Garudappa had dreams of a career in academics when he passed out as topper in M.A. in Political Science from Vijayanagara Sri Krishnadevaraya University back in 2012-13. But in the summer of 2019, as the country debates over the Lok Sabha polls, he is eking out a living as a labourer under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
In fact, at the MNREGA worksite in Hiremallanakeri village of Hadagali taluk in Ballari district, he is one among about a dozen graduates and postgraduates. “If we don’t work thinking that we deserve better because we are educated, we and our family members will starve,” says Mr. Garudappa matter-of-factly.
He is among the labourers removing silt from Hiremallanakeri tank. Each one is expected to dig a trench measuring 5x5x2 in a day to get ₹ 369 as wages. But because of the sweltering heat during peak summer, sometimes they are unable to complete the task and end up with lower wages.
Suresh Albur, another postgraduate in political science who secured fourth rank in 2014-15, worked as a guest lecturer at a government PU college in Hagari Bommanahalli for a while. But he lost the job as there was no workload. Without any alternative, he joined his friends in the field.
“My dream was to take up teaching as a profession. I applied for the post of a lecturer but did not get the job. I could not sit idle at home, so I joined my mother and my sister-in-law to work as a labourer,” Mr. Garudappa says. He has six acres of land with borewells. But with borewells running dry and no rains, agriculture is not an option for the family.
Many others at this site, both postgraduates and graduates, such as Malleshappa, Manjunath, Yellappa, K. Ravichandra, and R. Basavaraj, had similar stories to tell.
Source: The Hindu