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Telangana: PhD scholar’s death points to grim situation of lack of teaching jobs in universities

A day after his death, other research scholars on the campus were seen discussing about Narsaiah and the prevailing unemployment crisis in the state.

Kompally Narsaiah was the only brother to his four sisters and hailed from a poverty-stricken family in Telangana’s Nalgonda district. The 45-year-old’s father toiled in the agriculture fields everyday even as Narsaiah hoped to secure a respectable teaching job in a state university.

On Monday, he was found lying dead in one of the hostels in Hyderabad’s Osmania University’s campus. While no suicide note was recovered, the police believe that he ended his life by consuming poison. His friends at the university maintain that unemployment due to lack of recruitment in state universities is what drove him to suicide.

After being awarded a PhD in Geography, Narsaiah’s friends recalled, he was actively looking for a teaching job. Though he continued to stay in Yamuna new PG hostel on the campus even after completion of the course, he mostly kept aloof.

A day after his death, other research scholars on the campus were seen discussing about Narsaiah and the prevailing unemployment crisis in the state.

Chiranjeenvi, a PhD scholar in the department of Astronomy, who stayed in the room opposite to Narsaiah’s, said he has known him for three years. “He spoke with no one. He always kept to himself. We never thought he would take such an extreme step.”

Dr Parthasarathy Yadav, who is currently pursuing his post doctoral fellowship in the department of Public Administration in the university, recalled how Narsiah was depressed over non-availability of teaching jobs. “He was a meritorious scholar. He was eligible for the post of assistant professor and there were vacancies in his department. In the last 7 years, there has been no recruitment in teaching jobs at state universities. He had almost lost hopes of securing a job,” said Yadav.

Further, he said that men like Narsaiah and himself have actively participated in the separate statehood movement for Telangana and one of the promises was one lakh jobs. “Post state formation, university departments are left to die its natural death with no attempts to fill vacancies. The government also passed a private universities bill. None of the 13 state universities have a full-time vice-chancellor and are run by IAS officers now,” he added.

Another of Narsaiah’s friends, N Sreedhar who is currently teaching Geography, part-time, in an OU affiliated college, said that Narsaiah was finding it difficult to sustain himself owing to financial issues. “He was struggling a lot. Since he had a PhD, he did not want to take lower level jobs. He had been requesting his department for teaching assistant’s job to sustain himself, but in vain,” said Sreedhar. Narsiah, according to him, was planning to get married once he landed a government teacher’s job.

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