21st Century National Priorities and Practicing Geography in India: The Need to Think Outside the Box <Article>
JURSCI_7-1_1.pdf 609 KB
SINGH, Ravi S.
Academic disciplines have been serving societal needs since their inception, which stands particularly true for Geography. In India, geographers have been contributing in varied sub-fields with appalling reluctance to change in response to the changing world around. This paper aims to attempt a critical stocktaking of what has happened in Indian geography the past with special reference to the recent past (post-1990s) and what our response today and in the near future should be. Arguments made are based on a critical analysis of previous works and secondary data supplemented with the present author’s direct experience in the Indian academia as a geography educator for approximately quarter a century. Accordingly, the discussions contained in this paper mainly dwell on Geography and its general response to societal needs, (Indian) national priorities, the response of Geography to these priorities, and what needs to be done to overcome the present limitations.
The analysis leads to the conclusion that provision of quality higher education and forging an effective linkage of higher education with national priorities are the most important. Indian geography’s response has been poor both in terms of curriculum quality and research works which are generally non-rigorous and misguided. Consequently, they are neither problem-solving nor advancing the state of knowledge. Institutional practices in general thwart innovation and fail to fuel future changes. Thus, interventions are highly desirable by academic leaders, amongst the practising professional geographers, to ensure interaction between research (findings) and higher education curriculum which has a potential of mutual benefit.
The present paper is the revised and updated version of an invited lecture originally delivered at a National Symposium organized by Department of Geography, Savitribai Phule Pune University in association with Indian Institute of Geographers (IIG.) on ‘Re-Orienting Teaching & Research in Geography’, 26–28 December 2014 in the Department of Geography, Savitribai Phule Pune University.
Journal of Urban and Regional Studies on Contemporary India
The Center for Contemporary India Studies, Hiroshima University
(c) 2020 The Center for Contemporary India Studies, Hiroshima University