The woke virus has already well-entrenched in US universities, and it seems that it’s slowly finding its way into top Indian universities as well.
IIT Madras today tried to honour women in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — as a part of an international hashtag. While this sort of gender-based pandering is antithetical to science and technology — computer codes and scientific proofs don’t care about the gender of the person writing them — IIT Madras’s choice of person it decided to honour was even more bizarre. “In continuation with #WomeninSTEM, #IITMadras acknowledges the achievements of Mathangi Krishnamurthy, Associate Prof. of Anthropology, Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences. Her interest areas are anthropology of work, affective labour, gender & sexuality, & medical anthropology,” IIT Madras wrote, choosing a person from Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences as opposed to one from Science and Engineering.
Across the world, humanities and social science departments in universities are staffed by the mediocre and the unemployable, who leech off government subsidies meant for science and technology for pursuing ‘research’ in fields that have no real world implications or uses. Associate Professor Mathangi Krishnamurthy’s research seems much the same, and seems to have nothing to do with science and technology — as per her official IIT Madras page, she has studied “football and masculinity in Kerala”, and “identity management in call centres”. By lumping together such research with actual science being done at IIT Madras not only sucks away scarce resources from science, but also brings down the overall tone and tenor of research being done at prestigious institutions.
IIT Madras’s choice of honouring a professor from the Department of Humanities and Social Science as a ‘woman in STEM’ evoked strong reactions online. “HOW is ‘anthropology, humanities and social sciences ANYWAY connected to #STEM? Couldn’t find a woman who actually has achieved something in STEM @iitmadras? At least change that hashtag from #WomeninSTEM to #WokeWomen or something,” wrote Shefali Vaidya.
Others wondered why such departments exist at IITs in the first place. “when did Gender equality lab bullshit come into IITs? Oh god, we don’t need future DUs n JNUs. Besides, the fears set aside, what has Humanities got to do with core scientific tempered subjects i.e., STEM program??” wrote a Twitter user.
Others got even more creative, and said that if Anthropology could be science, IIPM could also be IIT.
Others said that the IITs were going to be ruined forever by catering to science and humanities departments.
It’s a real concern, and calls for an urgent overhaul of India’s education system. If it wasn’t bad enough the the government subsidizes humanities research at humanities-specific universities, humanities courses are now being allowed to run parallel to the best technical courses in the country. And as IITs Madras’ latest reclassification of STEM shows, India needs to ask itself if it can allow the corrosive mediocrity of humanities next to some of the best and brightest minds in the country at the IITs.