Unemployment: Numbers and Nightmares

The number of unemployed has crossed seven lakh in the trouble-torn Manipur recently; and it is frightening because there is hardly any way to cut down the figure

Fact stays, impressions do not

When I graduated from my college in Imphal, I could have become a clerk in a public office, or maybe a teacher; but those were too unaspiring; still they are. Other occupations, I had not really thought about; nor was there any vacancy as never out there. Maybe I could have been in a job, not related to the things I had learnt in my three-year bachelor’s degree course. Now and then there are exams only for government jobs but these are mostly impossible. It is simply unimaginable because that’s how the things stand today in the town and we are withering collectively in the existing socioeconomic condition.

Above all, you have to pay to get a job. And, for me, even if the aliens invaded Earth, I’d happily knock down a couple of them and surrender to the unearthly beings, rather than to pay bribe and get a job in any public-sector area.

We have only sporadic government job recruitment; and besides being acutely scarce, all of these have a price tag. Corruption has found its root in our valley. 

Nobody can dare the people in the higher echelon of the society, who in the name of providing employment, have been looting from the public in broad daylight. They always play the captain’s knock; others are not even in the field and are mere substitutes. Just power, not the absolute version, corrupts absolutely.


The hierarchy starts from a post in the coveted administrative service to the lowest rank of a law-enforcement agency. Discount, don’t expect it. And don’t expect to succeed if you have no connection to any of the so-called elites of the shithole. The examination for the administrative service is considered as the epitome of becoming a full human being. Leave alone the highly educated candidates with bright eyes, who are willing to do anything, pay anything, the employers and selectors are also a great guide. Once they copied and pasted the entire question paper from a nondescript blog! Still they get away because they can get away just like that. If this is not daylight robbery, then what is?

It is ridiculous at times. Many a people have lost money because they contacted and greased the wrong persons’ palms. It’s a common hearsay that people lose their properties and assets while seeking, or rather fixing, for a job. Days will come when these disgruntled folks will form a joint action committee against the officials-in-charge (concerned authority in local parlance) and organise sit-in-protests. These styles of airing grievances are as ubiquitous as the panoramic views of mountains from any part of the Imphal valley. 

Back again, studying some foreign literature and political science implied I had a very, very limited opportunity in the already desperate conditions. Even in the world of private tuition—the other full-time side business of my kind, the arts stream is just a curse. These private classes are a bastion for those whose who have mastered any subject in the science stream that includes Physics, Chemistry and either Mathematics or Biology and their branches of study. 

Fortunately, my specialisation in post-graduation placed me favourably in the media industry. But this is in New Delhi, a thousand of miles away from my hometown. Out here, the easy access to services and infrastructure enhance, somehow, the quality of living. No wonder, many of our folks are coming here in droves. Someday, I will go back home, but that’s another issue. It is hard to stay at home; and yes, it is no different when we come here, except for the couple of luxuries like the regular power supply. It is like living the life of an outcast, not necessarily with regrets.


If we go, try finding the reasons for this poverty of living, we are most likely to reach the destination with the least effort. Sixty years of insurgency, the lack of industry, geopolitical causes, the futility of multiple authorities, completely incompetent and ruthless, and other reasons are screwing up the place. The matter is only getting worse. In our previous generation, a mere post graduation was enough to get a lucrative job. But the times have changed.

Image by
Philip Absolon via Wikimedia Commons

Even the cause of rising population seems legit, though we never had a source of mass employment historically. We had evolved as small-timers in cottage industries. The arrival of the imperialists turned the things upside down when we were merged to the global economy. Till today, we are bearing the brunt of foreign economic onslaught and the inability to compete in the bigger markets of labour, finance, commercial endeavours and all.   

Economic experts cite the scarcity of resources and markets are the biggest bottlenecks in the region. Political instability enhances the depression to no end. Observers would say it is in fact because of the government: year after year, its apathy and neglect have excoriated the fabrics that bind us as a whole. Our plain laziness is adding more insults to the wounds. Suningdana chaaningba, nungainingba morons galore!

With the figure crossing seven lakh, we are not alone. In a survey conducted by the International Labour Organisation in 2013, there are 200 million people out of work or jobless globally. Curious which region could be comparatively like us?

Again the reasons are abundant; yet, no one can deny what we need is concrete action. Our main concern is in the inability to measure the contribution from the mass, which have been injected with a high dose of cynicism; and the amount is much more than the easily available doses of heroin and other drugs that are ravaging us. Personal interests, mostly in material possession, are more important than widening the job avenues, staying clean, looting for the king and sleeping with the queen.


Altruism is an alien term in our ethnic group. This is most obvious from the parents, who are ever infected with doctor-engineer fever—only longing for their children to walk the safe, trodden path. No wonder, the future is bleak and we are going from bad to worse. Seven lakh jobless people, mostly the youth, and the present condition are the perfect ingredient to create a cocktail for self-destruction. Only individuals are the only hope for a change. Ironically, talents and skills are not lacking as is evident from the broad achievements of the diaspora in mainland India and elsewhere. And we also have a silver lining. The number of entrepreneurs has risen to a new high in the last decade or so. We have so many of us, getting into diverse fields ranging from those of information technology to energy resources. Many of us are, in a way, taking the work home.

To summarise, I’m only making a statement. We have to climb a mountain—so far we have been languishing at the foothills in the most pathetic conditions. Amongst us there is no difference between the leaders and the lawbreakers, the protectors and the destroyers, the saviours and the killers, and what not. All of these are reflected in the figures on unemployment. More than seven lakh unemployed people is the mirror of our land, reflecting the scum of hopelessness. This cannot, however, last forever. Never say never.

PS: If anyone wants to go by the book on employment, or rather unemployment, then there are so many expert suggestions and recommendations, available from both online and offline sources. Here are the individual impressions of the issues and challenges at first glance.  

7 000 000 Blues



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