Delhiwale: Portrait of a geography graduate

March 10, 2021 0 Comments

Muhammed Nasir is a graduate. “I did my BA in geography,” he says.

In his late 20s, the gentleman is a security guard. Stationed at a south Delhi monument, he is this afternoon strolling about the old stone walls. The monument is empty. Talking in Hindi, he regrets: “if I knew English, I might be working in an office with my own desk.”

That’s how he had imagined the setting of his working life, while pursuing graduation in his home state of Jharkhand. “But it’s not easy for a Hindi-speaking graduate to get a job,” he remarks. Another option would have been to stay in the village and look after the little family-run agricultural land. Can it be that his status as the family’s first graduate made him reluctant to soil his hands as a farmer? Mr Nasir shakes his head, insisting he wouldn’t have minded tilling the land. “But there are things beyond our control.”

He means the climate crisis, he explains. “There is almost no water left in our village.” The village talaab (pond) dried out some years ago, he says. “Farmers then dug borewells to draw water from deep under the ground… but that water is mostly over too.”

Now it is almost impossible to pursue farming throughout the year. In any case, Mr Nasir’s village, he says, is in a hilly area in Jharkhand’s Palamau district, with a rocky landscape, making it difficult for extensive agriculture in the first place.

“I had to leave the home.” He arrived in the Capital in 2011.

To this day he feels the after-effects of his achievement as a graduate. “My high education helps me understand the world and to face challenges.” He hopes his two kids, Majme Ara and Roshan Ara, who live with wife, Shaheena Begum, in the village, will end up being highly educated and also well-versed in English.

Now, after checking out the hour of the day, Mr Nasir remarks that his father, Islamuddin, must be working in the village fields at this moment. “He is busy with the wheat crop.”

Mr Nasir’s shift will end by 6, when he will cycle back to his room near Kailash Colony Metro station. He will return at 10am tomorrow.


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