Mukhtar Ahmad Farooqi
Roti (food), Kapda (clothing) and Makan (house) are considered three basic needs of human beings. These needs can be fulfilled when a person is earning money that is he/she must be employed or have a paid occupation. However, there are so many people across the globe and in our country who don’t have any source of income as they have failed to secure a job. This state of unemployment is called unemployment. The term unemployment refers to a situation where a person is actively searching for employment or a job but is unable to find any work despite possessing skills. Employment is considered to be a key measure of the health of any country’s economy. According to the Center for Monitoring Indian economy (CMIE), between January 2022 and April 22 the level of unemployment among graduates was 17.8% which may be around 40% in our Valley. The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst to the already escalating crisis of jobs in the services sector. There can be any possible reason for unemployment. Economists have classified unemployment into four major categories viz frictional, structural, cyclic, and voluntary/involuntary. We are not going into the details of these types because our focus is on something else.
Large population, recession, depression, technological innovations, lack of vocational skills, jobs outsourcing etc. are considered as the main reasons of unemployment especially in 3rd world countries like India.
Unemployment is a problem because it gives birth to many issues like poverty and poverty leads to social evils. People start focusing more on getting money instead of education and dignified life. There are several factors which are inflicted by society to the job seekers thereby making them virtually unemployed despite being presented with limited opportunities of earning.
The mindset of an individual is not just important for their own personal growth and development, but it is also very important for securing one’s economic conditions. There is a definite role of mindset when it comes to differentiating between better job opportunities and no job opportunities or limited job opportunities at all. It is unfair to draw a parallel between earning opportunities and unemployment. We all are aware of the fact that hundreds and thousands of students are passing with academic and professional degrees every year but are unable to join as workforce in government or private sector the reason well known to us. When we talk about our society in particular, a sort of negative perception has been created as people with degrees cannot earn money through orthodox occupations. The idea of the degree is being diluted because the degree has become a means to an end, rather than a marker for success. Let’s try to understand this with certain real life scenarios. If a qualified person belonging to a family having hair cutting as the inherited skill is not interested to carry forward that occupation until he finds a decent job in any sectoral segment and the same person is ready to pay Rs. 10,000 for a haircut at Javed Habib or VLCC salon, instead is seen wandering in the by lanes of neighborhood thinking “Loekh kya wanan (what people might say what?). There is no shame in earning livelihood by legitimate means. Similarly, if children of hawkers/vendors having any degree are not interested in helping their parents in already established businesses instead remain busy in their world of fantasies and indulge in unethical practices like substance abuse etc. that ultimately lands them in a situation where there is a feeling of despair. Likewise, agrarian families who are also engaged in government sector do not allow their children to take part or help them in their leisure time in agrarian chores as they have a perception that children belonging to white collar job holders are meant only for receiving education in four walls but are devoid of the fact farming is also a profession which can make them entrepreneurs in later stages of life. Living in rural area and indulging in agrarian activities is not any shameful act regardless of the position we are holding or degrees we are possessing.
People at times change their professions so that they don’t have any hindrances while match seeking for their children or grandchildren. Matchmaking for orthodox occupations like Pûj(Butcher), Goer(milkmen), Naëd(barber), watãl (shoe mender) etc. is the reason that they are compelled to leave their professions so that their children having good academies degrees don’t have any issue in matchmaking thereby letting their children sit idle and remain jobless.
The buck does not stop here, people associated with transport sector despite being qualified have to face taunts like” tohe driver chu asan ithi” are silly issues which make them feel disheartened and consequently never allow their children to get engaged in these professions thereby adding to an unemployed class.
Although we claim to have made great strides in terms of educational, social, and economic development, our youth are being kept away from legitimate methods of earning due to the sick mentality of our society. Despite alternatives for part-time employment that may help our economy flourish, the society’s attitudes and perceptions inflicted on young minds are keeping them out of the workforce and making them jobless.
Recently during the peak harvesting season, one of my friends has seen a neighbor leaving daily at a specific time on his motorbike for six days. On the sixth day, he inquired from him where are you going in the early morning on a daily basis, the answer was shocking that the guy was looking for bihaêre mazóor (non-local laborer) in the nearby fields. Pertinent to mention here that they had only 1 kanal of such land and both brothers remained hooked to their phones the whole day instead of doing that work themselves which was not that big a deal and would have benefited their family income as well. We are not against the labor mobility but those who have nothing to do the whole day why they are ashamed of doing their farm work or household chores regardless of their degrees.
The societal permutations are endless here as the people in the private sector are said to be in the unemployed category even if that person is paid more wages than the one in the public sector. We as social animals have created a niche that these are socially unacceptable jobs even if we get a decent amount of money from this. Society decides the nature of job we should do instead of our needs. It is like an invisible pandemic that is placing our generations in economic distress and dark ages because the young generation have a belief that they will receive this free ration all their lives. Self dependence will bring economic prosperity rather than involving mobile labor for our all requirements because whatever has rise will have a fall. We must realize that doing orthodox jobs by legitimate means has nothing to do with self-esteem.
Being unemployed/jobless has serious repercussions on the mental health of the family as well as those individuals unable to be part of the workforce. The dissatisfaction level among unemployed people increases which can gradually lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
In this era where inflation has engulfed every domain of human need, unemployment is not only a curse but sort of harassment that is ruining familial peace and prosperity. So to fulfill one’s own needs, any legitimate means of earning is going to be a blessing.
PS: There’s no denial of the fact that people possessing degrees should not seek decent jobs but at the same time should not remain idle and foregoing employment opportunities that give less earnings. Idle man’s mind is the devil’s workshop and in the world of digital information overload, it is going to have a negative impact on mental hygiene. These people are highly susceptible to being involved in anti-human and anti-social activities, the consequences of which are hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Govt. job should not be the benchmark, there’s more to life than having a govt. shit. Hope better sense prevails in us individual members of society.