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PhD Sabzi Wala: An Example of Education-Employment Gap in Punjab

Sandeep Singh, a highly educated vegetable seller’s plight highlights the struggle for suitable jobs despite academic qualifications in Punjab.

Ravisha Poddar
phd sabzi wala
Dr. Sandeep Singh- Ph.D Sabzi Wala (Courtesy: X)

The startling narrative of Dr. Sandeep Singh, fondly known as the Ph.D. Sabzi Wala, has sparked widespread contemplation on the correlation between education and gainful employment in India. Shared by Gagandeep Singh, a prominent Punjab-based journalist on social media, the post has sparked conversations around the harsh realities faced by educated individuals in securing suitable career prospects.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Gagandeep Singh shed light on Dr. Sandeep Singh's journey, stating, "Ph.D. Sabzi Wala - Dr. Sandeep Singh, holding degrees in M.A. Punjabi, M.A. Journalism, M.A. Law, Women’s Studies, and a Ph.D., is compelled to sell vegetables on the streets of Amritsar. Despite dedicating 10 years to Punjabi University as a Contractual Professor of LLM, he couldn’t secure a permanent job. Due to financial instability, he chose to sell vegetables in his hometown, Amritsar." Accompanying the post was an image of Sandeep Singh with his vegetable cart on the streets.


Despite possessing an impressive academic profile with several Master's degrees and a Ph.D., coupled with a decade of teaching experience at Punjabi University, Sandeep Singh faced hurdles in securing a permanent job. Financial constraints coerced him to resort to selling vegetables in his hometown.

The revelation stirred diverse reactions on social media. While sympathizers lamented Dr. Sandeep Singh's plight, others raised questions about why someone with such qualifications had to resort to selling vegetables instead of seeking better-suited employment opportunities. Moreover, discussions ensued, shedding light on issues like job scarcity, need for constant skilling and the dearth of prospects available for individuals with many such traditional degrees.


Unemployment remains a pressing concern nationwide and Punjab grapples with its share of this predicament. Predominantly agrarian economy, the state has been embroiled in a prolonged job crisis. Reports from various government and non-governmental surveys echo the same sentiment, emphasizing the overwhelming number of graduates and post-graduates vying for a limited job pool, notably in the government sector.

According to a media report, the employment scenario in Punjab paints a dismal picture, with a surplus of educated youth competing for a handful of jobs. Despite electoral promises by political parties to address unemployment, the ground reality remains entrenched in hollow assurances, leaving individuals like Dr. Sandeep Singh battling for livelihoods that commensurate with their qualifications.

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