Aadil Rashid Bhatt
As goes the cliché, “Teachers are builders of a Nation” and rightly so; after all engineers, doctors, administrative officers, even teachers and all the top crop of society is strenuously manufactured by teachers in schools. But, has not the time yet descended upon us as mere mortals to lend credence to this age old cliché and resuscitate this age old profession to its true glory or shall we behave like ostriches and let some vultures masquerading as teachers feast upon the cream of our society that is youth (particularly girls)? The cliché I cited is not a mere phrase but a statement pregnant with philosophical connotations which, if understood with the right spirit and religiously followed, in both letter and spirit, can usher in a paradigm shift in the educational landscape of any society, let alone Kashmir.
The application of the core premise of the cited cliché has done wonders around the world save Kashmir! The vale-the land of scholars and saints with repository of knowledge only should have been at the top of innovations and inventions but we are at the bottom in this domain. Except for producing brilliant doctors, journalists and may be some engineers, we have yet failed to produce teachers with the spirit ,mind and body of what the noble profession entails.
Despite the fact that there is a good crop of such teachers across the length and breadth of Kashmir but their numbers are feeble. We must produce more. But, the pertinent question which arises here is who qualifies as a good teacher? For me, the most vital and splashy quality of a teacher should be that he/she must be a ‘morally’ upright; a person of prodigious caliber; a person possessing a impeccable heart and sound mind; a polymath par excellence. We have no dearth of qualified teachers and subject experts in the education department. But, sadly, the moral upbringing of some teachers seems to be poor nowadays. The concept of moral education eludes some of them.
Those who are supposed, chosen and obligated to impart moral education to students seem to digress from their real duty and instead have become exploiters, vultures and debauches suffering from moral depravation. As goes another cliché,” a single rotten apple decays the whole basket”; similarly, a single libertine teacher in the whole department can potentially smear the image of the entire department lead to blemishes on it which will never be washed off.
The insalubrious news, a couple of days ago, that a guardian of society’s morality in a north Kashmir village has orchestrated such a ignominious deed, that, even debauches of worst class will be ashamed of. The said teacher impregnated a student of the age of 17, as per reports in the news papers, by enticing her in a frivolous and illicit love affair; and now the shameless person was about to audaciously force the girl for an abortion. Period. The depraved exploiter was caught. Some people as, I observed from social media tried to salvage the wretched man by promulgating the theory that it could be consensual sex between the teacher and the student. I ask: do or can teenagers really fathom the difference between consensual and exploitation?
A boy or girl of the age of seventeen can seldom discern between consensual and exploitation, sin and virtue, right and wrong; understanding of these matters is the reason the children of such age are in school to learn to decipher the philosophy of life; learn to discern between good and evil, sin and virtue. The case in contentions is not consensual. It is blatant and ruthless exploitation of an innocent girl by a monster who was hitherto supposed to bequeath values of virtue, sagacity, truthfulness, kindness and so on to his or her students. Instead, he chose to prey upon the innocence of an seventeen years old teenager. He devastated her life; the reputation of her parents and besmirched the immaculate image of his own department. This is pure insolence and criminal. How sad! Such scoundrels may be yet in the department, and the need of the hour is to keep strenuous vigil on such criminals masquerading as respectable citizens
The job of a teacher is to deliver education with impeccable integrity and move out of the classroom and not make friends among students with the intention to take undue leverage and exploit them. Many teachers force students to bring eatables from homes or do some odd jobs for them , which is unbecoming of this esteemed profession. Parents are requested to sharpen their eye lenses over the activities of their wards if they seriously wish to see a decent future of their children. (Say no to mobile for students in schools, for instance). The principals, through this medium, are beseeched by this author to keep a tight vigil on his/her students and teachers activities and ensure no intermingling of teachers occur with their opposite gender students after the classroom work is over. It would have been better if government moots an idea to ensure posting of teachers/lecturers on gender basis at least at the higher secondary level. Then, we would have had female teachers for girls higher secondary school and vice versa, along with a few senior most male colleagues (‘builders of society’). This may not sound pragmatic but it is one way to distill the institutes and stop potential profanity to foment. At the end of the day, it might as well ensure a healthy stainless environment in our schools. God bless teachers. God bless our crop of students. We expect bloom not gloom!
—The author is from Islamabad, South Kashmir. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org