Why is the humanities stream treated inferior in India?

What are humanities subjects?

The humanities stream is one of the three streams in the Indian education system, besides the science and commerce stream. ‘Humanities’ are the academic studies of human society and human conditions. It is a popular field of study that deals with the diverse aspects of human beings regarding their cultures, beliefs, ideologies, traditions, and histories. 

Humanities consist of an array of subjects such as history, political science, geography, economics, languages, literature, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and others. This branch of knowledge is also concerned with law, religion, performing arts, visual arts, fine arts, and mass communication. Critical, analytical, and speculative methodologies are mainly used in humanities studies.

Importance and advantages of studying humanities

Studying humanities plays an essential role in shaping the mindset of individuals for a better understanding of society. Through humanities research and education, one can learn about the past, providing the insights to imagine and understand the future. 

It helps in expanding the knowledge of diverse human cultures and human behaviors. Within the humanities, one can learn about how society works and how it shapes its individuals and influence their choices. Humanities learning also confronts the prevailing societal issues and inspires the students to tackle the problems ethically.  

Studying humanities also inspires individuals to be rational and not guided by emotions while making decisions. Humanities develop critical thinking among students and enhance their problem-solving skills. Studying humanities also helps the students to develop the ability to possess social skills, personal skills, and teamwork spirit.

Existing challenges for the Humanities stream

 Humanities research and teaching have offered many advantages to society. Humanities strengthen an individual’s outlook on society by delivering different perspectives of their world. It enhances one’s creativity and fosters diverse skills and attitudes. They benefit the community by confronting equality and justice among the citizens. 

However, humanities have been much underestimated and underrated stream over the years. There are prevailing misconceptions in Indian society regarding humanities as an academic discipline. This misconception led the larger crowd to hold discriminatory attitudes toward humanities students and limit their educational outlook. 

Stereotyping in ‘Humanities’

In Indian society, there is a generalized misconception among both the students and parents with an opinion that humanities streams are mainly taken by academically backward students, as humanities would serve them best, which is not valid. The popular conception is that if the students get fewer marks in board exams, they can go for humanities streams as they are easy subjects to study. 

It is a common belief that science subjects are challenging while humanities and arts subjects are easy. If the student is bright in class, they can opt for the science stream, and academically dominant students should not insult themselves by taking humanities rather than medical, engineering, technology, and other professional courses. 

Most parents have considered that science streams are for top students and that those who can take science courses are bright. It clearly shows how society looks upon the humanities stream, considering them as inferior to science. 

There are these discriminatory notions towards humanities students that those who took up the humanities are considered inferior and are pursuing humanities for easy passes, not the intention to study the subjects well.

Job Market

Many parents feel there is not much future in job markets when the students go for humanities streams and that humanities students are not immediately employable. Parental influences play a vital role in the academic impact of children in Indian society. There is a common belief that science is far superior and has various career options such as medical, engineering, IT, Computer applications, architecture, and others, compared to the humanities stream. 

For humanities streams, it is generally considered that there are limited subject-based jobs in the job market. The humanities stream has often been attacked with the perception that it does not teach any ‘marketable job skills. In today’s technologically advanced world, branches of knowledge such as humanities are considered worthless as they do not teach technological education. It is argued that essential research software, including SPSS, is not in the syllabus except for economics subjects.

Can humanities offer high pay jobs?

Indian society believes that there are not many well-paid jobs for humanities. However, this is far from true. Humanities can be the right choice for those with analytical capability and a genuine interest in learning and understanding society and its various aspects. Humanities streams have provided different high-profile jobs after the completion of graduation. As per the payscale.com report, some of the high-paid job careers for the humanities stream are


  1. Director of Development
  2. Sign Language Interpreter
  3. Content Marketing Manager
  4. Content Manager 
  5. Technical Writer
  6. Proposal Writer
  7. Writer
  8. Managing Editor
  9. Proposal Manager
  10. Content Strategist

Other rewarding jobs in humanities include editor, lawyer, multimedia specialist, psychologist, data linguist, teacher, analyst, international relations specialist, art director, human resource specialist, public relations manager, social worker, and others. In India, UPSC Civil services aspirants highly preferred the humanities stream to crack this most privileged and most challenging exam in India.


Humanities can become a coveted stream of study in Indian society if the fundamental problems with the humanities education system are addressed. Technological integration with humanities is the key to the future. 

The existing misconceptions regarding the humanities stream are wrongly influencing and misguiding the more significant amount of the population. 

When meritorious students go for science subjects, that is perfectly fine; however, when they choose humanities, it is questionable to their choices.

The system does not consider the interest of the student. In the school admission policies, the allotment marks for science and commerce are higher than for humanities subjects. 

If the students could not get admission in science or commerce, then they go for humanities. In this way, most academically backward students in class go for humanities, and as a result, the humanities students are often confused as students lacking intellectual potential. 

However, this different field of study and approach has a vital role in society. We must remember that every problem in society does not require STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) solutions.


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