Rate this
4 (3 votes)
“Don’t let prejudice dissuade your ambition”
4 out of 5 based on 3 user ratings

“Don’t let prejudice dissuade your ambition”

Ishan Agarwal picPreconceived attitudes can limit the potential of individuals, writes Ishan Agarwal, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Kolkata in India, who argues in favour of challenging bias to allow personal and societal growth.

 Often we are prevented from achieving success in a given field or endeavour, not due to lack of talent or skill, but rather due to the numerous prejudices and dogmas which society tends to instil within us.

During school life, I noticed a strange attitude among my peers and even my mentors. It was a matter of general belief that a student with a scientific and logical bent of mind is ill-suited to artistic fields such as music, painting, and creative writing.

I found it strange to think that scientific thinking and creativity, or logic and imagination, should be considered mutually exclusive.

I had always demonstrated an eagerness and fondness for the sciences, and most of my peers and teachers considered that my future definitely lay in this direction. My friends routinely sought my help in their study of science, and even my teachers encouraged me to involve myself in discussions with them on a wide variety of scientific topics, both in and outside the class room.

However whenever it came to language, literature, music or creative writing, I was the last person to be asked to help out, despite the fact that  I appreciated good literature, music and art just as much as my peers did.

Whenever there was a poetry or creative writing competition, I was not considered or given an opportunity to demonstrate my talent. Invariably, some one from the arts section was sent to represent the school. I was rejected even before I could prove myself.

On the other hand, I was always encouraged to participate in all inter-school science and math competitions. My talent and fondness for creative writing was limited to my school assignments, which, being academic in nature did not give me the full freedom to express my thoughts.

This strange prejudice and the bias against my talent, along with the perceived dichotomy  between science and art, made me feel miserable. I decided to challenge the belief that science and art are not as mutually exclusive as thought to be.

Because I was not getting a platform in school to demonstrate my talent, I decided to prove myself in an external environment. I enrolled for the prestigious National Bal Shree Honour, conducted by the government  on a pan-India level, in the field of creative writing and went on to win it at the district and state level. Only ill health prevented me from participating in the national finals.

This was enough to dispel the atmosphere of prejudice, and henceforth not only was I encouraged to participate in such competitions, but  also was repeatedly given the honour of representing my school in creative writing competitions. I went on to win several such competitions, receiving coveted awards for both myself and my school.

The same people who had not encouraged me to participate in creative writing were now proud of me. Overnight, I became more popular among my peers, and my essays and poems started getting published in the school magazine on a regular basis.

This experience reaffirmed my belief that dogmas and prejudices are merely a state of mind, and it is our duty not to succumb to them, but rather challenge and defy them whenever possible, so that we may break free from the stifling chains of blind convention and bring forth a positive change in society.

Given a chance, I will never hesitate to challenge or question such prejudices, whatsoever they may be, as I believe that not doing so would only portray a weakness in my character and inhibit both my own development and that of society.

Photo credit: Image URI: http://mrg.bz/eJmmFN

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me: I am presently a student at the iconic Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

I intend majoring in Mathematics with electives in  Computer Science and Quantum Physics, and thereafter pursue either a MS or PhD degree.

I aspire to one day be able to use the superior power of quantum computing and mathematical analytics to transform lives and make the world a better, easier and friendlier place for everyone to live in.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments