling a sense of courage in his children.

5. The Outsider by Albert Camus – Mother died today Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure. The telegram from the Home says: “YOUR MOTHER PASSED AWAY. FUNERAL TOMORROW. DEEP SYMPATHY.” Somewhere even I am trying to understand if Camus was a nihilist or an absurdist or was surrealist.

6. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.”

The idea of the social contract is to move man from the state of nature (with unlimited freedom and limited security) to a society. The society is a compromise where a man gives up his unlimited freedom and receives security in exchange”. Probably, this book is the need of the hour!

7. Annihilation of Caste by B.R. Ambedkar – Among the numerous writings and speeches of Ambedkar that run into thousands of pages, The Annihilation of Caste is indeed his magnum opus. Judged by any criterion such as content, logic, argument, language, diction, exposition, urge and, above all, the force, it is a manifesto of social emancipation, and occupies a place similar to what The Communist Manifesto once did in the world communist movement.

8. The Personal is Political – Feminist and writer Carol Hanisch’s essay titled “The Personal is Political” appeared in the anthology Notes From the Second Year: Women’s Liberation in 1970. Carol Hanisch’s essay explains the idea behind the phrase “the personal is political.” A common debate between “personal” and “political” questioned whether women’s consciousness-raising groups were a useful part of the political women’s movement.

9. False Economy – Why do some countries thrive and others fail? Over the past few years, there have been competing explanations ranging from geography to culture to natural resources as either a boon or a curse. What does Beattie, former Bank of England economist turned world trade editor at the Financial Times, bring to the shouting match? For one thing, a pleasing modesty. Prosperity, he argues, “is not determined by fate, or by religion, or geology. It is determined by people.

10. Banker to the Poor – Dr. Yunus, a recipient of the Nobel Prize explains his experience in the private sector that how it is not only for one class of the society but also for social-minded individuals.


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Graduating from University of Delhi (DU) is still considered prestigious, but why do the same students with all the merit, never want to return as teachers to their own University?


In a few months, a prestigious University of Delhi (DU) degree in hand, the real world with its blankness and stiff competition will begin to look curiously topsy-turvy for most third-year students. Those rose-tinted glasses, which made life in college appear idyllic for two years, will have to be inevitably chucked aside in favour of the grittier, ‘realistic’, adult perspectives which only point to one of these two scenarios, in case you are a third-year student: either you have zeroed in on an employment/higher education opportunity which you feel reasonably confident about cinching, or, you have your feet pointing in multiple directions and in no particular direction at the same time. Either way, your ultimate goal is viable employment. But what if your feet took a U-turn and chose to come back to the University, looking for employment? In fact, how do students in DU truly feel about coming back and teaching at the University one day?

“I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of becoming a university lecturer. It’s highly unstable [as an employment opportunity]… Look at the state of our universities today; there is no freedom of speech and the way our ad-hoc teachers are treated is inhumane. My teachers themselves tell me not to become a lecturer. What more do I need as a proof?” says a Botany student from the North Campus.

Delhi University Teachers' Association strike
Delhi University Teachers’ Association strike

I remember one of my teachers in the English department attesting to something similar: the foundations of higher education in India are so shaky that the next generation dare not step on it, from fear that the existing plane may collapse too. Over the last one year itself, numerous national dailies have covered the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) protests for pay-rise and against the lack of permanent positions for lecturers, the overwhelming despair and suicides of PhD research scholars when they stared at their bleak future, shutting down of centres for the Humanities in several colleges, protests against the teaching of liberal ideas and values in universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and many other related events. If a severe lack of funding plagues the Arts departments across India, the treatment meted out to lab assistants and ad-hoc lecturers in the Sciences fares no better. Teaching in a university, in short, comes with more perils than advantages.

“It’s sad, but the truth is that even I would not recommend any student to become a lecturer these days,” I recall overhearing a teacher telling another in the corridors of my college once. One after the other, as attacks mount upon the state of university education in our country from all sides, it becomes viable to look for alternatives. There are private-sector jobs and the ever desired civil services exams eyed by more and more students as the pool of competition widens further and further. Some even question what the point of an M.A. degree is, if the road to research scholarship and teaching appears this murky.  And if things are bad today, how much worse can they get tomorrow? It seems as if one door will shut forever for most of us, by the time we leave DU with our degrees next year.


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Deepannita Misra

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Our President addressed the faculty and students of Central Universities and institutions around the country on August 10, 2015. As one of the many students who attended the live telecast, I couldn’t help but notice the absolute lack of any reference to humanities, liberal arts, or anything other than science and technology-based education in India during the address and the following interaction. When arguably the most important figure of your country fails to mention the very stream of your choice of studying in an address related to energising the higher education in the country, it tends to make you think about not just the education system, but also your own love and future prospects in pursuing the same.

This is not the first, or the only instance, that comes to mind when thinking about this issue. The much talked about hierarchy of pursuing science followed by other subjects is real beyond the choosing of subject streams in Class 10. It is not just the stigma and trying to explain to people how studying English, Sociology or History wasn’t a decision prompted by your lack of options. Humanities shouldn’t be considered the paltry, last-option bunch of subjects people opt for when they haven’t qualified for another. Through this, not only are we, as a country and society, discouraging young, enthusiastic students who are keen on pursuing subjects but we’re also opening ourselves up to the very real possibility of not having enough learned people in these subjects. We have been conditioned to believe that having enough doctors and engineers would take care of our needs but by ignoring humanities, we’re ignoring the people who study our interaction as human beings and are, through their studies and theories, responsible for the structure, institutions and life the way we see today.

The interaction session following the President’s address was between the heads of science and technology based institutions, who talked about the leaps in their research facilities and making India a research-based education hub. While it is always amazing to hear about the leaps and bounds our country has made in terms of research and education, it was disheartening to not hear about any such research or study conducted by students pursuing humanities or discuss how our country fares in terms of education specifically in this stream. That’s mostly because we don’t. We’re a country made of and for engineers and doctors, featuring Science research. Our education system is built around it, and everyone panders to and reinforces it.

The young doctorate student questioned why bright Indian minds should go abroad for their higher education given the myriad opportunities offered in the country itself. It’s a good question, but it further raises an important point. Are we actually offering opportunities to students not pursuing pure sciences, medicine and engineering? And since we’re not, is it unfair to not expect students to leave the country in search of better opportunities? By failing to talk about humanities and the arts, is India responsible for a part of its brain-drain itself?

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Shubham Kaushik

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