Life ... it is complex to define but simpler to enjoy! I started this blog with the aim to give a platform to my views about life and its nitty-gritties. I hope that through this blog I shall be able to interact with like-minded people who will identify with my way of life and thinking. Often we are short of words to have our feelings be expressed. Through the medium of this blog, I want to let off all my feelings and opinions out for a healthy and interactive debate.
The dilemmas of interdisciplinary research
What does one do if one is sailing in two boats? Cling to one? Cling to both or abandon both of them? These are exactly the questions that one faces when one is carrying out inter-disciplinary or for that matter multi-disciplinary research. Not that these two terms are easy to understand and define for researchers. Much confusion prevails and there are multiple understandings that prevail. However, simply put, if you are working in a research area that combines the knowledge of more than one discipline then you are essentially conducting interdisciplinary research. A few days back, I was reading an article which delineated the ideas related with inter-disciplinary research - a kind of a monster in the research arena and hence decided to put this down. Since, I myself for the past four years have been engaged in this dilemma.
To begin with inter-disciplinary researchers belong no where since everybody seems to question their loyalties towards a particular discipline/field of study. Nobody also willingly accepts them into their domain and thus begins a process of 'otherization' of the researcher herself. Their loyalties are constantly questioned as a result of which they are never completely accepted into one domain. They are always pushed towards the 'other', their capabilities and their intellect in one particular area of study always remains in doubt. They are pushed into one corner and are left with a feeling of solitude ... constantly made to realize that they don't belong anywhere. As an inter-disciplinary researcher (engaged in the fields of Political Science and Media Studies), I have often questioned as to where I belong? Where does my grounding lie? Do I actually belong anywhere? Am I accepted by both disciplines? Completely accepted or partially or not at all? The daily encounters and dilemmas that I face are a bit confusing. At times I am very much sure that I belong here and thus try to move away from the 'other' field. In the end, I have no clear answers and end up subjecting myself to too much of scrutiny. When I hear other researchers speak of a sense of belonging to the discipline that they are working in, I feel left out since it is difficult for me to claim with certainty that this is where I am from. I cannot easily shed my association and identification with the 'other'! So, I choose to make it work to my advantage - and work out a probable association with both the disciplines in which I am placed.
Interdisciplinarity has its own advantages but can become a big time trouble if you are working with someone who is very firmly entrenched in disciplinary boundaries. In a developing country like ours, where academic and disciplinary barriers are extremely rigid - the choice and dilemmas are even more difficult to cope up with. Obviously one cannot discount the advantages of working in two different paradigms - you obviously get to know different perspectives, you know more than one way of dealing with a research problem and you are equipped with the knowledge from two or more domains. But this is it!!! The limitations far outweigh the advantages because you end up feeling guilty. You are unable to do justice to either of the subjects you are dealing with and in the end you seem to have no definite answers. It also becomes a problem of roots...where are your roots? where are you located? No easy answers at all.
Lost in interdisciplinarity
Though interdisciplinary research is indeed exciting and fulfilling (and I can claim this from my own personal experience!), I still feel that interdisciplinary researchers should be able to identify themselves with the 'one' discipline which they feel has contributed the most to their growth in research and academics. Doing interdisciplinary research is fun, it opens up many more windows to your though process and offers you a wide range of options in future career prospects, but thats it! This should not make you forget where you actually belong and in which fold you feel the most comfortable. After all, you have to return home even though you may wander all around ... for everyone it is about a quest for their identity, a search for their roots. How do you explain this to people who for their entire lives have stuck to one discipline. I think its time for me to adjust to the demands of being disciplined into one 'discipline'.
Till then my interdisciplinary journey continues, the anguish to justify each and every input in research also continues as does the task of answering that tough question - "Where are you from?"
How often do you get to watch a movie that is not just a three hour entertainment package delivered to you on screen, but more than that? A movie that is a lived experience for its audience. I watched one such movie recently. Of late, the Marathi movie industry has been producing some excellent stuff, with innovative story lines and bold characters. Director Mahesh Manjrekar has been at the forefront of this cinematic revolution. Anytime, I venture in to watch a Marathi movie, my expectations automatically turn sky high because Marathi cinema, over the past few years has actually spoilt its viewers for choice. Last week I watched the Nana Patekar starrer Natasamrat which means 'King of the theatre scene'. Through its trailers and subject, one feels that Natsamrat is a typically serious, art-oriented movie. And that it is. But deep inside, the movie offers a very enchanting story of an old man who once reigned the theatre scene in Maharashtra. With this, it offers ample life le…
Cast:Urmila Matondkar (Puro/Hamida), Manoj Bajpai
(Rashid), Sanjay Suri (Ramchand), Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Mohanlal), Lillete
Dubey (Mrs. Mohanlal), Sandali Sinha (Lajjo), Isha Koppikar (Rajjo), Priyanshu
Chatterjee (Trilok) Based
on Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi novel “PINJAR” Violent
bloodbath, massacres of scores of human beings and refugee exodus were the most
powerful symbols of the partition of the Indian sub-continent. Chandra
Prakash Dwivedi’s film Pinjar
represents the pain of the partition which engulfed three communities of India
– the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. The film is also the story of a family,
essentially the journey of the daughter of the family – Puro (UrmilaMatondkar
in a major role) and her transformation to Hamida, her loss of identity and her
agony. Pinjar is set in 1946 which
marked the pre-partition era. Even before the country was divided into two
parts, communal rage had spread all over an…
Visits to the Ahmedabad National Book Fair (May 2 - May 7, 2017) have triggered this blogpost. I find myself lost in the world of books, languages, literature, poetry, songs and so much more. When visiting the book fair and attending various workshops and sessions offered there, I felt as if I was living in paradise. After all, a book fair is no less than paradise for book lovers. It set me thinking about languages in general and mother languages in particular. Very quickly, our young generation is losing touch with their own language courtesy the trend of multilingualism, which is fine by itself, but must not let us drift apart from our own traditions and culture. On the other hand, this also set me thinking about an activity that I have been involved in for the past one year. That is learning a foreign language.
What began with resistance, defiance and reluctance has surprisingly turned into acceptance today. While in university, I was dead against the idea of taking up a foreign lan…