Deprivation tales

Print edition : July 21, 2017

Azad, Rajinder Chamar, S.H. Sandeep, Kondal Perawala and Akkula Rajkumar. Photo: Kunal Shankar

Kaveri Hostel, one of the 24 hostels on campus. Photo: Kunal Shankar

Six postgraduate students live in each room of about 300 square feet in the 24 hostels located on the Osmania campus. At least six or seven of these hostels are unfit for any use.

Kaveri Hostel is a single-storied, asbestos-roofed complex with rudimentary metal beds and crumbling shelves. In room number 24 lives 28-year-old Rajinder Chamar from Warangal, who is pursuing a master’s in psychology. He already has a master’s in chemistry and tried to get a job at one of the many pharmaceutical companies in Hyderabad. He could not get through, because, he says, the company owners prefer to employ people from their own caste. Rajinder is a Dalit. He obtained a bachelor’s and a master’s in education but has not been able to find a teaching job. To remain in Hyderabad, he enrolled for a master’s in psychology at Osmania. The story is the same with 30-year-old Akkula Rajkumar, also from Warangal, who has enrolled in a master’s in philosophy after having obtained a master’s in physics. Rajkumar says he simply cannot afford to rent accommodation in Hyderabad while he looks for a job in the city.

Azad, alias Odelu Bouthu, who led the 14-party Osmania University Telangana Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) in the last phase of the struggle, said: “Neelu, Nidhilu, Niyammakalu—that slogan remains unfulfilled.” That was Chief Minister Rao’s oft-repeated slogan seeking “water, funds, employment”. Azad is a 28-year-old from Warangal pursuing a master’s in philosophy. He belongs to the radical left that played a key role in the TRS capturing power. He said most postgraduate students are so desperate that they are content with getting low-level jobs in the police department.

Kunal Shankar

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