Woes and Voices of the Voiceless Contractual Lecturers

Woes and Voices of the Voiceless Contractual Lecturers
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BY MOHAMMAD SHOAIB

Jammu and Kashmir is known for its sheen, charm and beauty. It possesses rich resources to hasten its opulence. However, the lack of technicality and reliable vocation is a stumbling block to explore and extract these sources for the overall progress of the region. The shoddy and dilapidated affair of our governance here is a matter of serious concern. It breaks the chain of our past glory when Jammu and Kashmir was concerned for the overall welfare of its denizens.
Currently our scholars, technocrats, and magnetic personalities are roaming outside the system; most of our intellectual elite is away from the ambit of this decaying system; they are drifting aimless and jobless here and there. Some get an opportunity to serve in numerous sectors most preferably in education on a contractual basis. But, the perturbing issue is that they usually become the victims of maltreatment and harassment from their superior peers outwardly. Not only they face problems within the institutional fabric but they are being neglected and disregarded by the government as well. Though, the constitution directs Parliament to keep a statutory provision for “equal pay for equal work” under article 39(d), however, arrangements are not made for the same to deliver equal justice for all.
Employees who are working on academic arrangements particularly in the education sector deliver the best than their permanent peers, but still they are being penalized. I object: if our duties and responsibilities are the same, if our work, functionality, quality, reliability, qualification and organization are same why then there is inequity in our remuneration.
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling says that the temporary employees are entitled to a regular pay scale, along with dearness allowances, as their peers in government doing the same work. It is a welcome decision; it reaffirms the concept of right to equality enshrined in the constitution. But, the sorry state of affair behind this logical statement is that nothing has been done to make it binding on departments by law.
I, being an adhoc lecturer, have witnessed some of the contractual employees working in different colleges for a decade; while being in the system for a prolonged period they became experts in their specialized fields and achieve a level where they are unable to qualify state level or central level exams (like teacher and so on). Since these exams require a sound grip over general knowledge (like polity, history, geography, economics, science, and State GK), they usually get fail to qualify such exams. After their unsuccessful attempts our society starts to reprimand them.
I must clear the thread that they are not lacking caliber, potential to excel, but their long-standing contact with research work during their M.phils, PhDs, their specialization in a particular subject, their age and severe relation with outside syllabus prescribed for these competitive exams allow them to have no choice rather than to stay with this contractualism. It is quite obvious that these persons can’t compete with fresh graduates who typically pose tough competition and, in a way , steal the show at early. Nevertheless, the role of the state is paramount here to accommodate and provide an opportunity even to those who are not able to crack such exams.
Make a provision for research scholars in employment particularly where they have to appear with fresh graduates. Scholars should be exempted from such exams; any other reliable method could be adopted to check their working abilities and sagaciousness. Instead, the state should devise a proper procedure to grant equal pay for equal work to adhoc employees consequently they can also spend prosperous and happy life; this. The state should feel the pain of these disgruntled hearts and must pay heed towards their feeble condition.
Unemployment and unequal opportunities become a cause for many evils; in other words , poverty is itself a crime. It is about time, powers that be, recognize the problem and do something substantive to address it.

The author is presently working as a Contractual Lecturer in History at the Government Degree College , Uttersoo. He can be reached at: SHAIBM60@GMAIL.COM

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