Not difficult to find a job: an outsider’s perspective

Not difficult to find a job: an outsider’s perspective
Umesh Paswan’s wife and two children carry their freshly plucked cauliflowers from the field. Over 90% (random) of people from outside the state have replaced Nagas in almost every profession considered ‘mediocre’. (Morung Photo)

Dimapur: Far away from the bustle of Dimapur, spread across several acres of land close to the Assam border, cauliflowers, peas and chilli plantations cover the area like a green carpet.

Here, Umesh Paswan and his family have been toiling hard to make their living. Hit by rising prices, though, they have had to compromise with vegetable prices this year. In proximity with the Assam border, they can hardly compete with those vegetables that come in from there.

Umesh has no choice but to overlook those difficulties since he considers himself lucky enough to even being leased out two ‘bighas’ of land by a Zeliang man from Jalukie.

Not very far from there, across the other side of Dimapur, hundreds of daily wage earners enter the state every month in search of work. Holed up in suffocating temporary shelters near brick kilns, these people have only one thing in mind – to make their living.

Ignorant of the change in demography with some Naga villages having more aliens than local people, Nagas would rather earn easy money than plough their own land.

Closer home in the central part of the fast growing town, thousands of outsiders make their living doing jobs considered lowly for Nagas. These cart pullers, labourers, sweepers and others work against all odds to save enough to bring up children to become doctors and scientists. Umesh who has lived here since 1980 says much has changed for him since he arrived from Bihar.

The land that he cultivates is not very fertile but he is happy that he has a place where he can earn, he says.

“I could not in Bihar because I did not have land.”

Similarly for Sanjay Kumar, he got into his business – cart pulling – less than two weeks after his arrival in Dimapur. “It is not difficult to get a job,” Sanjay had told this daily in a chat up on January 3 last.

A landowner in Zani had also mentioned that he is happy leasing out land to “non-locals” because it makes things easier for him. Oblivious to the damage caused due to such slack mindset, Nagas have lost most ‘mediocre’ jobs to outsiders.

Despite the unaccounted number of outsiders replacing Nagas in so many jobs across the state, hard work still eludes many Nagas.

People like Umesh and Sanjay rush through their lives making the most of their everyday earnings while some Naga people consider them pests – how many would then replace them if need arose?