“Art courses? Really!?”
This is most definitely what a student who joins an art course would hear, especially when the ever-present ‘Aunty-next-door’ comes around for daily gossip. Many of you might ask why such a question even arises. Are Arts courses something unacceptable?
Let’s, for a moment, dwell on the life of an average Indian student ( ‘Indian’ being the keyword). You have the blissful days of kindergarten, followed by those amazing years in lower primary. Slowly the pressure starts building around a sweet, unassuming kid. Textbooks get longer each year, addition and division turns into integration and differentiation, and before you know it, voila you’re sitting at the exam center writing your +2 finals!
Among all this mayhem, most students forget to think about life after school. What should they do? Which stream should they follow?
‘Luckily ‘ for them, parents have already decided! Yippy! Hurray!
If they chose biology in their +2 classes, they must go on to do an MBBS . If it’s computers? Engineering of course! Commerce? Let’s get a CA in the family! Who’s asking? Does any of this sound familiar to you?
In those few lines of sarcasm (yes, it yes, that’s what it was) is hidden the core answer to the question raised in the first paragraph. The apparent ‘stigma’ around Arts courses is one of the repercussions of the ‘reverence’ towards the other three courses.
Indians hold themselves in high esteem, saying they are among the most intelligent societies in the world, and it is indeed true. In fact, we are so ‘intelligent’ that we shower praise on all forms of art and culture, but hold back the next generation of artists. Those few (brave) souls who choose to follow their talents and interests are met with ridicule and criticism till, of course, they act in an amazing movie or write a bestselling book! Have a doubt? Read the auto-biography of any one of the Indian millennial artists.
I won’t blame parents for thinking that way. All they want is for their children to succeed, which for them means a high paying job and a luxurious lifestyle. But the will of a child to follow their own creative interests gets crushed under these societal expectations. Thus year after year, Arts colleges are shutting down, while new Engineering colleges are rising up. But now it’s time for a change. Viva La Revoluçion! (Oops! I got carried away).
This post comes at the best time possible, when our society is now shifting on its axis. The sheer amount of unemployed engineers and doctors have forced the hands of parents to let their children follow their passions. Almost everyone has encountered at least one of the ‘New Gen’ students who refuse to follow the norms and expectations of society. They swim against the flow of life, and, of course, I envy them.
The success stories of Chetan Bhagat, Deepika Padukone, Vikas Khanna, Tanmay Bhat and many other artists have left many inspired, daring to dream, daring to follow their passion and talent.
So, are Arts courses now considered among the best to study? My answer would still be a big fat NOPE! Although people are slowly changing their minds, it will still take another generation of Indians to accept the greatness and beauty of Arts and its courses. I will give the time limit an ambiguous and optimistic ‘Someday soon’ rating.
The time when Thanos snaps his fingers and the stigma of Arts courses slowly fade away, like Spidey, is just around the corner (sorry for the spoilers!).
If society’s expectations were to comment, it might go a little something like this: “Ughh… this article… isn’t… feeling so well…”
(Cue ‘Faded by Alan Walker’)