Accepted paper:

Escaping 'faltu': political practices of educated unemployed youth in Nepal

Authors:

Jeevan Sharma (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

This paper offers discussion on how these young men deal with uncertainties arising from shortage of salaried jobs in the country and struggle they go through in their attempt to find salaried employment (jagir).

Paper long abstract:

Given that formal education is increasingly valued as a part of young men's life course and key aspect of dominant masculinity across different caste and ethnic groups, failing to get its return in terms of salaried employment is a major challenge for them. The increasing number of saichik berojgar, as they are known in media and policy documents, in the context of widespread exodus of young men in search of job opportunities outside of Nepal is a major part of policy discourses. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork amongst educated youth in search of salaried employment in Nepal, this paper offers discussion on how these young men deal with uncertainties arising from shortage of and stiff competition for salaried jobs in the country and struggle they go through in their attempt to find salaried employment (jagir). While going abroad for employment (bidesh tira jane) offers a major source of escape for many, others may join political parties, work as activists or volunteers, open NGOs or work as fixers (dalas). In particular, this paper focuses on the participation of these youth in political activities in their communities, universities/colleges and beyond. Each of these strategies allows youth to escape being labelled as faltu, a label that signifies idleness and uselessness.

panel P53
Educated youth in search of enlightenment in South Asia (and beyond)