Behaviour of unsalaried youth in South Asia will be focus of new Oxford University research after preliminary investigations in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka found that richer youth tend to join politics or become brokers whereas not so rich take on the role of reformers.
Dr Craig Jeffrey, a lecturer in Oxford in Human Geography, had done preliminary research in north India to find how unsalaried youth, in 18-30 age group, engage themselves after finishing their studies.
He had found that higher caste youths have tended use their social connections to become brokers, receiving patronage from client networks whereas the lower caste youth help the poor in negotiations with the government or may set up a Non-Government Organisations.
Also, the affluent unsalaried youth have easier access to politics than their poorer counterparts. "This has resulted in powerful divides in the population of disenfranchised poorer youth in northern parts of India," he said.
According to latest National Sample Survey Organisation report, unemployment among youth in India was about 6% and had risen in the last six years.
Youth across India had supported social activist Anna Hazare during his anti-corruption crusade and the study aims to capture the popular mood while trying to find whether rising unemployment was a reason for this sympathy. "Educational levels have risen rapidly but there is a big gap between their aspirations and the reality of the current jobs marker," Dr Jeffrey said.
Similar research by another Oxford faculty Amanda Snellinger showed that better-off youth in Nepal enter politics or become brokers or fixers in business or politics. Some well-off poorer youth tend to engage in violent or peaceful protests.
In Srilanka, young people are even more divided than in Nepal and North India, an Oxford University statement said. "Jobless youth have often become involve in violent conflicts organised along ethnic lines, with devastating social and political consequencies," said another researcher on the project Dhana Hughes.
Taking the initial investigations ahead across different countries in south Asia, the University has decided to provide a 1.6 million Pound to compare in-depth experiences of the young who are educated and yet unemployed.