Metallurgy meets metaphysics | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Dancing but no dhotis
    July 13, 2013
    The only time in recent past that a rule was bent was in 1989, ironically for a politician. It was the only time the club turned a blind eye to the…
  • Club hits
    July 13, 2013
    Despite their restrictive membership rules, colonial trappings and archaic dress (and gadget) codes, India's private clubs haven't lost…
  • Finer tastes
    July 13, 2013
    It is the culinary tradition and its grand interiors that Bengal Club is justifiably proud of.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy

Metallurgy meets metaphysics


Fifty years ago, physicist-turnednovelist CP Snow delivered his path-breaking 'Two Cultures' lecture at the University of Cambridge. Tearing into the mutual incomprehension that existed between the natural scientists - engineers, biologists, chemists etc - and the literary intellectuals, he theorized that there was no place for this 'hostility and dislike' in the modern world.

Snow's lecture holds even greater relevance today with divide between the two streams becoming even starker. For a long time, every programme offered in Indian colleges was guarded by thick boundaries. Apart from a handful of colleges and technological schools, sciences and art are not remotely connected even now. "But teaching an engineer some amount of humanities is essential for him to realise the world and the culture around. Just as it is important for the arts student to realise the laws of science that work around him, " said CNR Rao, principal scientific advisor to the Prime Minister. "It makes them well rounded. " Rao feels that every undergraduate course - be it medicine, engineering, sciences, arts or finance must have some components of other streams.

Professor Vijay Singh of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research believes that the sciences and the humanities need to be brought closer to help a student make sense of the world instead of just "measuring" it. Darwin, for instance, established his entire theory on evolution based of his observations of natural history, and most of that information was not quantitative;it was qualitative. In fact, in his vision document for the Indian Institutes of Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru had said that science and technology graduates must not be illiterate about humanities.

The Indian Institutes of Technology, which run humanities courses for their engineering students, expect them to follow a few core courses. At IIT-Bombay, students have to take a course in introduction to economics, environmental studies and one of the following four: literature, philosophy, sociology and psychology.

"All the courses run in full capacity. Students relate to technology a lot better and the realisation and appreciation of studying humanities comes once they are a few years into their careers, " says head of the IIT-B humanities department K Narayanan.
Just as scientific understanding can be both beautiful and vital for culture, it is important to realize that almost all management that we apply in day-to-day workings are derived from subjects of humanities, says Himanshu Rai, faculty at IIM Lucknow. "The power of humanities should not be undervalued, " he says.

As a teacher of strategy, negotiation and leadership, Rai says that all of education is a template we need to apply as we go on in life. "But there is so much wisdom in the Indian scriptures I use in my teachings - I feel they can be translated to modern management practices. "

At St Xavier's College in Mumbai, students pursuing arts have to take up the mandatory credits in science and vice versa. Even when the curricula is drawn up, faculty from all the streams have to contribute their bit, thus making learning fuller. Says Father Frazer Mascarenhas, principal of the college: "There was a time when it was essential for a student to specialise in one subject. But today it is very crucial for every student to pursue interdisciplinary studies. For, all the major discoveries and advances are happening at the margins of various subjects. "

To make the arts more inclusive, the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi is now planning to develop trans-disciplinary clusters and it has sought financial support from the University Grants Commission. "The idea is to ensure that the mind is not compartmentalised, that it does not think in one direction. The plan is to keep the mind excited, " said vice chancellor S K Sopory.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service