Scholars in Gandhian thought can’t get jobs (Jan 30 is Mahatma Gandhi’s Martyrdom Day)

January 29th, 2009 - 11:41 am ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 29 (IANS) Gandhigiri might be the stuff of blockbuster movies and the way to holding peaceful protests by the new generation, but students who have done their masters degree in Gandhian thought from a Bihar university are finding few takers in the job market.Ajit Sinha and Priyaranjan Kumar, both unemployed, are angry and frustrated men in their late 20s after being jobless despite having masters degrees in Gandhian thought.

“There are no takers for Gandhian thought in the job market in Bihar or elsewhere in India,” Sinha said.

Kumar said that though US President Barack Obama might have been inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy, there were no jobs for students of Gandhian thought.

“It is a dream for us to get even a teacher’s job,” Kumar said.

Sinha and Kumar are two among the hundreds of jobless, who have done their postgraduation in Gandhian thought from the Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University in the last two and a half decades.

Bhagalpur University was the first in the country to establish a postgraduate course in Gandhian thought in the 1980s.

Ajit Kumar Thakur, who is in his mid-30s and is a postgraduate in Gandhian thought, was forced to work as a barber after he failed to get any other job.

“My degree proved useless and I could not get a job,” Thakur said.

Nearly 1,100 students have completed the course to date, but many have failed to get a suitable job and some of them have either been forced to opt for self-employment or have had to take on other jobs for survival.

“More than 500 students having a masters degree in Gandhian thought are jobless and tired of running from pillar to post in search of suitable employment,” said Umesh Kumar Niraj of Gandhi Vichar Manch, a body of present and former students of Gandhian thought.

Niraj said that in most cases these youths are engaged in voluntary work or are working with NGOs on a part-time basis.

Prabhu Narayan Mandal, who teaches in the Gandhian thought department, said that a proposal for starting a postgraduate level diploma course in management of voluntary organisations would be sent to the university to ensure proper employment opportunities for the students of the department.

Sinha said that two years ago the state government had announced that it would give extra weightage to students of Gandhian thought while hiring teachers for 391 basic schools.

But nothing has happened till now, Sinha said.

The government had announced that basic schools based on the Gandhian model, converted into traditional schools earlier, would be revived for imparting education on the Gandhian model of learning by doing.

The meeting of the advisory committee constituted for the purpose is yet to be held.

The basic schools were set up by Mahatma Gandhi in Champaran district in 1939 to impart basic education to boys and girls in rural areas.

They were also meant to provide vocational training in spinning, carpentry, farming, weaving and leatherwork.

A students body comprising degree holders in Gandhian thought staged a protest in Bhagalpur last week and demanded that the government create job opportunities for them.

“We will launch an agitation if the government ignores us any longer,” one of the protestors said.

He said that they will adopt the Gandhian mode of protest to build pressure on the government.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at Imran.k@ians.in)

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