It was a blockbuster movie of 2012 wherein an Indian homemaker secretly joins an English-speaking course to speak it confidently thereafter. Most of the people do good with English speaking, be it the students, the farmers, the soldiers, the commoners, the clerks, the office bearers or any kind of job seekers.
Down in the south of the country, an auto-rickshaw driver will surprise you with his level of English speaking. English also comes easily to those who earn their livelihood from tourism.
No matter what their level of literacy may be, they manage to communicate with foreigners in English. It has never been a great deal. The modern-day spiritual gurus are also highly Englicised.
Instead of resorting to Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic or Hebrew, they find a great ease and access in English. The prime-time TV debates are all about English speaking. They may or may not have the necessary content.
Speaking in English is rather a mass level phenomenon now. We walk English, we talk English, we dress English, we eat and drink English. So, it is all English Vinglish.
On the other hand, anything not so easy to learn and assimilate is in similitude, related to rocket science. A professor of hard-core sciences may move unhindered to other side of the library to go through anything written in English in the baggage of literature, history, polity, law, philosophy or moderately difficult sciences and develop a great deal of understanding of the same.
A series of blogs have been published in this regard especially by the physicsworld. An illustrious example in the recent past has been that of Philip Dybvig winning Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in 2022. But Dybvig did not start out as an economist.
In 1976, he graduated from Indiana University with a double major in Mathematics and Physics. So as far as the Physics fraternity is concerned, he remains a physicist as ever.
The other physicists winning Nobel prizes in different fields are Joseph Rotblat (Nobel Peace Prize); Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Nobel Prize for Literature); Allan Cormack and Peter Mansfield (Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine); and Ernest Rutherford (Nobel Prize for Chemistry).
We can always see students of harder sciences switching over to humanities or social sciences and doing better than the natives of the subject. However, the reverse is not true.
While as the people from this side can keep making far reaching and diverse knowledge expansions, the other side can at best consolidate its limits. A river always flows from a higher potential to a lower potential and not the opposite.
This is a wholesome truth and cannot be debated. It has to be agreed, willy nilly. In the same breath, one has to acknowledge that our abilities are inborn, much like an inbuilt chip of a gadget. This makes a little scope for boast and bias. We are a little self-made and a little processed. We are what we intrinsically are.
And that is beyond our wishes and desires, beyond our call and control. However, the good news is that abilities don’t flow in the same lineage. The son of a farmer may be a physicist and that of a physicist may be a musician.
God schemes the affairs very well, though HIS sense of distribution may appear very arbitrary and random to the commoners. The more diversely blessed we are, the more thankful we should be to the Creator who chose us the way we are.
Therefore, let us not get argumentative about the difficulty of the degrees. Let us be true to the facts and be an honest regime of graded intellectuals.
The accepted line at Oxford is that Science is harder than Arts. More than a decade old research study conducted at Durham University had confirmed the same and a recent study of 2021 has reaffirmed that physical sciences are hardest to pursue across all universities in the world.
Dr Robert Coe, the main author of the study, said: “At A-level, science, maths and technology subjects are not just more difficult than the non-sciences, they are without exception among the hardest of all A-levels.”
The research was carried over a sample of one million pupils at Durham University. Coe had asserted that if universities and employers were treating all subjects as equal, they were “selecting the wrong applicants”. He had further said: “A student with a grade C in A-level biology will generally be more able than one with a B in A-level sociology.”
The researchers had therefore recommended the government to look immediately at introducing a scaling system used in Australia whereby a grade in one subject is worth more than the same grade in another.
The Durham study was commissioned by the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society on behalf of the campaigning group for science educators who are deeply worried by a drop in the number of pupils taking A-level sciences and math’s.
If you are an Einstein, you will receive an offer for Prime Ministership of Israel more than once, even though you have not read polity. See how confidently Michael H Hart places Newton ahead of Jesus in his book of impressive personalities who made a greater impact on humanity. Some of the world class leaders of the recent past have come from hardcore sciences.
Margaret Thatcher was a chemist and Jimmy Carter, a nuclear engineer. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor since 2005 is a quantum chemist and even Pope Francis at Vatican has studied chemistry.
While as the literary people may go on and on debating about hot topics like conscience, destiny, origin, evolution and fate of mankind, take it written in my blood that the right answers will come from quantum scientists any time soon, resonating both with reason and religion.
We know that Galileo had disproved Aristotle and not the reverse. I may sound angry today but I am not. I am brutally honest. Cross-check me factually as well as conceptually. Being skilled and scientific or being spiritual requires sense anyway.
They are not mutually exclusive. Take the example of Adam being an agricultural scientist, Aaron a vizier, Moses a carpenter, David a commandant who forged the iron to make armors, Idris the first to invent a needle and Joseph the first to design a clock; all of these being excellent skills of engineering and measurement and yet they were the mightiest spiritual beings who ever lived on this earth.
In scientific connotation, strength doesn’t refer to masculinity nor does intensity mean what it means in English. We can always elucidate a stanza you have written. Let the literary attempt the following sentence. “The divergence of a curl of a vector vanishes.”
Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics, Govt. College for Women, M A Road Srinagar
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.