Kaushik Chakraborty’s family members in his home in Nadia’s Srinathpur. Picture by Somnath Kundu
Ranaghat, July 4: Kaushik Chakraborty lost his life in a Taliban attack in terror-ravaged Kabul but the tragedy would not affect the professional plans of his namesake from his Nadia neighbourhood.
Kaushik Haoladar of Ranaghat’s Srinathpur village will leave in mid-August for the Afghan capital, where he works as a cook in a hotel.
“I know life is full of risks in Kabul…. But I don’t want to quit my job and return home because I am earning well there,” said Haoladar, 27, who has been working in Kabul for the past two years.
For the likes of Chakraborty, 32, and Haoladar, the job options in their home state are limited. Nadia, like most other Bengal districts, doesn’t have any big industry.
Haoladar, a Class IX dropout, knows he has little scope of getting a government job.
So, like many youths in the area, he started looking for job opportunities outside the country, avenues that would help him earn much more than what he would have in his home and pull his family out of years of poverty.
Haoladar said he was aware of the perils of living in Afghanistan. “But I do not want to rot here. My father earns Rs 6,000 a month working as a goldsmith. My younger brother has followed in my father’s footsteps and earns Rs 3,000 a month. But I do not want to lead a life like this,” he said.
Haoladar, now at home on vacation, earns Rs 25,000 a month. “I want to lead a better life and for that, I need to have a decent income. I got the job of a cook in Kabul through an agent,” said Haoladar, who sends home Rs 15,000 a month.
The family members of those from the village who work in Kabul said they knew how Chakraborty had died. But they don’t want the earning members to return as the money is the key to a “better life” after years of abject poverty.
These youths earn between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 a month by doing various kinds of jobs in Kabul.
Irfan Fakir, 70, is happy that his son Riyaz, 36, who studied till Class VII, earns about Rs 20,000 a month working as a housekeeper in a hotel in Kabul.
“I used to work as a farm labourer and never went to school. My son wanted to pursue his ambition and left home about 10 years ago, taking up a waiter’s job in a Mumbai restaurant. From there, he got the job in Kabul through an agent six years ago,” Irfan said.
He said his son sent home around Rs 15,000 every month. “When I asked my son how he managed with only Rs 5,000, he said the company paid for his food, lodging and medicines. He is entitled to an allowance during his visits home every two years,” Irfan said.
Irfan said that the quality of life of those whose near ones worked abroad had improved.
“Earlier, we lived in thatched huts. But thanks to the boys, we now live in brick and concrete houses. We have refrigerators, television sets and DVD players. Some of the families also have computers,” Irfan said.
Narayan Biswas, the brother-in-law of Pankaj Mandal, 30, who was injured in Tuesday’s suicide attack in which Chakraborty and two others men from Andhra Pradesh died, said Pankaj had earlier worked as a waiter in a hotel in Iraq.
Mandal, a resident of Mandalpukuria village adjoining Srinathpur, could not clear Madhyamik. He has been working in Kabul for the past two years at the hotel where Chakraborty was a laundry manager.
Mandal earns Rs 25,000 a month working as a waiter.