Dalit Youths, Educational Opportunities and the question of Livelihood.

Dr. Vilas K. Jambhulkar
Asst. Prof. PGTD Pol. Science
RTM Nagpur University, Nagpur
Mob.No : 9923431515

Globalization, said Thomas Friedman has made the world flat, and that the obstacles to free and competitive trade to the lowest denominator has been removed. By this he meant that the world is now a better market place than earlier where in even the lowest denominator i.e., the individual has  been empowered to trade directly removing the obstacles that of capital – the requirement of an industrial society or the agency – i.e., the organized trade –which were the hallmark of national or international market. Friedman is certainly not wrong concept for the fact that though the system of the market has been relegated flat, however the social arrangements refuse to obey this law. Contrary to this the flat world remained the playfield of the more than equals, leaving rest to clamor to the catching up games. Ironically, the flat world has resulted into more stark inequalities abounding societies throughout the world.

We now live in a post globalized world loaded with this burden of inequalities on the one hand and clamor for the endless chimera of the livelihood issues on the other, where the pundits who go on endlessly in defense of the market economy have declared not just the end of ideology with the advent of democracy but also the end of history with the triumph of the market economy and the final end of the ideological debate that governed our political / economic lives. The only debate left now is situated within the liberal market model itself that is trying to find out a reasonable stand that justifies the existence of the state that of market economy.

The remedy is to remove the aberrations at the structural levels to facilitate a smooth transition from a distributive economy to a non-distributive one providing the justification of a minimal state. At the sub-structural and the substantive levels, the structural fault lives of the earlier systems can be remedied by emphasizing upon an education system that caters to this transition. Thus, skilling to the needs of the industry is the only purpose of education merely means a continuous and lifelong ability to upgrade the existing skills to fit in to the market / industry. Education institutions therefore remain within this structural protocol at the subordinated position wherein they are the clients / beneficiaries of the opportunities created in the market provided they fall in line in the production of the required skilled manpower. Talent is the ability of the acquisition of such skills. This ability of the acquisition of the skills to cater to the needs of the industry / market at a continuous level is merit. There, however, is one amend in this argument that is- it is not necessary that this education should always be a formal education- remember Friedman’s that world argument- and can include the skills gained in due course in whatever ways one has got irrespective of the caste, class, gender or religion or even nationality one belongs to. Despite that these generalizations are easily contestable what I am trying to maintain is that – this is a dominant argument of the market economy we live in and defend.

Thus, at the end of it we have to reach t certain conclusions within the politico-economic context we are living in regarding the educational opportunities and the livelihood options a dalit youth has. After all, we all have elected a government with the expectation that there certainly are good days ahead the only thing left to be done is that this Indian economy has not got enough dose of reform that will hasten the process of reform from a distributive to a minimal state. Having brought in the reforms at these structural levels and the sub-structural and the substantive level reform and corrections will follow the due course.

Coming back to our question- what are the educational opportunities and the livelihood options for Dalit youths?  The question again remains quite pertinent due to the reason that despite that the dalits have been skeptical of the globalization argument they are also attracted to the opportunities that globalization might provide. However, there are no effective demands articulated by the dalits neither against globalization nor putting a demand over it for their benefits. By and large the dalits and the dalit youths in particular have accepted the argument of globalization have also believed its subsequent argument of skilling, talent and merit, to the extent that there is no point of return. To be frank the dalits to have laid down their theoretical arms and have submitted themselves to the argument of democracy in India as the only ideological and without any qualification to it declaring the end of ideology debate in India along with the end of History fused into one. India too has no alternative than the market economy for its good.

                Where has all this lead the dalit youth and the dalit community along with definite others. Starting issue of education, certain preposition can be safely made.

  1. Equal education to all can be achieved only through the government education system. The removal of the responsibility of the government to provide education to all has grave implication for the dalit youths among the definite other.
  2. The responsibility upon the government to provide education makes it accountable to the demands of the weaker sections i.e., the dalit and other backward section, including the women. The accountability from which the government will find difficulty to stay away from as they are regularly check from the opposition as well as the electorate.
  3. The shift of the policy from the government to the private does not necessarily shift the responsibility of providing conveniently equal education to all. They absolving the state and the government from their responsibility and subsequently getting rid of the accountability and the demands that the weaker sections can place upon the system.
  4. The defacto privatization of education at the initial stage of policy making after independence and the all out privatization post 90s has multiple implications –

          a)  It has privileged private management education over government education by concerted media campaigns and social castigation.

             b) This has created disparities in education and disparities of privileges between the government and the private institutions.

               c)   It has led to the situation in which he privileged/ vocal castes/class of the society have moved to these  private institution there by again rendering the government institution/voiceless.

            d)  These voiceless government institutions are now inhabited by the dalit and other marginal section but without any useful outcome.

             e)  The system is protected by the nexus between the political and the business class which by and large are the same people, who are using the mechanism of the state to further their own class interest.

5.    Given these disparities the chances of the dalit youth in govt. education system is higher but without desired results and in private education system are  obstructed by financial constrains.

6.    However, the elite govt. institutions like the central universities, IITs, IIMs and AIIMs remain elusive and out of hands for the dalit and the other marginal section on the one hand by the law of merit and talent on the other hand the same argument of the merit and talent is compounded by paying capacities. On both these front the dalit youths remains out of the privileged education system and thereby the connected livelihood opportunities.

                On the employment front letters formulate certain prepositions which likely are applicable to the situation in which the dalit youths as well as the other marginal groups find themselves into-

(1) Since, the state has initiated the process of adopting the neoliberal market policies and the minimizing its own functions on to administration and regulations rather than production and distribution- it is obvious that the employment opportunities in the state government is also get minimized. Minimum government and maximum governance, the slogan by Mr. Modi is an apt. explanation of the situation.

                Since, the focus is on minimum government, it means that lesser public opportunities and lesser even the opportunities through reservation policies- the policy upon which the dalit and other backward societies generally look up to.

(2) The emergence of the private as the dominant player in the production and the distribution process riding upon the law of merit and talent have till nownot been able to recognized that dalits have any of them and if they have to that have to be channelized through the open market education system or through the elite government institutions as I have mentioned earlier. This had made the situations grim for the dalit particularly non-professionally youth. However, this is not to say that all the professionally qualified dalit youth are faring better, by and large they are not.

(3) The displacement from the government sector as well as not so hospitable private sector have put the dalit youth and the majority of the backward classes youths in general in a situation from where not much seems to be in the light.

(4) Added to in the instability of the market economy and its affect on employment had led to a renewed clamor of these communities towards the limited addition government jobs. The seekers of which are making to pillare and posts in their attempts to compete the qualifying examinations conducted by the state whether by UPSC, the state public service commissions, the SSBs, or the banks or any other agencies.

(5) Self entrepreneurship remains still a distant idea despite visions organizations are gearing themselves towards its awareness. With little capital, a hostile market and without any state protection and promotion, any attempt in this direction is bound to fail. The markets even are blocked by caste and the entry of a Dalits remains a formidable dream. However, the attempt to bring entrepreneurship idea to the dalit is to bring home the point that there are no comebacks from the existing policy of liberalization and the dalit too need to come to terms with it.

                Over and all not much seems to be on the plotter of the dalit youths despite the claim made by the government on one hand and the civil society on the other. However, not much in the forms of demands is emerging from the dalit youths themselves. The children of dalit movement remain mostly unconcerned to the scenario as I have maintained, they also seem to have accepted the logic of the neoliberal India without posing any question to it as to whether it is in anyway going to be benefit them and now; they on the contrary have internalized this logic and therefore remain absolutely insulate of the politics of globalization.

                The dalit youths along with other marginal and backward sections of the Indian society need to understand the politics within their issues of the opportunities of the education and the questions of livelihood are to be understood and thereafter decided their own politics for their own community’s better future. Jai Bhim.

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