Friday, Jul 01, 2022
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Is India Headed For A Demographic Disaster?

India could be well staring at a demographic disaster and Bihar could be at the centre of the disquiet over joblessness

Is India Headed For A Demographic Disaster? Photographs: Vishnu Narayan

Myroom is full of inspirational posters, but I am filled with despair. My girlfriend asks: “Have you been selected?” Mother asks: “Where’s the job?” How do I express where I am stuck? Fat­her has run out of money and I, of time. Recru­itments keep getting delayed, and I am stuck somewhere in this process.”  These appear to be lines of a poem, but they have not been penned by a poet, but by a 19-­year-­old student Ayush, who is appearing for competitive exams. He has narrated his suffering, while struggling to not let despair and the sense of being stuck become the theme of his life. Ayush lives hundreds of kilometres away from his home in Patna and often makes do with a simple meal of daal (pulses), rice and chokha (mashed potatoes). In order to save fuel expenses, he puts all of them on the stove toget­her. You are free to consider him the representative sample of a young unemployed person from Bihar.

Why is Bihar synonymous with unemployment? Why does Bihar witness the highest quantum of migration? Why have government jobs become a question of life and death for the people here? Why is an essential topic like employment unable to take centrestage in the state’s politics? Why does an aspirant for the post of SDM end up applying for Class IV jobs? These are questions that have become leitmotifs of the state.

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