As we pass our 10th grade, we get to choose our path for the future. But, in Kashmir there is a trend: for the person who scores more than 90%, there are only two options – the Medical or the Non-Medical stream; unsurprisingly for the person who scores less there still are only two options- med and non-med.
It has become a competition that if my friend’s friend’s daughter’s mother-in-law’s grandnephew is a doctor, why shouldn’t my son or my daughter be one too?
The schools are also going with the norms as only a hand full of secondary schools offer arts, commerce or home science. The rest only focus on producing doctors and engineers. I recently passed my 10th grade but this thing was not a problem with me. I got the freedom to choose whatsoever I wanted to. And surprise surprise: I chose Arts.
Because, it has always fascinated me.
Since day one, I’ve been hearing “‘As he is an Arts student he, need not to worry about his schooling; he’ll memorize his stuff at home and pass the exams. Eventually, he’ll take over his family business. Though, he should’ve taken science.”
My answer a big, loud and straight NO! Obviously I’ll join my family business in the end but till then I want to learn not just academically but in every way, I want to discuss the things I know and I do not, I want to push myself to the very limits and lots of things in between. Arts students have always faced this criticism and the stream has always been treated inferior to other streams. People keep on saying that whoever chooses Arts can’t study science and this is the subject of failures and is a shame for the entire family. I still fail to understand why?
Barack Obama is a B.A in Political Science.
The former H.P (Hewlett Packard) C.E.O is a B.A in Medieval History.
The YouTube C.E.O Susan Wojcicki is a B.A in History and Literature.
Bill Gates has a Law degree.
Well, let me tell you one thing, being an Arts student does not mean you are a disappointment or can’t do anything else. It’s as important as the other streams and for us, it’s the best.
It takes a whole lot of courage, determination and imagination to keep an account each and every thing that took place 300 million years ago or who ruled which place for how much time? Or, to teach 50 students in a class in which 49 don’t even want to learn but still somehow manage to make them understand a bit too or what is the G.D.P of hundreds of countries or how to govern a country from the small size of Russia to the tiny population of China and so on and so forth.
Now, arises a question that why don’t Arts students flourish like they are supposed to?
The answer is manifold:
Firstly, as mentioned before that there are formidably less Arts offering institutions and those which offer, they don’t teach as they are supposed to. They only focus on making the student learn questions word by word let alone asking him to write it in his/her own words plus the intelligence of a student is judged by the marks he scores. What they should do is replace question-answering system with idea generation.
Second, sources are not provided like decent and up to date books in the libraries and, speaking of libraries, there aren’t many to name across the state, frequent quizzes, seminars and debates, newspaper reading and book reading is not encouraged in schools; we’ve got a rich and vast culture yet no cultural programmes are organised. Third, there is no focus on English language whilst being able to speak Kashmiri and Urdu or Hindi as well. As a result, students are forced to leave their homes and study abroad.
Last, many students do not have the financial strength to pursue their education outside the state or country and as a result end up memorizing the question answers and watch their dreams halt and fade in front of their eyes.
The courage despite all the criticism to take this wonderful stream in this part of the world is certainly not enough because the resources that would make it a prolific path for its pursuers here just don’t seem to be enough. Taking up Arts is such a taboo that half the energy is spent to face the negatives and with what is left nothing quite seems possible.
—The author is studying in class 11th. He can be reached at: [email protected]