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Fixing Futures: Educated Unemployment through a North Indian Lens

  • Craig Jeffrey (a1)

In April and May 1996, while conducting doctoral research, I spent a month living in Meerut College, western Uttar Pradesh (UP). In September 2004 a new project brought me back to Meerut, and I was nervous about my return to the college. Would I get on with the new batch of students? What of the age gap that had opened up between my informants and I? Do I mention my previous visit? These concerns quickly evaporated when I entered the college. Many of the students I had met in 1996 were still living in the same hostel rooms. Between 1996 and 2004 I had completed my Ph.D., married, and obtained an academic job. During the same period, many of my informants, now in their mid-thirties, had, it seemed, stood still. Unable to obtain salaried employment, one of these students asked me: “What can we do but study and wait?”

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