On history


Kashmali Khan April 27, 2010

ISLAMABAD: This is with reference to Manan Ahmed’s piece in your Sunday magazine titled ‘And the rest is history’. Whilst I agree in most parts and particularly for the need of a liberal arts/humanities education to build a tolerant, open society, there remains large disconnect between the labours and fruits of such an education.

In a vastly stratified and segregated society, the practical nature of things demands a tangible return for tangible educational endeavours. As such, humanities and liberal arts becomes a luxury for the privileged. Furthermore, as an anthropologist, I have been taught about the structure of things and the techniques to deconstruct these structures.

So whilst I agree that all disciplines must be learnt through the foundations that they stand upon — i.e. philosophy — I am not one to criticise those engaged in the sciences, or engineering, or our ‘technicians’. Having said that, our universities and colleges do engage in a uniform and homogeneous indoctrination of students. Such an education does not celebrate cultural diversity or even promote tolerance but seeks to eliminate it.

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