Why passion pursuits are discouraged in India?

In India and other sub-continent countries, youngsters who want to pursue their passions are discouraged. The common reasons that parents and relatives give for this are based on the presumption that most pursuits based on passions do not warrant enough monetary benefits later in life and that people pursuing them might end up regretting their decisions later in life.

Following passion pursuits
Following passion pursuits

This is just a part of the reason, the other main reason that our elders are strongly against passion pursuits is because of lack of – Respect.

Lack of respect for people pursuing creative passions:

When I talk about passion pursuits I don’t mean just acting, music, or dance, I am also talking about writing stories, poetry, art, learning the histories of languages, farming, photography, etc. All of the above mentioned pursuits are highly discouraged because of the presumption that they do not warrant enough respect in the community even though there is a chance of better pay than other traditional jobs/careers.

In my native language, Tamil, there is a saying that goes “Nalla padikalana maadu dha meikanum” which translates to “If you don’t study properly, then you would be fit to only graze cattle in the fields”. The basis of the saying is to encourage kids to study better but they had to put down the entire farming profession for this. They have given no respect to an entire industry and at a very young age, their minds are trained to think that farming is not a profession that warrants respect. So no one even wishes to become a farmer or help the farming industry in any way in the future.

Example:

To understand my point of view better, let’s take two professions, software engineer and a photographer. In India, a software engineer’s starting salary is around 25,000 INR a month and according to my friends and opportunities on glassdoor, a photographer can earn around 18,000 INR a month.

After we have established the starting salaries, let’s look at future earnings potential. A photographer can offer his services on sites like Freelancer and Fiverr, he can start a youtube channel/ podcast and teach people about photography, he can sell his photos on Shutterstock, he can start online photography courses on Udemy, better work can even lead to work in movies and maybe even fashion. There is so much more, I have just scratched the surface.

Let’s see what a software developer can do. He is in one of the more lucrative industries so a jump to a better paying job is possible in a short span of time, he can also offer courses and teach on youtube. But his freelance skills may not be in demand based on what aspect of development he is interested in. He can maybe build a web app and make money from it via subscriptions or ads. There is so much more you can do here as well.

So in all aspects, both professions are on the same scale on a regular case scenario. But guess which profession is cheered and more respected? The software developer.

For example, a person who works in the lowest grade job at Microsoft will be more respected than a musician who plays really well and does well for himself. Why do we have this discrepancy? People need to change. This same point is explained by Brunello Cucinelli who owns the brand ‘Brunello Cucinelli’ which makes the worlds best cashmere sweaters:

Say I work for Apple. Maybe I have the humblest kind of job, but I’m not ashamed that I work for Apple. Because it is still Apple. Whereas here in Italy, you say, “I’m a tailor” or “I’m a waiter” and you still get that kind of respect.

That’s the nobility that we have to rediscover. That goes hand in hand with a comeback to the community, to the territory. In Italy, this is strong. The 35-year-olds, 40-year-olds, with their children, they’re starting to take a look at the community. They want to go back to living in the countryside. They want to buy good food, good fruit. There is something in the air.

Brunello Cucinelli

The more industries and professions that people get into within a country naturally translates into faster and better growth for the country. I am not saying that engineering or medicine is bad. If that is your dream then please do pursue it without any hesitation but don’t disrespect other professions in the process.

Because of this many people are prevented from doing what they love. If you do something you love, you will feel happy and that will naturally improve your mental health.

Closing:

Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “You are going to die. So do something about it”. Don’t care what anyone says about your passion pursuits. Respect is not gained based on the profession you are in but based on the actual work you do irrespective of the profession. If you are going to become a photographer, strive to become the best photographer that the world has ever seen and everything else will fall into place.

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