Neeraj Shankar is a security guard at Forum for Innovation Incubation Research and Entrepreneurship (FIIRE), Fatorda, Goa. He has come all the way from Mirzapur, UP to Goa in search of work and continues to serve FIIRE since the last six months. He could only study till the tenth standard and had to drop out due to financial problems. He dreamt of becoming a Civil Engineer but could not afford the fees. In conversation with Ila Dhond, Content Editor, GoaChronicle.com
GoaChronicle.com: Why did you come to Goa?
Neeraj: I come from a very poor background. We are 3 brothers, one is elder, married the other is younger. I left schooling after tenth standard because of financial problems and started working in fields. But there was no money in it. I had to earn better to feed my family and look after them. Goa had opportunities and promised better salary than UP.
GoaChronicle.com: What difference do you see in Goa and UP?
Neeraj: People in Goa are calm. They are always chilled out. The CM here does not take necessary strict actions on crimes. The UP CM takes right and strict actions on crimes and makes sure same crimes are not repeated.
GoaChronicle.com: What will you do if you get the power to bring a change?
Neeraj: I will do something for my people in UP. There is no proper education, schooling for children. As a result, kids tend to earn money through violence. They are more into hooliganism and dominance. I would like to educate them by providing right education and would want to see them becoming something and earn money legally.
GoaChronicle.com: What opportunities do you see in India?
Neeraj: I see very less opportunities for youth. People study and apply for jobs yet there is a high rate of unemployment in India. For every errand, a man has to pay bribe. Where will a common man go? Additionally, 10 years ago, there were less rapes, murders happening in and around India but now it is in the news every day. Also, due to corona, people are losing jobs, whereas people like me do not even get paid.
GoaChronicle.com: Is India going in the right direction?
Neeraj: PM Modi is doing a fantastic job. Usually, politicians do not care about citizens. They stay in power for 5 years and fill their own pockets. Hearing citizens is important. Also, there is no deserving salary for the amount of work that I do. I work for 12 hours, be it in the hot sun, rains and winter along with only 1 day off per month. I feel I am underpaid for my job. People like me are undervalued