Trivial observation - when it comes to education/career choices, we Indians are encouraged to choose from a finite and rather small set of options. No/much attention is given to whether the choice coincides with one's interest. To me the one line answer to this why is something like: filling up your stomach, six inches below or above your belly button takes priority over realization of truth of any kind.
My friend here has spit it out straighter:
Why in India everybody wanna go for MBA, IIT, IIM, Finance, Marketing, IT etc? Are there no other career than these sort of things, which will give reasonable package, career progress and work environment?
I think a key driver of such career choices is inherent conservatism of the Indians when it comes to making a living. Some of the many key drivers are
- Lack of organised social security system reduces risk taking ability. In USA, if you are unemployed, the government will take care of you. In India, if you are unemployed, either relatives take care of you, or you starve
- Marriage system controlled by family and community requires potential grooms to reach a certain level of prosperity by a certain age. Otherwise, the quality of bride drops off drastically
- In a country which suffers from acute material and welfare shortages on per capita level, those who have it, hold a place of honor in the society. The sooner you get it, more honorable it is
- Parents are the key decision making factors. Indian society gives them extraordinary influence and they don't hesitate from deploying emotional, financial and social levers in any dispute with their children. Usually they don't have the intellect to look beyond the obvious - making money now is better than hoping for more money later
- General lack of awareness. People in metros experiment more, people in villages less