A recent article on livemint.com explores the devastating unemployment phenomenon in small town India, where even the most educated people have difficulty attaining the jobs they seek.
The most sought after jobs in India are those in the government sector – they offer stability and benefits that are unparalleled compared to other employment opportunities. However, these jobs are not easy to come by. Students with several bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even PhDs are having trouble securing a steady job at all. The education available to students in rural India is simply not up to par, and even students with advanced degrees cannot compete with graduates from more prestigious institutions like Delhi University.
The article cites the work of Craig Jeffrey, a scholar at Oxford University who has become an expert on the subject. Jeffrey is the author of the forthcoming book Timepass: Youth, Class and the Politics of Waiting in India in which he presents a case study of Meerut -- just one of the towns in India where inferior educational opportunities and the resulting hiring bias have put local graduates at a disadvantage.
“The word (timepass) should have a positive connotation,” explains Jeffrey, “but for these men it has a melancholy, sad feeling. They feel that they are being left behind; for them, life has just become a timepass.”
Many rural students get so discouraged that they give up and return to their villages and an agrarian life. Others, however, remain optimistic about their future careers and persistent in trying to carve out an academic program that will allow them to achieve their goals. Jeffrey presents both sides of the situation in his fascinating study.
Craig Jeffrey's, Timepass: Youth, Class and the Politics of Waiting in India, will be published in August, 2010, by Stanford University Press.