Hounded In Home, Kashmiri Youth Make Their Mark In Delhi

25 March 2008

New Delhi: Fed up with daily protest marches on the streets of Srinagar for jobs, thousands of educated Kashmiri youth are making a beeline to New Delhi and other parts of India in the hope of a better future. Here in Delhi only, nearly 4,000 Kashmiris, according to rough estimates, have proved their mettle, particularly in IT-related industry. It’s not just technocrats, but lawyers, engineers and business administration professionals from the Valley are driven by the business process outsourcing (BPOs) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPOs) jobs. Most of the youth, blame the rising unemployment in the Valley as the sole reason for their migration from Kashmir. Shazia Qadri is a call centre executive with a leading multi-national company here. Though highly qualified, she says, she was unable to find a suitable job in Kashmir, forcing her to move out for a secure future. 'You get a lot of job opportunities in Delhi and other parts of India. We can secure our future here. Can we have all this is our state?' she asked. Private sector doesn’t exist in Kashmir, and if at any time it steps in the Valley “I’ll have no hesitation to return home,” she said. Tahir Hussain, a call centre executive with Wipro holds a Hotel Management degree but due to limited avenues and opportunities in the Valley he preferred to settle in New Delhi and work with a call centre which offers him a handsome five figure salary. More than 4,000 Kashmiri youth are working in Delhi, Tahir said, including 400 in the call centre he works with. 'I have seen the plight of the unemployed youth of the state. Instead of providing job opportunities to them they are humiliated and beaten on Srinagar streets whenever they raise their voice. I don't want to be one among them,' he told etala’at. But working in a BPO or a KPO is not an easy task as the executives have to work eight hours during the night shifts which affects their health as well. 'I am not satisfied with the job but what attracts me is handsome package,' Hussain says. Recruiters are meanwhile “more than happy” with the performance of the Kashmiri youths. Ruchi Sharma, manager, Human Resources, WNS, a multi-national BPO says that Kashmiri youth have a “great potential and they are doing well in the call centres.” 'Kashmiris are very stylish, intelligent, determined, and above all hard working people and that is the reason that they stick to call centre jobs,' Ruchi told etala’at. She said that people from all sectors are joining BPOs and KPOs and the organizations make sure that every facility including transportation is extended to its employees.