‘Bhika Vasave, who is a migrant and tribal student, comes from the village with a dream to become an officer, but more than 4 years have passed and he still can’t tell if anything will happen. “Many times, worrying about the future you wake up suddenly, and there is no guarantee of going back to sleep,” says Bhika, a 25-year-old student from the Bhil tribal community in Nandurbar.
Pune is considered the home of dreams for a young generation. We see a large number of young people coming here from the rural areas of Maharashtra with dreams. But we can observe how the dreams are more separated when the tribal youth claim a share in this dream.
Adivasi Research and Training Institute has been functioning in Maharashtra since 1962 and provides training for students who want to become officers. But according to a news report from Indian Express, in the last few days, the institute has been plagued with problems, with negligible funding, planning, and staff problems. Institutions themselves are somehow surviving. People can see this institute giving priority to entrance exams along with skill development.
A lot of tribal students, when they come back from a big city like Pune, are not only confused about the institute, guidance, and opportunities, but they also have problems with basic needs and other fundamental issues.
They come from rural areas to urban areas. The state is ranked second after Madhya Pradesh in terms of tribal population. The tribal community in Maharashtra is primarily composed of Bhil, Gond, Mahadev Koli, Dhor Koli, Tokare Koli, Pawara, Thakur, Warli, and Kokani. We can see many groups in this society who do not have land, agriculture, or means of livelihood to secure their future, and because of their dependent condition, the youth migrate. Among those who are migrating, the primary concern is not just food, clothing, and shelter; they’re migrating for education and job opportunities too. You could call it ‘Education Induced Migration’.
Bhagwan Bhangire is a tribal youth from ‘Warli, a community from a hilly area of Nashik (Peth). He is preparing for the Staff Selection Commission exam; he was one of the migrant students in 2017, and now he has an M.Com. degree. Because he has completed his degree, he cannot remain in the hostel.
In Pune, we find that employment and education are the main aspects of youth migration. In a documentary film called Prayag Tech, this daily struggle is pointed out. We see tribal students staying in hostels.
Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (or ‘Yashada’), says that 45% of the students are from rural areas. A tribal student who is interested in competitive exams says that since she does not have enough money to take classes or any coaching, she studies in the study hall on her own. And even to do this, such basic needs as quality books and new technology, which are important for preparation, are needed. She has to struggle.
The Indian constitution has made provisions for education and employment. However, these students do not only have to prepare for the competitive examinations they also have to prepare for their future lives. To overcome the difficulties and achieving their new dreams, it is important and necessary for these students to think deeply and take responsible actions as informed and responsible citizens.
Rushikesh Kasabe is pursuing development studies in Azim Premji university, Bangalore. He has worked on gender and tribal issues in his academic journey.