I was travelling to work last Monday with a friend. Both my friend and I have migrated to the city from our respective villages, first for higher education, and now jobs. I work in the city for five days, spend two days of the weekend in the village and then travel back to the city on Monday. But I am one of the luckiest among my peers to have a stable, fair-paying job where I have to work only for five, and not six, days. And this, the job situation and how our peers are faring in it, was the topic of discussion on our two-hours’ bus journey that day.
Many students migrate to the cities from Wada, Vikramgad and Palghar talukas every year for professional courses, especially engineering and medicine. But they find it hard to get a well-paying job after graduation. The reasons are multiple. To begin with, they cannot compete with city students for seats in eminent colleges, so they are forced to take admission in sub-standard institutions, which lack laboratories, good teachers and any extracurricular activity on campus. Therefore, even though they manage to scrape through the course and graduate, the actual learning is little. And it is too late when they realise that a degree certificate is not a passport for a job.
The lack of fluency in English, as well as communication skills in general, acts as another major hurdle towards that coveted white-collar job. But it will be quite ignorant and insensitive to blame the students here. It is not their fault, really. Corporate sector is the fiefdom (and I don’t use this term pejoratively here) of upper class/upper caste urbanites. If a village boy/girl aspires to get entry here, they have to play by the rules that are set by these upper class/upper caste urbanites. The knowledge that these corporations are run on is theirs, the language is theirs, the workplace culture is theirs; even the food is theirs!
Students cannot stay back in their villages either. There are no well-paying jobs. Agriculture is not profitable (it never was). And the contact with cities and the incessant consumption of ads through television has made them “aspirational”. So village is no more good enough for them, and cities are not very welcoming either. No wonder most of them feel frustrated and depressed in general.