[Assam] Where have all the people gone?
sroy at mail.smu.edu
Sat Sep 11 19:36:53 IST 2010
Amazing. I don't know what is more comic: the idea that some organization can "encourage" unemployed under-matriculate youths to become menial laborers, or the fact that such an idea deserves to appear on print.
People do not always choose their livelihood depending on their education, often for the poor it works the other way. They lack formal education to be even classified as "undermatriculates" because they cannot afford it.
If the writer wants the ten lakh "undermatriculate" Assamese youths (who apparently seek white collar jobs) to become menial workers, he should first destroy the infrastructure, domestic asset and support that allow them to proceed to a certain level in the education system (quite unlike many of the very poor that includes migrants and the indigenous) to support their apparently prolonged wait to earn a livelihood. Next, he should destroy the urban informal economy that allows these unemployed undermatriculates to survive in better non-formal earning opportunities than menial workers. Then, he will have reduced their situation to that of the poorest illegal immigrants. Maybe then these youths will even migrate to Bengladesh and Bihar to do menial jobs, take away the jobs from the home base of these migrants - "kick them in their belly", as the writer once famously exhorted.
From: assam-bounces at assamnet.org [assam-bounces at assamnet.org] On Behalf Of uttam borthakur [uttamborthakur at yahoo.co.in]
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: [Assam] Where have all the people gone?
The following piece is clearly tendentious. It is the legacy of the bias of The Sentinel, as is evident in Sri D N Bezbaruah's earlier write up on the migrant issue after Barpeta incident where he drew analogy of high birth rate in muslim community (though he was suave enough to point his fingers at illegal migrants: and I suppose there's no separate birth rate data for illegal migrants!) with multiplication of rabbits. These kind of confused write-ups show the quality of the reporters and journalists. When one has no property, or land to till, or no education to do white collar jobs, such uprooted people become 'wage-earners' by providing menial labour in different trade and industry. And if the Muslim community consists more of some people, it simply means that there are more poor people in that community. It is good that Assamese Hindu or so called son of the soil have not fallen on such bad days so far. Why be mushy over a non-issue?
When will the son of the soil be self-dependent? Can he ever?
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Sept 9: The vacuum of menial workers like daily
wage-earners, autorickshaw drivers, thelawalas, carpenters, masons,
vegetable vendors and others becomes quite visible ahead of the Idd
festival. This vacuum that lasts for a week or so is a common phenomenon
that reflects on the dependence of the indigenous people of Assam on
other communities in so far as menial works are concerned. It will be
recalled that in order to make the people of Assam self-dependent, the
All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had started a movement during the early
part of the Assam Agitation. AASU activists did all sorts of menial
works like hairdressing, selling vegetables, pulling rickshaws, carrying
luggage etc themselves. However, that tempo was only for a few days.
In Assam as of now, labourers from North India are being rapidly
replaced by an industrious religious minority community. No one knows
how many of them are indeed Indian minority citizens and how many are
illegal Bangladeshis. The current vacuum of workers has been created
because most of the people belonging to this community have left the
city for their villages to celebrate Idd.
At present, Assam has about ten lakh registered under-matriculate
unemployed youths. What percentage of these unemployed youths belonging
to the indigenous community would come forward for menial works to earn a
livelihood? These youths hanker after government jobs at any cost.
Menial works are a ‘‘prestige issue’’ for them.
Only in Guwahati, over Rs 200 crore is doled out annually as daily
wages for construction works, in both private and government sectors. In
such works, the presence of indigenous people as workers, carpenters
and masons is almost nil. This sector is filled by people belonging to
the so-called minority community.
The AASU is vocal on all issues, including politics. Would the
present set of AASU leaders tell us as to why they have failed to
encourage the unskilled, unemployed, indigenous youths of the State to
fill the vast vacuum of menial workers? Do not they feel that this is
the best way to fight illegal immigration from Bangladesh?
(The Sentinel,Guwahati,Friday,September 10, 2010)
Uttam Kumar Borthakur
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