Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog header image 2

A Liberal Arts Education

September 15th, 2011 · 7 Comments

As I have looked beyond tech in the past couple years and gotten more involved on working to bring political and policy change in India, I have acutely felt the lack of a liberal arts education. The only economics and stuff I studied was the few Humanities courses in IIT, which we sort-of sleepwalked through. The relevance of it for an engineer was at that time completely lost on me. Combine with that uninspiring teaching and I was put off from the liberal arts for a couple decades. The loss was entirely mine.

I really think we need to emphasise the need for learning liberal arts for every person, irrespective of what discipline one is specialising in. Just take a look at this lecture series from Harvard’s Michael Sandel and you will see the importance of understanding these concepts as part of everyday life.

The principles of freedom, liberty, justice are fundamental to our responsibilities and duties as a citizen and voter. We need to think of creating a series which combines Western and Indian philosophers that each of us can use to re-educate ourselves.

Tags: Uncategorized

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Veerchand Bothra // Sep 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Indeed – the high schools should teach applied liberal arts.

    The Arts along with financial intelligence are necessary skills for leading a successful and meaningful life.

    We no longer live under the monarchical form of government and democracy neccesitiates that everyone is at least politically aware.

    Had written about the importance History, Psychology, Sociology & Economics in a different context here:
    http://www.mobilepundit.com/2011/06/28/psychology-history-sociology/

  • 2 devang nanavati // Sep 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thtas one thing we can learn from the us as an undergraduate we had a huge portion of our curriculum as general studies requirement common to all majors. Also our cultural mythology can make up for a lot of these gaps

  • 3 Siddharth // Sep 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with you! We need lots more liberal arts education.

    It is so important to read these when young because the mind is struggling to develop a working view of world. Not getting these important concepts clear can lead to distorted view and accidents can happen to you all your life because of making wrong choices.

    So often I see people read Bhagavad-Gita at the age of 60 years but that to me is reversed. They should have read this book at the age of 20 to understand the implications of their actions and have the courage to perform the right actions throughout their life.

    But I also feel that instead of large volumes of philosophy and economics we should have fictional novels with embedded principles of philosophy and economics. Such novels can get the attention of larger audience and give their minds a framework. Even if all of the audience do not grasp all concepts at one go, the framework will be referred by them all throughout their life. Simply said theory of constraints is easier to understand for larger audience in Goldratt’s book The Goal than its mathematical treatment.

    Siddharth

  • 4 Scatterbrain // Sep 17, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I completely agree. Education in India is so science/maths centric. Though much can be gained through a liberal arts degree.

  • 5 Meenal Jhala // Sep 17, 2011 at 10:02 am

    A liberal arts education should be given high priority in schools and colleges. Its no use just studying maths and science.

  • 6 Daneesh Sethna // Oct 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    A liberal arts education is a brilliant opportunity to not only broaden your perspectives and explore different avenues it also helps you evolve as a person. I don’t believe that Maths and Science are totally useless because they are essential for man to explore his potential but I do feel that the humanities are undervalued in our country.
    I have personally perused a diploma in liberal arts along with my degree and I have feel as though it has really helped me develop as a human being. It also allowed me to study subjects as diverse as drama and science or mythology and Intellectual property right. I think that we should popularity it more in India and not undervalue or ignore the importance of the humanities and the arts

  • 7 Daneesh Sethna // Oct 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    A liberal arts education is a brilliant opportunity to not only broaden your perspectives and explore different avenues it also helps you evolve as a person. I don’t believe that Maths and Science are totally useless because they are essential for man to explore his potential but I do feel that the humanities are undervalued in our country.
    I have personally perused a diploma in liberal arts along with my degree and I have feel as though it has really helped me develop as a human being. It also allowed me to study subjects as diverse as drama and science or mythology and Intellectual property right. I think that we should popularity it more in India and not undervalue or ignore the importance of the humanities and the arts.

Leave a Comment